Mary Cuellar

Obituary of Mary Joan Cuellar

Mary “Joan” Cuellar passed away quietly on October 11, 2023, in Walnut Creek, CA. She was 91.  Born Mary Joan Hinkle in the Great Depression in Neodesha, KS, she was the only child of Simon and Pearl (Hann) Hinkle. Joan was close to many cousins. She grew up poor, and her extended family moved to north Hollywood CA in about 1937, finding migrant farm work. She returned to Kansas to live with her grandparents for two years before returning with them to CA in 1941, this time to Yuba City, where she attended school until the 8thh grade. During WWII, Joan ran away from home, and got her first job in a Bay Area cannery. Living on her own meant growing up fast, and she was fiercely determined with a very capable spirit. She later met her future husband Johnny, on a bus in 1947. It was love at first sight for them both, and they eloped to Virginia City when she was fifteen. Joan stayed very busy, with four children by the time she was twenty, and managed the family while Johnny served in the Navy. In 1953, Joan was badly burned in Rodeo, CA, as a result of heroic efforts to save their baby while the family home was burning to the ground. After the fire, the family moved to Alameda Naval Base, and welcomed their youngest baby in 1956. That same year, Johnny was hired at the Livermore Radiation Lab, and they purchased their first home in town, where they would live for the next 32 years.  Always a hard worker, Joan re-entered the work force in the mid 1960’s, even surviving an explosion at work. Johnny taught her electronics, and she made a career for herself riding the early Tech wave in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. Joan was a fierce, strong-willed, fun-loving, and talented woman who spoke her mind. She dove in deep with many hobbies and was artistic at heart. She loved dressing up, flirting, dancing, entertaining and being the center of attention. She was rarely seen without her hairdo, lipstick, and earrings in place. Known for hosting large family holiday dinners, Joan was an amazing cook. She and Johnny won multiple dance contests in the 70s. Joan adored her husband, her children, and grandchildren, and being together fishing, camping, swimming, and playing card games. She often went fishing alone, she loved it so much. Joan also loved adventure, her dogs, playing the guitar, treasuring old photos, and sharing family history. Joan enjoyed a good laugh, garage sales, painting, whether ceramics or canvas, and gardening. In 1988, Johnny and Joan retired and built a home in Pioneer, CA, where they could live happily in the forest, be closer to nature and the wildlife that brought them so much joy. After 63 years of marriage, Johnny passed away, and managing the mountain property as a widow became difficult for Joan, so she returned to the Bay Area, spending her final twelve years in Stockton, Lodi, Manteca and finally San Ramon. Joan is survived by her five children, John Cuellar (Cheryl), Samantha Cuellar, Frank Cuellar (Linda), Dianne Andrews (Winston) and Daniel Cuellar (Celia); sixteen grandchildren, nineteen great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by all her aunts, uncles, and cousins, her husband, Aucencio “Johnny” Cuellar, and two great grandchildren, Levi Long and Cody Hendrickson.  Joan will be sorely missed.  May she rest in eternal peace, and fish with no limits. A memorial service will take place on Saturday, November 18, 2023, at Daneri Mortuary in Jackson, CA at 11:00a.m.

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Memorial Service

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Saturday, November 18, 2023
Daneri Mortuary
415 Broadway
Jackson, California, United States
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