Madera Tribune File Photo
One of Madera’s grand matriarchs, Paula Baraldi, (nee De Cesari), was born in Madera and lived in the city all of her 88 years except for a three-year stint in Huron. She was an accountant, a business owner and a seemingly tireless volunteer for many Madera organizations. Mrs. Baraldi died early Monday morning.
Arrangements were still being made for a service and celebration of her life.
Born in 1929 to Enrico and Armanda De Cesari, she attended local schools and graduated from Madera Union High School in 1946.
She worked as an apprentice accountant prior to her marriage to Ralph Baraldi in 1951.
The newlyweds moved to Huron, where she worked at a packing shed and later took a secretarial position with the Huron Elementary School District.
Near the birth of their son, Allen, the couple returned to Madera in 1954 where they became partners with Louie Mariani in a redi-mix concrete plant.
When her brother, Robert De Cesari, went to serve in Viet Nam, they sold the concrete company and she obtained her brother’s store, De Cesari Stationery.
She ran the stationary store and made the transition from the 10-key adding machine era to the electronic age with her adult daughter, Nancy Myer, at her side. Paula retired in 2000.
Through hard work and membership in Soroptimist International of Madera, she embodied the strong female work ethic and overcame the disadvantages of being a woman in a predominately male dominated occupation. She achieved 30 years of perfect attendance as a Soroptimist, along the way serving as president and secretary of that group.
Her civic service helped ensure that her hometown would continue to grow and stay a friendly, safe city in which to work and rear a family.
She served as director and treasurer on the board of directors of the Madera Chamber of Commerce. Her work with the chamber included participation in its retail merchants and governmental affairs committees.
Supporting the community, she had a life membership in the Madera County Historical Society, was president of the American Cancer Society, and the National Association of Republican Women. She held membership in the Association of Stationers, the Italian Catholic Federation, and was an active member of St. Joachim Church, receiving its Distinguished Graduate of St. Joachim School Award.
She was honored by the steering committee for the Madera Diamond Jubilee celebration. She was a volunteer for Cub Scouts and Camp Fire USA, and contributed to countless projects for the betterment of Madera.
Her primary joy in life was derived from time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In 2008, she was given the Madera Chamber’s highest accolade, its Lifetime Achievement Award, for contributions to her community.
She is survived by her son, Allen Baraldi; twin daughters, Laura Brandon and Nancy Meyers; five grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and many friends.
Services and a celebration of Mrs. Baraldi’s life will be held at a later date.