Alberta Martone, a longtime educator and the namesake of a Modesto school, died Monday at 98.
She worked for Modesto City Schools from 1948 to 1980, mostly as a principal, and was honored in 1987 with the naming of the new Martone Elementary School. It is on Poust Road, just south of the Modesto Junior College west campus.
Mrs. Martone paid many visits to the school over the ensuing three decades, including one in the last month. She died at her Modesto home.
“My mom was a very strong woman, and education was No. 1 for her,” daughter Cheryl Dal Porto of Placerville said Wednesday. “Family was also extremely important.”
She was born Alberta Nusser on April 12, 1920, near Plevna, Kansas. Her family was among tens of thousands of people who fled the Dust Bowl of the 1930s for the San Joaquin Valley.
She married James Martone in 1943, while he was stationed with the Air Force in New Jersey. He went on to work for Sharpe Army Depot in Lathrop and died in 1972.
Mrs. Martone started her career in Kansas and then taught fifth grade at Washington, Burbank and Marshall schools in Modesto. She was vice principal at Fairview School and principal at Lincoln, Fremont and Rose Avenue schools. She then was the founding principal in 1974 at Sonoma School, designed to “mainstream” disabled children into the student body. Her last position was director of personnel for the district.
Mrs. Martone spoke in a 2010 Modesto Bee story about the key to her success in leading schools: “I always had wonderful teachers. That’s the basics ... If you have a good staff, it makes you look good.”
She will get two tributes next week: Martone School will hold a Tuesday morning assembly, with the families of the current student body invited. A funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Centenary Methodist Church, 1911 Toyon Ave., Modesto.
Mrs. Martone is also survived by son Gary Martone of Albuquerque, seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.