Sarah Lois "Sally" (aka Mickey) Vella
Born Sarah Lois Wright on March 22, 1931 in Geneva, IL to William Rosslyn Wright and Dorothy Overman. Sally was two when she and her family came to San Francisco for a job her dad got here. She and her younger brother Bruce grew up in Marin County. They roamed all over a yet to be developed Marin and as far as the coast on their horses with their dad, and as part of a riding club. Sally felt that her love of the outdoors and natural wonders came from those days. She was endlessly curious about the stars and planets, maps and geography. Her family settled in Novato and she graduated from San Rafael High School, and from College of Marin with a degree in Clothing Design.
She worked at a soda fountain in Novato, where she met Ig Vella. They were married in September, 1952 and she moved to Sonoma, which remained her home for the rest of her life. Sally was a homemaker in the best sense of the word and in addition to being a talented seamstress, she fed all the kids who passed through her home where she lived for 66 years. She was one of the founders of the Church Mouse, and the biannual rummage sale that preceded it and remained on the Church Mouse board for many years. Her specialties were caring for the linens and rehabilitating the dolls that were donated. She began collecting dolls, recreating the costumes they would have originally worn. She and Ig spent many hours promoting Vella Cheese at various tradeshows and wine tastings; we referred to their outings as the 'Ig and Sally show". She was also known for her midnight walks around town with her 'Petaluma chicken dog' Nipper.
The only things Sally loved more than chocolate were her grand and great grandchildren. Her early soda fountain training came to the fore as her grandchildren all congregated at her house every day after school, bringing friends chocolate sodas, toast with butter curls, ham sandwiches, PB&Js, endless cookies, root beer floats for New Years Eve…
In her later years her garden became her refuge. She had Joanie Bourg design and plant a new garden for her and she spent many hours enjoying it. Raking leaves was one of her favorite pastimes. She spent many happy hours outside, with Tom and Ella's dog Wallace at her side. (She may have loved Wallace more than chocolate and grandchildren). And then she had the bonus of great grandchildren. She said that she finally had time to really focus on her time with them.
Sally was preceded in death by her husband, Ig Vella, her parents, her brother Bruce Wright and her youngest daughter Sara.
She is survived by her children, Ditty Vella, Chickie Vella and Tom Vella (Ella); grandchildren Gabriel Luddy (Stacey), Miranda Stoll (Andrew), Ross Cannard (Kate Cherry), Marius Cannard, Shaina Vella and Gia DeSoto (Tyler); great grandchildren Tano and Aria Luddy, Travis and Rebelanne DeSoto and Siena and Azure Cannard; her sisters in law Joanie Wright and Zolita Vella, and her oldest friend since they were six, Dee Sand.
Sally died peacefully on September 23, 2021. Heartfelt thanks to Sally's loving and dedicated caregivers; Carmen Velasquez, Vanessa Garcia, Camille Bosque and Susan Pieper. We were so lucky and are so grateful to them. And thanks to Bobby Cannard for his weekly visits and for taking her to see old friends and old haunts.
At Sally's request there will be no funeral. A celebration of her life will be held at a later date. Private inurnment for family will be held at Sonoma Valley Cemetery. In Sally's honor, memorial donations are preferred to the Sonoma Land Trust, 822 5th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404. Inquiries can be made to CONNEELY FAMILY Cremation & Funeral Services by calling 707838.8883 or by visiting cfcfs.com.
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