Dino Antonio Petrucci will be remembered as a farmer, agriculture education teacher, avid cook and devoted family man and friend. Mr. Petrucci died on Jan. 4. He was 85.
Born to Italian immigrants, Mr. Petrucci grew up in Madera and became a lifelong resident.
He attended Madera schools and enrolled at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he received his bachelor’s degree in crop production.
Mr. Petrucci married Peggy Hayes in 1951. The couple would have celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in March.
Granddaughter Mika Petrucci said her grandfather loved teaching, and was an agriculture education teacher in Madera for 40 years.
“He found so much joy in teaching students things that they thought they could never do,” she said. “He was a big believer in hard work and determination.”
Although he was a full-time teacher, Mr. Petrucci would spend evenings and weekends helping his brother Enzo on the family grape farm.
He was very sentimental about the farm and having his family involved.
Mika Petrucci, granddaughter of Dino Petrucci
Mika Petrucci has childhood memories of riding on a tractor or walking through the vineyards with her grandfather. He liked having his grandchildren around as he did his chores.
“He was very sentimental about the farm and having his family involved,” she said.
Mr. Petrucci also was passionate about cooking. During the early 1970s, he began a catering business. He bought the Howard School building and used it to host events. On Saturdays, Mr. Petrucci would serve barbecue tri-tip, chicken and side dishes.
He also developed his own barbecue sauce, “Petrucci’s Secret Sauce,” and a dry meat rub that are sold locally.
“He loved being at the old schoolhouse,” Mika Petrucci said. “He would always say that Saturday was his favorite day.”
Even as illness and age slowed him down, Mr. Petrucci still showed up at the schoolhouse to say hello to his customers.
On the Saturday after Mr. Petrucci died, the family decided to open the business in his honor.
“It was a very emotional day, but it was also very heartwarming,” Mika Petrucci said. “Family and friends came, shared stories and memories. It was a good day.”
Family members will continue to operate the business.
Mr. Petrucci was active in the Lions Club and Italo-American Club of Madera. He served on the boards of the Madera County Farm Bureau and the Madera County Food Bank. He also served on the Madera Unified School District Board of Education. In 1999, he was honored as the Madera County Senior Farmer of the Year by the Madera Chamber of Commerce.
Dino Antonio Petrucci
Born: Jan. 17, 1930
Died: Jan. 4, 2016
Occupation: Farmer/teacher/owner of Petrucci’s Catering
Survivors: Wife Peggy Petrucci; daughter Dina Petrucci; son Vince Petrucci; granddaughter Mika Petrucci; grandson Lucca Petrucci
Services: A memorial service will be held Saturday, Jan. 23, at 10 a.m. at Madera South High School’s cafeteria.