Herein lies the tale of how the Ghirardelli family of chocolate fame ended up buried in Mountain View Cemetery.
Domingo Ghirardelli was born in Italy, and came to the SF Bay Area by way of Uruguay where he opened a confectionery, and changed his name from the Italian Domenico to the Spanish Domingo. After a short stint in the gold fields near Jamestown and Sonora trying prospecting, he returned to San Francisco and founded the signature business.
In 1879, his teenage granddaughter Aurelia became gravely ill, and the Catholic priest refused to administer the last rites. There are several stories as to why: it was raining too hard, or the priest felt Ghirardelli hadn't given enough to the church, or one story says the priest was drunk. In any event, the girl died without receiving last rites. Domingo's wife Carmen was devastated, and Domingo forbid the family from entering a Catholic church again.
Domingo had the Ghirardelli mausoleum in Mountain View built, including a Masonic symbol above the door. The Vatican forbids Catholics from being Freemasons, so this was doubtless very intentional. Then in the middle of the night, Domingo and his sons took a wagon to St. Mary's Catholic cemetery and moved the Ghirardellis buried there (including Aurelia) to Mountain View next door.
Domingo died in 1894 during a trip to Italy. His bodied was returned to Oakland and buried in the Mountain View Cemetery.
Read more on the Lives of the Dead site.
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