July 12, 2021
Although just a mile long, Dell’Osso Drive’s name carries a history equivalent to an epic journey. Sharp-eyed residents may recognize this beautiful drive shares the same last name as Susan Dell’Osso, the President of River Islands Development. And while Susan has spent over 30 years bringing our wonderful master-planned community to life, Dell’Osso Drive is actually named for long-time Lathrop community pillar, Rudy Dell’Osso.
Who was Rudy Dell’Osso? Rudy was a second-generation operator of the Dell’Osso Family Farm (yes, that farm). Fully rooted in the area’s agricultural beginnings, Rudy was raised alongside his cousins and extended family on the farm. He attended a one-room schoolhouse in Mossdale from Kindergarten through eighth grade, and later studied at Tracy High School, where he was a respected athlete and letterman. Being a part of a large farming family meant that work often took priority over education, but that didn’t stop Rudy from becoming fluent in four languages. Friends recall he would switch between all four languages when telling one of his many fascinating stories.
Rudy served in World War II, and afterward, returned to the farm, where he began growing a variety of row and vegetable crops. This led him to become one of the first tomato growers contracted with Heinz when the company first opened in Tracy.
According to friends and family, the only thing he was more proud of than his farm work was his Italian heritage. As a first-generation Italian-American, born in the United States, Rudy took pride in his culture and loved Italian food, music, and family customs. Family meant everything to him, and he enjoyed being a father and grandfather to his two sons and their families until he passed away in November 2020, after a long and happy life well-lived.
Today, his farming legacy is proudly carried on by the third and fourth generations of his family. Moreover, his generous spirit and zest for life still impact the community of Lathrop. So the next time you’re cruising down Dell’Osso Drive, remember Rudy’s story and the amazing life he lived right here in our wonderful city.