Mary Stella Cuicchi Jones
March 23, 1936 - July 27, 2018
Mary Stella Cuicchi Jones passed away on Friday, July 27, 2018. She was born on March 23, 1936, to Frank and Phill Cuicchi in Greenville, Mississippi. Soon after graduating from Shaw High School in 1954, she met and married Russell N. Jones on March 1, 1957. An Air Force man at the time, they met at a basketball game.
Looking for work, they traveled to Illinois and eventually came to California in 1958. They quickly entered in the fast-food restaurant business, working alongside founders of local Downey establishments El Taco and Plaza Guadalajara, as well as famous chains such as Taco Bell, Baker’s Burgers, and Wienerschnitzel.
With assistance from Glen Bell, founder of Taco Bell, coupled with additional investment from her parents, Mary and Russ started Taco Quickie in 1963. Over a 54-year career, they oversaw restaurants in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Maywood, Lynwood, and Bell Gardens. Their Quickie Dog restaurant was once featured in a Los Angeles Magazine article listing them as a classic choice along with the likes of Hot Dog on a Stick, Larry’s Chili Dog, Pink’s, Oki Dog, and Tommy’s.
The last remaining restaurant in Bell Gardens closed on October 8, 2017. Mary and Russ prided themselves in providing jobs for countless employees, including for a number of relatives from their home state of Mississippi.
Inspired by her parents who had run a grocery store, Mary successfully juggled entrepreneurship with running a household. Following in Mary’s footsteps of being very active–basketball, yearbook staff, homecoming queen, and Miss Shaw High School–she made sure her daughter did the same. She coached, was a team mom, and dance mom. She led countless excursions and camping trips for Girl Scout Troop 1239. A masterful fundraiser, she excelled at cookie and calendar sales, firework stands, hot lunch days, and 50/50 drawings. One of her proudest accomplishments came as President of Downey Girls Ponytail Athletic Association and having a sign installed at Independence Park.
She is survived by her husband of 61-years, Russell; daughter Pamela (Jeff). She was predeceased by a daughter, Kathryn. She is also survived by a sibling Paul (Rosemary).
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a favorite charity in honor of Mary. In recognition of her passion for sports and commitment to helping others, the family would like to highlight the following for consideration:
Bishop Amat High School Boys Basketball (14301 Fairgrove Avenue, La Puente, CA, 91746. Checks should be made out to Bishop Amat and specify “Boys Basketball” in the memo line).
UCLA Softball (UCLA Athletic Department, Atten: Emily Lerner, PO Box 24044, Los Angeles, CA 90024. Checks should be made out to UCLA Foundation and specify “UCLA Softball” in the memo line).
LMU LionsFund for Softball (www.lmu.edu/giving).
Please indicate that the gift is in memory of “Mary Jones”. Sympathy notes and words of support may be expressed at www.allsoulsmortuary.com/obituary/mary-cuicchi-jones.