Surrounded by about 80 family members, neighbors, and friends, Marie Grinceri celebrated her 80th birthday in the SCH early this month.

“She never wanted to have a party before,” said Pete, Marie’s husband of 59 years, “but this birthday is different. It’s a real milestone.”

A sumptuous Italian dinner was provided by friends, who prepared Mediterranean chicken, olive tapenade dip, Normandy vegetables, herbed cheese mashed potatoes, and antipasto salad.

Marie grew up and went to school in Los Angeles, and Pete lived in Providence, R.I. before moving to Fontana when he was 16. They were introduced by by a mutual friend, and married soon after.

Pete and Marie lived in Fontana for many years. Pete’s barbershop was a staple in Ontario for 50 years, while Marie spent 20 years as a pharmacy technician at Kaiser.

They also owned an apartment complex that had 42 units. The couple has three children (two boys and one girl) and three grandchildren.

One sunny day in 2002, Pete and Marie were on their way to Morongo Casino when they decided to “finally” take a side trip into Sun Lakes. They fell in love with the community, bought a lot, and watched their home be built. They moved into it in 2003.

At the party, guests told stories about Marie and recounted how they met her, creating a lot of laughter in the room. After dinner, Bob-the–Baker’s gorgeous birthday cake and assorted Italian cookies were served for dessert. The cake had been displayed against a backdrop of dozens of pictures of Marie’s life, and Italian opera music played in the background during the evening.

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