DELANO, Calif. — On Saturday members of the Delano community came together to mourn the loss of a local legend. Mary Ann Franklin was the owner of Mary's Heavenly Bites, a popular spot for homestyle cooking and soul food on Ellington Street.
About 100 people turned out to the vigil. Many honoring Franklin because they say she was the most giving person they know.
"Saturday morning we woke up to pots and pans and you know, things like that. I had to share my mother with the world," said Gwendolyn Patterson, Franklin's youngest daughter.
"She was a generous, caring, giving, person. It just didn't matter who you were, that's just who she was," she continued.
Franklin was not only known for having some of the best home style cooking around, she was also known for her kindness. She regularly gave food away to the homeless, and to people unable to afford a meal.
"She was always giving, she was always loving, she wanted the best for everyone no matter what status of life you were in, Mary loved you and she wanted to help you, said Geraldine Smith, Franklin's best friend.
Franklin worked at the restaurant located on 1612 Ellington Street until the end. She started the business in 2000, it was originally located on High Street. She has three daughters, 13 grandchildren, and hundreds of people who benefited from her kindness.
"Mary was a beacon of light, of hope for our city. She has fed hundreds of families and individuals that did not have the ability to make a homemade cooked meal," said Delano Mayor Joe Aguirre.
"I would just like to thank the community of Delano for showing so much love and support for my mom. That's just it, she loved everybody and just thank everyone that loved her as she did them," Patterson said.
Family says Mary's Heavenly Bites will stay open.