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Friends, family help Gussie Cabral mark 90 years
Gussie Cabral, right, shares a moment with a guest at her 90th birthday party Saturday night at Kelley Bros. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL/ The Bulletin
There are a lot of things that Augusta (Gussie) Cabral has seen in her 90 years on this blue marble.

As one of seven children she lived through the Great Depression, the material rationing that was necessary for World War II (when major ports supplying troops all over the world were less than an hour away), as well as the tumultuous ‘60s when, some believed, the nation was on the brink of civil war.

But as she strolled her way into her 90th surprise birthday party with an ear-to-ear grin Saturday evening at Kelley Brothers Brickyard Oven Restaurant, none of the hard times were evident as she made her way around the room greeting friends and family that she didn’t even expect were going to be there.

“I just thought that I was going to be here for dinner tonight, and when I walked in and saw everybody, it really did blow me away,” Cabral said. “It’s an amazing sight to see so many people that you haven’t seen for so long in one place, and when they’re there for you, it’s just that much better.”

Tim Cabral – who now runs his mother’s beauty salon that has been a staple of the Manteca community for more than half-a-century and employed “Gussie” for more than 50 years - was one of several people who helped organize the Saturday evening surprise and was thrilled to see the look on her face when she walked through the door and realized that it was much more than just a regular dinner.

As the sister-in-law to “Sadie” Cabral, Gussie quickly became known as a lady of few words and many smiles, and left her undeniable mark on all that she touched – evidenced by the massive turnout that people saw when they strolled in Saturday evening.

And it’s not like she’s let her advanced age slow her down one bit.

On top of volunteering at the St. Vincent De Paul Society, Cabral also spends her free time working with the election board, the Delta Blood Bank, the Manteca Garden Club, and the Catholic Young Ladies Institute.

“She’s just so good at so many different things,” said Cabral’s 84-year-old brother Art – the baby of the family. “She was a great provider to my mother and my father, and she always kept an eye out on me because I was always getting into trouble. She’s a great woman, and she deserves this honor tonight.”