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Pogolotti obit pic
Alfonso Louis Pogolotti Jr., 79, passed away on February 4 at his home on the family ranch in Oakdale, CA.
Born on January 11, 1943 to Alfonso and Margherite Pogolotti in San Mateo, California, Alfonso grew up in Oakdale, attended Modesto Community College and went on to get a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara. After completing a post-doctoral research position at the University of Arizona in Tucson, he became a biochemist at the University of California, San Francisco.
Alfonso was one of the last people in the U.S. to contract polio before there was a vaccine. He was struck with the disease at age seven, after which he spent a few months in quarantine and in an “iron lung”: a mechanical respirator that enclosed his body to help him breathe after he lost muscle control in the lower half of his body. Between the time he was roughly 10 and 20 years old, he endured 22 surgeries so that he could sit upright and live independently. At 26, his beloved sister succumbed to cancer. After carpal tunnel syndrome forced him into an early retirement from his university research, he returned to Oakdale to run the family walnut farm.
In the face of this adversity, he became an accomplished scientist and, later, a respected walnut farmer and farming advocate. He never asked for favors or accommodations, but instead found creative ways to live his life from a wheelchair. That included fishing trips to the high Sierra lakes he loved, doing outdoor photography, and managing the farm from a retrofitted dune buggy. He was strong willed, self-sufficient, funny and generous. He loved football (“go Niners!”) big Italian meals and his German shepherds.
Alfonso was preceded in death by father, Alfonso Louis Pogolotti, Sr.; mother Margherite Maria Pogolotti; and sister, Marceline Marie Ross. He is survived by nephews Jason Michéle Ross and Joshua Michéle Ross and niece Jesikah Maria Ross as well as many loving cousins in Oakdale, Stockton, Sacramento and Italy.
Visitation will be held Thursday, March 3, 2022, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Oakdale Memorial Chapel in Oakdale, CA.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, March 4, 2022 at 11 a.m. at the Oakdale Citizens Cemetery in Oakdale, CA with Pastor Henry Raven officiating. All are welcome.
To honor Alfonso’s independent spirit and resilience, in lieu of flowers please make donations to the Alfonso Pogolotti Memorial Scholarship for graduating seniors at Oakdale High School. You can do that by making checks payable to OJUSD and mailing it to 168 South Third Avenue, Oakdale, CA 95361. Please write “Alfonso Pogolotti Memorial Scholarship” in the memo section. You will be supporting youth who wish to attend a community college or trade school.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
The Riverbank (Calif.) News
March 2, 2022