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Since 1969, Romeo and Betty made Watsonville their home. Romeo's first job was
as a bean sprout picker along Highway 1. Subsequently, he became an irrigator for
West Coast Farms, where he worked for 17 years. Romeo, along with his wife,
served 7 years as strawberry share croppers for the Tomasello Company. He was a
janitor for Christian Heritage Preschool and Church, and an irrigator for Hirahara
and Sons for several years. His last job was a packer for S. Martinelli and Company
where he worked until his retirement in 1996. He was an active member of Green
Valley Christian Center.
Prior to his immigration to the United States, Romeo was a minister for the Assembly
of God Church in his home village. His heart and mind were never far from the people
of Lipay. Throughout his life he continued to lend economic support. Support generous
enough to rebuild the local church.
At 17 years of age, Romeo left Lipay looking for work in Manila. He sent his earnings,
as a baker, home so that his parents could buy land and plant rice. Eventually, he returned
to Lipay to farm the rice fields.
Farming was in his blood. Even in retirement, Romeo continued to nurture his garden.
Fresh fruits, nuts, and vegetables were readily available to all who visited.
Romeo will be remembered and loved for his dedication to family, his generosity, and his
He leaves behind his wife of 45 years, Betty, two children, Ruby Kalidonis and Romeo
Baniaga Jr., daughter-in-law Shirley Baniaga, son-in-law Steven Kalidonis, and two
grandchildren, Kristen and Jason Baniaga. He also leaves behind three siblings: Patrocinio
Baniaga, Andres Baniaga, and Pacita Jose, all of Orosi, California.
Visitation will be held on Friday, January 2, 5:00pm at Ave Maria, followed by a rosary at 7:00pm.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday, January 3, 10:30am at Green Valley Christian Center,
followed by burial at Pajaro Valley Memorial Park.
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