MODESTO, Calif. – Gemma Sanita Sciabica passed away peacefully on Sept. 29, 2020, which was the Feast Day of St. Michael the Archangel.

Gemma was a very loving person and lived Jesus’ command: “Love one another as I have loved you.” That love had to be tremendous because we were fortunate to receive that love as her sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, godchildren, nephews, nieces, cousins and friends.

Gemma was born on Jan. 29, 1924 in Waterbury, Conn., to Donato and Luisa Recchia. Her parents came from the small village of Volturara Appula in the Province of Foggia in the Apulia region of southeast Italy. Gemma had one sister, Sanita Recchia, who predeceased her and two brothers, Antonio (Carmela) Recchia and Pasquale (Mary) Recchia, who also predeceased her. She lived to be the oldest of all her family.

Gemma married Joseph Sciabica in 1943 and moved to Modesto. She always preferred the warm weather in California compared to the cold weather in Connecticut. She definitely did not like the snow and ice.

Joseph and his father Nicola (Nick) pioneered the production of premium olive oil in California and Gemma, with the talents she learned from her mother Luisa, developed her own cooking techniques using exclusively the family’s olive oil.

In her latter years, Gemma self-published five cookbooks encompassing all her cooking talents, covering everything from desserts to…

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