Henry Sansoni
Henry Sansoni
Henry Sansoni
Henry Sansoni

Obituary of Henry James Sansoni

Henry James Sansoni June 14, 1925 – September 8, 2016 On September 8, Henry James Sansoni quietly and comfortably died in Enumclaw, WA, his home for the last six years. Born June 14, 1925 to Italian immigrants, Aniceto and Amelia Sansoni in Sanger CA, Henry was the apple of his parents’ eyes for seven years until brothers Aldo and Ezio came along. He loved to brag how he had his mother’s sole attention to himself those years and considered it a huge blessing. He remained devoted to his parents, and later to his wife, Bertha, and their children with deep love and determination to care for all. Even unto his final days he showed concern for his ‘only bride’ and was willing to sacrifice on her account. Their marriage of 68 years remains a legacy and role model of triumph through their many trials and losses as well as the good years. Ever the perfectionist, Henry excelled in his youth at music, math and mechanical drawing. While in high school he drove the school bus to make money, and made trumpet, baritone and marching band his ambition, graduating in 1944. Henry took those marching drills and parade skills to the army, putting them to use while stationed in Manila during WWII. After the war he would fulfill a childhood dream joining the American Legion Post 83 Drum and Bugle Corps, becoming their music manager and leading them to acclaim as the third best in the state of CA. During his stint in the army Henry developed an interest in photography and enrolled in Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA. It was while completing studies there that Henry met Bertha Lou LeBlanc of Mermentau, LA and they were married May 15, 1948. Upon graduation with honors, Henry and Bertha returned to Merced to take up residence in a small house and studio adjacent to a country grocery store Aniceto and Amelia purchased for them to operate as a means of putting ‘bread and butter’ on the table while building his photography business. But farming gradually replaced his photography efforts, becoming his life’s passion when in1950 he joined his father in growing tomatoes. Over the span of his career, Henry would try growing just about everything commercially cultivated in the San Joaquin Valley including tomatoes, peppers, cotton, alfalfa, sugar beets, oats, wheat, corn, soybeans, broccoli, cantaloupe and safflower while continuing to help with the family almond orchards. He was well known for his optimism in setting high goals for production as well as his innovative and ground-breaking ideas that, had he taken the time to patent might have been financially lucrative as well. But to him, it was all about sharing his ideas and helping others become better farmers too. He was so respected for his farming skills and innovative thinking, that when he had to seek employment to make ends meet, he was hired by Henry Wolfsen, Sr. of Wolfsen Land and Cattle to be their row crop manager overseeing thousands of acres and was considered by Mr. Wolfsen as his Green Thumb on crops. Together, Henry and Bertha had six children, three sons and three daughters. They suffered the painful loss of all three sons to tragic situations, and he is survived today by his three daughters and Bertha. Henry treasured family times camping and water skiing, later purchasing a motor home for both summer and winter excursions. He loved to take visitors, especially Bertha’s Louisiana family, to see Yosemite, San Francisco or Monterey. He was devoted to Bertha and the children, willing to sacrifice for their care and education. He was just as likely to drop everything and drive all night to help an adult child in need as he was to sit and teach us to make life decisions weighing pros and cons, craftily making sure we would come to the decision he wanted for us. In later years his hobbies included restoring old vehicles and making his own olive oil using his hydraulic press and making his own stainless drums and press boards. He was very proud of his product, and would have been content to continue on in these hobbies and living in Los Banos had he and Bertha not been forced by illness to relocate near their daughter in Washington. Indeed, he did not want to move, but he could see Bertha needed more and more help to manage tasks, and when confronted with the need to be near one daughter or the other, he acknowledged “She has been there for me all these years, and always followed me in my pursuits. It’s time for me to do this for her.” Of course, he expected to find a way to continue farming from a distance, and kept that vision of optimism until his last days. In fact, just a couple weeks before his death he asserted to his daughters to “be here first thing in the morning, and I will be ready” because it was time for him “to get going on plan” to start their life over and relocate to Los Banos. “Just start” was one of his mantras in life for tackling whatever challenge or hurdle was presented. Henry is survived by his wife Bertha, daughters Nancy & Jim Merrill of Enumclaw, WA, Mary Sansoni & Jeff Graham of Pioneer, CA, Andrea & Tony Carvalho of Enumclaw, WA, daughter-in-law Doris Hildenbrand of Lake Stevens, WA, seven grandchildren, their spouses and nine great-grandchildren. Henry was always so proud of his own family, and loved his extended family just as much, especially his brothers, their spouses and their families: Aldo & Virginia Sansoni of Los Banos, CA, and Ezio & Ellie Sansoni of Atwater, CA. He’s also survived by Bertha’s siblings residing in LA and Texas: Helen LeBlanc, Dud & Ruth LeBlanc, Joyce & Buddy LeBouef Celeste & Ron Robair and Bonnie & Rod Smith, many nieces, nephews, grand and great-grand nieces and nephews. The rite of Christian Burial Mass will be at Sacred Heart in Enumclaw, WA on Sept. 24, at 10:00 AM. An additional Memorial Service and Honor Guard Salute will take place in Los Banos, CA on October 8, 11:30 AM at the Delta Farms Party Barn. Funeral arrangements by Klontz Family Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to American Legion Post 83, 939 W. Main St., Merced, CA 95340, the Enumclaw Senior Center, 1350 Cole St., Enumclaw, WA 98022, or to the charity of donor’s choice.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Henry Sansoni, please visit Tribute Store
Share Your Memory of
Henry