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Published: Saturday, 12/25/2004

Loma Linda's founder led restaurant family

Ventura Cavazos, 94, whose cooking skills guided the growth of Loma Linda's restaurant and helped to popularize Mexican-style foods locally, died yesterday in Lake Park Care Center of complications after a fall at her Toledo home a week ago.

Mrs. Cavazos helped found Loma Linda's and ran the kitchen beginning when it was a small tavern on Airport Highway in the mid-1950s. At that time, it offered hamburgers and hot dogs and nothing Mexican, Adela Mundt, her daughter, said.

Loma Linda's and five other area restaurants now are operated by several granddaughters, a daughter, and a son-in-law. Mrs. Mundt operates Loma Linda's and Barron's.

Mrs. Cavazos began preparing her own menus for Loma Linda's, drawing on advice from Francisco Osuna, who operated a Mexican bakery called La Mexicana Tortillera on Summit Street, her daughter said. "He gave her the confidence and support on how to prepare this and how to prepare that," Mrs. Mundt said. Her foods were not pure Mexican, but a blend of her own knowledge and his background from the state of Puebla in Mexico, she said.

Mrs. Cavazos' meals, combined with the restaurant's famous margaritas, helped make Loma Linda's a popular destination for casual diners.

She retired in 1978 to care for her husband.

Born and reared in Beeville, Texas, Mrs. Cavazos and her husband, Alejos, worked a summer in the early 1950s picking tomatoes in northwest Ohio, then settled here a year later.

Her husband died in 1979.

Surviving are her daughters, Delores King, Rhoda Baldwin, Adela Mundt, and Marie Hinojosa; son, Arturo; 25 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the J. Jeffrey Fretti Funeral Home, where the body will be after 3 p.m. Monday.

The family suggests tributes to Life Connection of Ohio.

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