Mary Lu was deeply rooted in Livermore history, as she was the third generation of her family to have been born and raised in Livermore.
Those who knew the Bonettis, Becks, Gardellas and Inmans will recall that she was often referred to as Jack Bonetti’s little sister! She quickly made a name for herself in her own right to step outside the shadow of her local celebrity brother, but she was always honored to be his sister.
She attended Livermore High School, where she was a member of the Aqua Cowboys swim team and graduated as valedictorian. She was accepted into USC, where she studied marketing and was a proud sister of the Alpha Phi sorority. She continued her love of the water, becoming a member of USC’s synchronized swimming team.
She was at home in the water – a true water baby! Throughout her life, she loved going to the beach and swimming in the ocean. When her children were young, family vacations were often spent in Santa Cruz. Once her children were grown, the trips to the beach expanded to Carmel, Hawaii and the Caribbean.
The majority of her career was spent working for the City of Livermore, where she quickly became ruler of the roost, as many that she worked with called her ‘Mom.’ Mary Lu didn’t have to try to be the center of attention; she commanded every room she walked into with her beautiful smile and bright blue eyes. She enjoyed being the life of every party.
She was an extraordinary woman, mother, friend and inspiration to all. She lives on in her children, Steve, Kathy, Lynn, Debbie and Tami, their spouses, her grandchildren, great grandchildren, friends and all who knew her.
She was happiest while working in the garden or wandering through nurseries, shopping for all of the beautiful flowers she was eager to plant. She passed on this love of gardening to her daughters and to one close friend, in particular.
She was also a gifted interior decorator and turned any space into something beautiful. She enjoyed creating spaces that felt welcoming to all that entered, and she loved to entertain. She insisted there always be fresh flowers in her home, so of course, her room was filled with them in her last days.
Mary Lu loved to laugh and had a great sense of humor. Her son got his gift for making people laugh from her and will continue to make us all laugh and smile just as she did.
Recently, one of her dear friends referred to her as a lioness. She lived her life with such courage, bravery and grace that we all agreed that she indeed was a lioness until her last moment. We are so proud of the bravery she displayed even as she knew she was leaving this earth.
She was surrounded by friends and family and was at peace. She was pure grace as she made the most difficult of decisions and continued to do everything her way until her very last breath. We are all so incredibly proud of her and miss her so very much already. However, we are comforted in knowing that she is a woman who will never be forgotten.
She will take one last trip to Hawaii, where her ashes will be spread among the ocean so she can swim once again.
We will have a party to celebrate and honor her life when it is safe for all of us to gather.
If you wish to honor Mary Lu, the family asks that you make a donation to Hospice of the East Bay at hospiceeastbay.org, or simply go buy some beautiful flowers and think fondly of her as you enjoy them in your home.