Honoring Local Legends: Bennie and Joyce Gatto Trail Dedication

May 19, 2023

Honoring Local Legends: Bennie and Joyce Gatto Trail Dedication

On May 11th, a special event took place at River Islands to honor the incredible contributions of Bennie and Joyce Gatto. The occasion marked the dedication of a walking trail named The Bennie and Joyce Gatto Historic Trail, paying tribute to their remarkable service to the community. The dedication event was a heartwarming gathering attended by esteemed guests, including Bennie Gatto’s family, community members, and Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal. It was a powerful testament to how the Gattos have touched countless individuals’ lives and their profound impact on the community as a whole.

Bennie and Joyce Gatto have dedicated more than 70 years of their lives to serving the Lathrop Manteca area as volunteers and civil servants. Their unwavering commitment has made them pillars of the community, earning them a place in the prestigious Manteca Hall of Fame.

Bennie Gatto’s volunteer work began in the 1950s when he was crucial in developing a central water system in Lathrop. Additionally, he served as a volunteer firefighter for an impressive 22 years in the Lathrop-Manteca Fire Department. Later on, Bennie served as the mayor of Lathrop for two terms and spent eight years as a city councilman. His dedication continued as he served on the Planning Commission for 13 years before retiring.

Bennie’s wife, Joyce Gatto, has significantly contributed to Lathrop’s arts. Her artistic journey began in 1954, and her talent blossomed after painting a portrait of her vibrant friend, Vera Walquis. Her one-woman show at City Hall in 2013 showcased this moving painting. In 1994, during Bennie’s mayoral term, Joyce founded the “Lathrop Mayor’s Art Show,” which has since become an annual event, inspiring numerous artists in the community, including notable names like John Fry, Jarred Mays, and Randy Johnson. Joyce’s commitment to nurturing local talent also led to establishing a teen art show, empowering young students to develop their artistic skills. As a testament to her impact, the Joyce Gatto Gallery, located at City Hall, proudly bears her name. Furthermore, some of Joyce’s own paintings adorn various buildings in Lathrop, showcasing her talent and adding to the city’s beauty.

Bennie and Joyce Gatto’s tireless dedication and unwavering service have greatly contributed to the fabric of Lathrop’s community. Their programs and initiatives continue to thrive, and their impact can be felt throughout the area. Their efforts in enhancing the arts and promoting local volunteerism have left an indelible mark on Lathrop, making it a wonderful place to live and work. The Bennie and Joyce Gatto Historic Trail, located in River Islands, stands as a symbol of gratitude and admiration for these two extraordinary individuals, who have left an enduring legacy in the hearts and minds of the Lathrop community!

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