The Union Democrat
Now & Then: Mrs. Mallard’s Honor Roll
Frank and Teresa Mallard owned and operated Mallard’s Grocery store in Sonora from the mid-1920s until 1953. Teresa’s father, Bernard Meyer, had a grocery store for many years and, when he retired, the couple took over the business, renaming it Mallard’s.
Their store was originally in the Sonora Inn annex at the corner of South Washington Street and Stockton Road. In the mid-1930s they moved the business north to the lower portion of Frank Holman’s Mundorf’s Mercantile building.
The Mallards were active in the community and were always ready to help those in need. During the Depression, they provided food to the hobos who came to their door. When neighbors complained, Frank Mallard told them he would feed anyone that was hungry.
Fred Fletcher always credited the Mallards for keeping his family from starving during the Depression. One time, he came in with a list of groceries the family needed. Someone had crossed some of the items off, saying they weren’t needed. When Frank Mallard saw what had been done he told the clerk to fill the order, that only he could delete items. Fletcher said it took his family several years to pay off the bill.
Before the days of the large chain stores, Mallard’s delivered groceries, even small orders. Marjorie Coffill remembered that if she was cooking something and realized she didn’t have a necessary ingredient, she would just call the store and they would deliver the item. They also delivered missing children.
One day, Mary Etta Segerstrom realized her son Jim was missing. Frantic, she started searching the neighborhood. She hardly got out the door when the Mallard’s truck showed up with Jim. He had decided he wanted an ice cream and knew his mother shopped at Mallard’s. When he got to the store, Teresa Mallard asked him where his money was. Of course, he didn’t have any, so she suggested to Jim that they take him home.
Frank and Teresa Mallard employed many young men to deliver groceries for them. Many were still in high school and, if they had a regular route, they would stop by customers in the morning to get their order. They would take the order to the store, which would be filled during the day. The boys would pick up the orders and deliver them on their way home from school.
Tete Arellano remembered that Teresa Mallard
was like a second mother to him. His older brother, Carlo, worked at the store and the two would go on deliveries together, just for the fun of it. Tete Arellano was later hired by Teresa Mallard and worked there during high school. Tete Arellano remembered Nettie, an Indian lady, who would come into the store for a block of cheese. She didn’t have much money and was probably on some type of welfare. She would tell Tete Arellano she had 25 cents and wanted cheese. He would always cut her a big piece, more than the 25 cents covered, but he knew
Teresa Mallard would approve.
Frank Mallard died in 1940 from heart disease. His wife continued the business until 1953, when she retired at the age of 76. She sold the stock and equipment. Frank Holman expanded Mundorf’s into the space that had been occupied by Mallard’s.
Teresa Mallard died in 1964.
After her husband’s death, Teresa Mallard continued to hire young men to help with deliveries. World War II brought a change to Sonora as everywhere else in the country. Many of the young men who had worked at Mallard’s went into the service, and she tried to keep track of them.
Louise Mclean, the editor of The Union Democrat at the time, sent copies of the newspaper each week to the local service men and women. Teresa Mallard would often take out an advertisement to send greetings to “her boys.” One, in 1943 read: “Heartfelt greetings to all the boys of our county and especially to our very own, Louis, Carlo, Grant, Fred Johnnie, Tete,
Gene and in loving memory of Houston.” Houston Weaver had died at Fort Ord during basic training from a heart defect.
Teresa Mallard also displayed the Mallard’s Honor Roll on the wall of the store, which honored her boys who were serving. The wooden plaque lists the men who had gone into the service directly from working at Mallard’s. There are 14 stars, including two gold stars for Houston Weaver and Louie Queirolo.
Louie Quierolo had died in an automobile accident when he was stationed in Oregon.
Teresa Mallard also had a silk banner she hung in the store that had the same stars on it. At the end of the war, she was quoted as saying, “the news is too wonderful for words. I’m waiting for the homecoming of all our dear ones — especially all my boys.” She was an honorary gold star mother.
The Honor Roll was donated to the City of Sonora by Fred Fletcher.