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Community rallies around 19-year-old
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Nineteen-year-old Jose Maltez shed a few tears when he saw his mother in her casket at the PL Fry Funeral Home on Thursday. 

His mother’s funeral mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. today at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Lathrop.

The community rallied behind Maltez fulfilling his desire to give his mother a proper burial after she was hit by a freight train several weeks ago at the Walnut Avenue crossing in Manteca. Nearly $8,000 was raised to pay for the service. One Manteca woman donated a burial plot at Park View Cemetery on French Camp Road. However the cost of opening and closing the grave prompted the teen to choose the Ripon Cemetery instead.

Father Francisco Naranjo waived any charges by the church for the solemn event for Maltez, even though his siblings in Florida are unable to attend.

There was a difference in $750 in the cost that was picked up by Manteca Ford CEO Phil Waterford. 

“I’m glad we all had the opportunity to feel her love,” Waterford said. “She is always going to be missed and will have a special place in my heart. She always put her kids first.”

Waterford said she had bought a van from him and he provided a special allowance letting her finance it through the dealership rather than a finance company. 

“She paid back every dollar,” he noted. “My heart is heavy.”

He got to know the entire family when they would attend his Christmas Eve dinner. He said her children are obviously working to improve their lives. 

The P.L. Fry Funeral Home and their representative Alma Ochoa also worked with Maltez to cut their price where they could to help him bury his mother with honor and respect. Ochoa was instrumental in making it all happen. 

Following the Bulletin story of his effort to bury his mother and to support himself while attending Delta College, Maltez was offered a job at the In-Shape Gym next to Delta College by the firm’s district manager. 

“He sounds like the type of young man we want working at our business,” he said.