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Rose Marie Nese, 90; Highland Park Grocer Was Link to Earlier L.A.

May 14, 2003|George Ramos | Times Staff Writer

Rose Marie Nese, who with her husband owned a grocery store for nearly 50 years in Highland Park before turning it into an outlet selling out-of-date and hard-to-find sodas, has died. She was 90.

Her son, John, said she died Tuesday at Glendale Adventist Hospital of complications from a staph infection.

Born in Chavez Ravine in a house next door to where her future husband lived, she was a throwback to a Los Angeles of a different era.

In a Times story earlier this year when she and husband, Louis, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, she recalled when Broadway was a dirt road.

She also remembered when "all the Italians left" the area that is now Chinatown.

"Amazing," she concluded about their departure.

Her husband became a partner in 1940 in Galco's Imported Grocery, which was founded in 1897.

They eventually took over the store and moved it from Chinatown to Highland Park in 1955.

She continued to work in the store's Italian deli, making sandwiches and other ready-to-order dishes.

Looking back at the couple's marriage and the changes they had seen in the city, she leaned on her 93-year-old husband and told him:

"We've had a good life, pop."

In addition to her husband, she is survived by a sister, Faldena Celevich of Glendale; a brother, Charles De Rita of Hemet; sons Frank, of Corona del Mar, John and Michael, both of South Pasadena, and Louis, of Irvine; seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the chapel at Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles.

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