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Letter: Daughter’s tribute to beloved father

My dad, Dim Sambueso, was a lifelong resident of Madera. We laid him to rest at a private ceremony, along with his twin brother Don.

He loved this community, its people, and his customers as the co-owner of Gus’s Food Locker for forty-six years.

“Rest” is not something I have ever associated with my dad. His work ethic was a hallmark of his character. He was putting on his shoes and stirring coffee by 5:30 a.m. daily, ready to put in a full day at “the Locker.” He did it for his father, himself, and his customers in Madera. This was part of his job, who he was, and what he enjoyed doing every day. There’s your friendly neighborhood butcher sweeping his sidewalk and waving to anyone that passed by on foot or by car. This happy, content nature was just who he was. He loved our dogs and brought our golden retriever a giant bone every Saturday night. He loved to eat, talk about eating, and what you should eat. A bowl of steamed clams was his heaven on earth.

He loved my mom fiercely, in the only way he knew how ... by working hard and bringing home whatever was left in the meat case for her to cook. Needless to say, we’re both pretty much vegetarian now because we were not fooled by his out-of-code-date meat. She was the love of his life and he was always amazed and grateful she chose him. The other love of his life was my brother, Derek. Although his dementia and illness have taken him from me, I am grateful that the blow of Derek’s death was softened by his fading memory. Along with his twin, Don, Derek was always at his side, wanted or not.

As for me, I am his daughter that became an expert in mustache trimming, eyebrow and ear hair cutting, and wheelchair pushing to Save Mart for ice cream long before I wanted to. I learned, from him, what it means to just show up and be there and to always follow through with commitments. I’ve learned to take care of what I’ve been given, to sweep my own sidewalk and be ready for the day.

To honor my dad, I implore you to consistently visit the skilled nursing facilities in this town. He loved attention and familiar faces; these vanished when he could no longer participate in conversations. In addition, seek out, train, and employ those with disabilities in your community. My brother thrived and lived his best life because of my dad.

Thank you, Dad, for teaching me such valuable life lessons through your actions. Peace, until we meet again.

— Alison Cole,


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