Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lady of Latona passes

SF Chronicle photo by Eric Luce

Those who knew Irene Molinari knew to step lightly around her.  She could be feisty.

Thank goodness! Irene's direct approach and rock-solid commitment to the place where she was born and lived out her life were qualities that shaped a corner of Bayview in a lasting way.

Irene passed away on May 8th at age 88.  Her life was celebrated with a mass at All Hallow's Church where Irene was a parishioner.

SF Chronicle photo by Eric Luce
Irene truly was born in Bayview.  Her mother gave birth to her on the kitchen table of the family's Latona home, assisted by California's first woman doctor in 1924.  She lived her life on the same block, alongside families and friends from her youth.

For years, decades actually, Irene organized community meetings at the Bayview Police Station, and took the lead in a successful campaign to close a 24-hour liquor store that caused major problems for her neighbors.

Family and friends gathered at All Hallows.
When neighbors began to talk about creating a community project on a blighted empty lot, a project that became the showcase Latona Community Garden, Irene was central to the effort.

In fact, Irene became the smiling face of the Latona Community Garden in the SF Chronicle's 2008 coverage of the project.  

Irene Molinari will be missed on Latona and throughout the neighborhood she championed.

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