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March 24, 2010 > Happy 100th Birthday, Mom!

Happy 100th Birthday, Mom!

Thelma Inez Van Gundy Basista, born in Butte Montana February 12, 1910, celebrated her 100th birthday with her family at Hillside Senior Care; a skilled nursing facility in Fremont.

Shortly after her birth, Thelma's mother and father moved to Oakland where she grew up and graduated from Oakland Technical High School. Working in several clothing stores as a clerk, she soon met and married our father Frank W. Basista. My sister Barbara and I soon came along and have blessed her with seven grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren.

The Depression caused us to move frequently as jobs were scarce. Dad's love of airplanes soon had us moving to San Diego where he was employed by Corsair Air Ways as a PBY2 flight mechanic, island hopping the Pacific Ocean transporting Army personnel. Corsair was soon taken over by the Military Transport Command.

On one such flight, December 7, 1941, the bombing of Pearl Harbor came as a shock to Mom; she wasn't to see or hear from Dad until February 12, 1942 when the phone rang and he informed her that he was in South America. When asked where he was on the 7th, he merely stated he was on the other side of the island and had slept through the bombing which destroyed his plane. The Army then moved us to Fairfield where Dad studied to become a navigator continuing to island hop until he chose to retire. We subsequently moved to San Leandro where Dad started his own business until he permanently retired.

Mom had become an expert at moving, cooking, sewing, canning, and various social activities including folk dancing along with Dad. Making numerous friends and joining PTA (Parent Teacher Assistant); which meant Barbara and I could not get away with anything. One of her busiest hobbies was Genealogy so when Dad retired they purchased a travel trailer traveling the US, researching family history, finally settling in Yuma, Arizona. Dad always stated he had never seen so many graveyards.

Mom was so proud when in 1947 Dad, along with three flight crew buddies, was called to San Francisco to be awarded Holland's "House of Orange Medal." Following the bombing, it was imperative that a Holland Official return to the Island of Java. The only need at the time was a flyable plane, a flight crew and to keep out of sight of hostile forces. Mission accomplished!

Upon Dad's passing, Mom moved to the Bay Area, living in a Senior Mobile Park. She continued with her Genealogy, enjoying long cruises, boating on the Delta with family and keeping up and going out with old friends.

Upon reaching the age of 95, she decided to give up driving, sold her car and moved into an Independent Living Residence. She gradually began to lose interest in activities, staring out her window and not paying attention to her surroundings or personal needs. Mom was diagnosed with dementia and it was necessary to seek a facility that could provide the care she deserves, Hillside Senior Care.

Happy Birthday!

Your daughters, Barbara [Woody] and Arlene [Van Norden]

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