OBITUARY

Esperanza Evangelista Montesa

September 4, 1931October 10, 2020
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To Appreciate My Mother, By Francis ERIC Evangelista Montesa

To appreciate my mother, you have to appreciate the story of immigrants and the American dream for a better life for their family and the future.

Mama was born in a time and place with little technology where hoarse drawn carriages called calesas carried people around town but you can see a movie- a time in the storm clouds of an impending world war- the Philippines, 1931, Guiput, Simpaloc.

Mama never spoke about the war the way Papa did. Mama lost her mother, Francisca Ramos Tamondong Evangelista- Kikay to her friends, and a baby brother, Antonio- Tito Tony, before the war. I learned from my Lola Mary, Mama’s aunt, that on the day Japanese forces came to occupy the Philippines in 1941, my mother had gone to a market in the morning. At the start of the occupation, Lola Mary ran to the market and found Mama hiding under a table and got her safely home. The family, especially the women, were evacuated from Manila to a province for their protection especially as Mama’s older sister, Caridad- Tita Caring, was blossoming into maturity. My maternal grandfather, Hilario Cube Evangelist, stayed in Manila to defend the family house but journey frequently to them for their care and comfort. That’s all I know of Mama during the war.

After the war, Mama matured like any young woman of her time going to school, getting her degree in 1954 at the University of the East in Manila, watching movies and idolizing the matinee idol and leading lady of the day. Some women were Marilyn Monroe. Others were Audrey Hepburn. Mama was a Doris Day.

Mama met Papa, Rodolfo Simeon Montesa, through a mutual friend who though they would like each other. Clearly, a good match was made by a woman who we as children would refer to as “The Matchmaker” and she would become godmother to my brother Simeon.

My parents were engaged for 2 years and married on the morning of 1958 on my father’s 27th birthday. Mama’s hand in marriage was Papa’s the most cherished birthday gift he ever received. Clearly, they had a proper courtship evident by the arrival of my brother, Rodolfo Noel, Christmas morning, 1958- 9 VERY healthy months after the wedding as Papa had defended on their 1st Wedding Anniversary- honeymoon baby.

Papa spoke about moving to a small place after they married where they could only tell the time with Mama’s wrist watch. When Mama’s watch broke, Papa had to walk to a small store to tell the time. Before my brother was born, my paternal grandmother, Francisca Gutierrez Molina Montesa, help get them into a 2-story row house with a separate room for a nursery on Remedios St in Makati, Manila. Simeon Rene came in ’61, Esperanza Sara- ‘63 and I- ‘64.

The dream to immigrate to America, where Papa really though the street was actually paved with gold, came early. They wanted us to have “American names”. Notice I am Francis ERIC and not Francisco (or Enrique- the name my mother would use to scold to me) like my paternal grandfather or Mama’s paternal grandfather. Both my grandmothers were Francisca. I honor their memory every time I sign my name.

Mama immigrate with Noel in 1971 with the purpose of finding a place to live in America and a job. With the support of Tita Caring in Minnesota and Papa’s sister, Carmelita- Tita Mely in Washington, DC, Mama and Noel had family in America to go to. Mama got work as a book keeper for Mott Motors in Bethesda, MD and found us a 2-bedroom apartment in Highland Hall on Old Glebe Road in Arlington, VA. Papa and the rest of us followed in 1972. The 1972-73 school year was the only time the 4 of us went to the same school as the same time- The Cathedral School of St. Thomas More. We eventually rented a house on 4th Street also in Arlington where we all transitioned to our teen years. Mama and Papa were naturalized by the end of the 70’s.

We moved to our house in Fairfax the Summer of 79. If the House on Remedios birth a family and Arlington was the immigrant years, the house in Fairfax fulfilled their American Dream. The 80’s started with high schools, colleges leading to working children and sons moving out. Noel married Sheri Reavis in 1981. Simeon moved back to Arlington and I went to where the opportunity took me. Sara was the dutiful child who stayed at home. The 80’s ended with Mama and Papa becoming grandparents to Rodolfo James- Jimmy and me finally settling in New York City. I feel the 80’s was truly their happiest years. Papa talked about getting a Winnebago with Mama to see the country they now called home but my father’s diagnosis of diabetes ended that dream.

The 90’s had growing pains with learning to live with diabetes, the economy and the occasional boomerang child(ren) moving back home (messy situation) only to move back out. It was softened with grandparenthood and eventual independent children and life in a developing Fairfax County.

The new millennia came with the challenges of time and Papa passed away on 2009. Mama endured the loss of a child with Sara passing away on 2014.

Mama and Papa had a good marriage of exactly 51.5 years (poetic precision for an accountant and an architect) but it included difficult times. Along with the love and joy, there were pain and anger. It was never pleasant to go to bed knowing your parents were arguing. However, despite the bad feelings, the feelings of their love and commitment to each other pulled them thru whatever crisis that tested their marriage. As an adult, I realized the tension happened during the late 70’s with their desire to buy us a house for us. Mama worked 2 jobs to pay for the house in Fairfax. When I speak to friends about my parents, they help me to understand that it is the fire that welds the strongest sword.

Mama did know bitterness, anger, confusion and resentment in an ever-evolving and changing world. Sara said the best word to describe our family is “Pig Headed.” I quite agree with my sister. But love will always win and eventually Mama learned to let go of much of her pain to find forgiveness and understanding.

After Papa’s passing, Mama continued to work. Papa referred to Mama as a work hoarse never stopping. I felt it was good for her mind to stay active. Eventually, dialysis took a toll on Mama’s body and on Mama. She passed away in dignity at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Mama once delivered The Washington Star with my sister one Saturday morning because she said I was too sick to get out of bed. Mama was a working mom, McDonald’s mom, Cub and Boy Scout mom (and grandma), Eagle Scout mom, Star Trek mom, twice mother of the groom, Trojan mom, Warrior mom, Rams mom and Patriot mom (grandma and grand aunt too). Mama paid for vacations to Niagara Falls, Disneyworld, Kings Dominion, etc. Mama was responsible for Catholic School Tuitions, 3 guitar lessons (which did not end soon enough), eye glasses, haircuts, camping equipment, school and scout uniforms, basket balls, bicycles, comic books, dolls, teen car insurances, college loan, car payments and the occasional checks to New York in “support of the Arts” that eventually became purely voluntary. She followed “All My Children”. Mama loved to cook, made chocolate candy (for Jimmy- not her husband or her own actual children), bake and decorate cakes. Mama sewed school play costumes and kept her family educated, sheltered, well feed, shoed and well clothed. Her children gave her trips to Paris, Hawaii, Florida and as much of New York City as she wanted- Papa said Mama was a City Girl at heart.

Mama was supportive of her brother, Leonardo- Tito Nardo, immigrating to America with his wife, Esperanza Rebollido- Tita Punching and my cousin Jose Gerard. Tito Nardo passed away too soon to fully live his American Dream but Mama and Papa stood as role models for her nieces- Frances Grace, Marissa Fe, Maria Eliza and Cynthia Rose with their respective families as well as Papa’s niece, Mae Perez Gahl and to others who asked for support, in pursue of their American or Canadian Dream.

Mama is also survived by two sisters in the Philippines, Agnes Evangelista Enriquez and Cecilia Evangelista.

Mama was known as Anching all her life but was called Espie at work. Work was an important part of her life second only to family and she became very close to her co-workers whom she called friends and created life long bonds. Mama worked for Mott Motors (1971 – 1981), Home Owners Warranty (1982 – 1993), George Mason University (1993 – 2001), Society of Industrial Microbiology (2002 – 2020). She worked a part time evening job for Central Charge to help pay for the house.

Services

  • Visitation

    Sunday, October 18, 2020

  • Funeral Mass

    Monday, October 19, 2020

Memories

Esperanza Evangelista Montesa

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Christine Lowe

October 20, 2020

Espie and I worked closely together at our small office in Fairfax beginning in 2006 and continuing until September 24, 2020. Espie was a crucial staff member and handled the organization's finances with professionalism, patience and good humor. Her loss to our small staff is hard to comprehend and we will all miss her terribly.

Thank you Espie for your friendship, kindness and commitment.

Thank you also for the flan at our annual Christmas lunch.

With love.

Denise and Tom Reavis

October 18, 2020

Mrs. Montesa was such a sweet, gracious woman who always had a beautiful smile and a hug ready when we visited. Rest In Peace sweet lady.

Pam Montgomery

October 16, 2020

We were all celebrating Christmas one year at Noel’s and Sherry’s house. I have to confess, one of the highlights for me was Mrs Montesa’s food! She knew how much I loved it and my favorite dessert was her flan. I would always ask Sherry if she was bringing one to the Christmas dinner. Much to my surprise this one year, she had made one just for me! I was deeply touched by her thoughtfulness! I will never forget that unexpected special gift.
May you Rest In Peace Mrs Montesa🙏🏻❤️



Michele Venezia

October 14, 2020

I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you. Michele

Rodolfo Montesa

October 14, 2020

A time when our family was complete. Christmas Day 2005.

Sharon Montesa

October 14, 2020

Our last summer vacation in 2019 with Espe and Jimmy at the Outer Banks. We will miss you and thank you for being my mother-in-law. Helping you was a pleasure and my privilege. Rest in peace mother.

Noel Montesa

October 13, 2020

My favorite photo when mama and I left for the United States to start our new life. Mama and I were the first to go and then followed a year later with papa and my two brothers and baby sister.

Mama worked up to September 24, 2020 and she never knew what retirement is because that's all she knows and that is to work for her family, even at the age of 89.

Thank you mama for our life and may you have peace.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

To Appreciate My Mother, By Francis ERIC Evangelista Montesa


To appreciate my mother, you have to appreciate the story of immigrants and the American dream for a better life for their family and the future.

Mama was born in a time and place with little technology where hoarse drawn carriages called calesas carried people around town but you can see a movie- a time in the storm clouds of an impending world war- the Philippines, 1931, Guiput, Simpaloc.

Mama never spoke about the war the way Papa did. Mama lost her mother, Francisca Ramos Tamondong Evangelista- Kikay to her friends, and a baby brother, Antonio- Tito Tony, before the war. I learned from my Lola Mary, Mama’s aunt, that on the day Japanese forces came to occupy the Philippines in 1941, my mother had gone to a market in the morning. At the start of the occupation, Lola Mary ran to the market and found Mama hiding under a table and got her safely home. The family, especially the women, were evacuated from Manila to a province for their protection especially as Mama’s older sister, Caridad- Tita Caring, was blossoming into maturity. My maternal grandfather, Hilario Cube Evangelist, stayed in Manila to defend the family house but journey frequently to them for their care and comfort. That’s all I know of Mama during the war.

After the war, Mama matured like any young woman of her time going to school, getting her degree in 1954 at the University of the East in Manila, watching movies and idolizing the matinee idol and leading lady of the day. Some women were Marilyn Monroe. Others were Audrey Hepburn. Mama was a Doris Day.

Mama met Papa, Rodolfo Simeon Montesa, through a mutual friend who though they would like each other. Clearly, a good match was made by a woman who we as children would refer to as “The Matchmaker” and she would become godmother to my brother Simeon.

My parents were engaged for 2 years and married on the morning of 1958 on my father’s 27th birthday. Mama’s hand in marriage was Papa’s the most cherished birthday gift he ever received. Clearly, they had a proper courtship evident by the arrival of my brother, Rodolfo Noel, Christmas morning, 1958- 9 VERY healthy months after the wedding as Papa had defended on their 1st Wedding Anniversary- honeymoon baby.

Papa spoke about moving to a small place after they married where they could only tell the time with Mama’s wrist watch. When Mama’s watch broke, Papa had to walk to a small store to tell the time. Before my brother was born, my paternal grandmother, Francisca Gutierrez Molina Montesa, help get them into a 2-story row house with a separate room for a nursery on Remedios St in Makati, Manila. Simeon Rene came in ’61, Esperanza Sara- ‘63 and I- ‘64.

The dream to immigrate to America, where Papa really though the street was actually paved with gold, came early. They wanted us to have “American names”. Notice I am Francis ERIC and not Francisco (or Enrique- the name my mother would use to scold to me) like my paternal grandfather or Mama’s paternal grandfather. Both my grandmothers were Francisca. I honor their memory every time I sign my name.

Mama immigrate with Noel in 1971 with the purpose of finding a place to live in America and a job. With the support of Tita Caring in Minnesota and Papa’s sister, Carmelita- Tita Mely in Washington, DC, Mama and Noel had family in America to go to. Mama got work as a book keeper for Mott Motors in Bethesda, MD and found us a 2-bedroom apartment in Highland Hall on Old Glebe Road in Arlington, VA. Papa and the rest of us followed in 1972. The 1972-73 school year was the only time the 4 of us went to the same school as the same time- The Cathedral School of St. Thomas More. We eventually rented a house on 4th Street also in Arlington where we all transitioned to our teen years. Mama and Papa were naturalized by the end of the 70’s.

We moved to our house in Fairfax the Summer of 79. If the House on Remedios birth a family and Arlington was the immigrant years, the house in Fairfax fulfilled their American Dream. The 80’s started with high schools, colleges leading to working children and sons moving out. Noel married Sheri Reavis in 1981. Simeon moved back to Arlington and I went to where the opportunity took me. Sara was the dutiful child who stayed at home. The 80’s ended with Mama and Papa becoming grandparents to Rodolfo James- Jimmy and me finally settling in New York City. I feel the 80’s was truly their happiest years. Papa talked about getting a Winnebago with Mama to see the country they now called home but my father’s diagnosis of diabetes ended that dream.

The 90’s had growing pains with learning to live with diabetes, the economy and the occasional boomerang child(ren) moving back home (messy situation) only to move back out. It was softened with grandparenthood and eventual independent children and life in a developing Fairfax County.

The new millennia came with the challenges of time and Papa passed away on 2009. Mama endured the loss of a child with Sara passing away on 2014.

Mama and Papa had a good marriage of exactly 51.5 years (poetic precision for an accountant and an architect) but it included difficult times. Along with the love and joy, there were pain and anger. It was never pleasant to go to bed knowing your parents were arguing. However, despite the bad feelings, the feelings of their love and commitment to each other pulled them thru whatever crisis that tested their marriage. As an adult, I realized the tension happened during the late 70’s with their desire to buy us a house for us. Mama worked 2 jobs to pay for the house in Fairfax. When I speak to friends about my parents, they help me to understand that it is the fire that welds the strongest sword.

Mama did know bitterness, anger, confusion and resentment in an ever-evolving and changing world. Sara said the best word to describe our family is “Pig Headed.” I quite agree with my sister. But love will always win and eventually Mama learned to let go of much of her pain to find forgiveness and understanding.

After Papa’s passing, Mama continued to work. Papa referred to Mama as a work hoarse never stopping. I felt it was good for her mind to stay active. Eventually, dialysis took a toll on Mama’s body and on Mama. She passed away in dignity at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Mama once delivered The Washington Star with my sister one Saturday morning because she said I was too sick to get out of bed. Mama was a working mom, McDonald’s mom, Cub and Boy Scout mom (and grandma), Eagle Scout mom, Star Trek mom, twice mother of the groom, Trojan mom, Warrior mom, Rams mom and Patriot mom (grandma and grand aunt too). Mama paid for vacations to Niagara Falls, Disneyworld, Kings Dominion, etc. Mama was responsible for Catholic School Tuitions, 3 guitar lessons (which did not end soon enough), eye glasses, haircuts, camping equipment, school and scout uniforms, basket balls, bicycles, comic books, dolls, teen car insurances, college loan, car payments and the occasional checks to New York in “support of the Arts” that eventually became purely voluntary. She followed “All My Children”. Mama loved to cook, made chocolate candy (for Jimmy- not her husband or her own actual children), bake and decorate cakes. Mama sewed school play costumes and kept her family educated, sheltered, well feed, shoed and well clothed. Her children gave her trips to Paris, Hawaii, Florida and as much of New York City as she wanted- Papa said Mama was a City Girl at heart.

Mama was supportive of her brother, Leonardo- Tito Nardo, immigrating to America with his wife, Esperanza Rebollido- Tita Punching and my cousin Jose Gerard. Tito Nardo passed away too soon to fully live his American Dream but Mama and Papa stood as role models for her nieces- Frances Grace, Marissa Fe, Maria Eliza and Cynthia Rose with their respective families as well as Papa’s niece, Mae Perez Gahl and to others who asked for support, in pursue of their American or Canadian Dream.

Mama is also survived by two sisters in the Philippines, Agnes Evangelista Enriquez and Cecilia Evangelista.

Mama was known as Anching all her life but was called Espie at work. Work was an important part of her life second only to family and she became very close to her co-workers whom she called friends and created life long bonds. Mama worked for Mott Motors (1971 – 1981), Home Owners Warranty (1982 – 1993), George Mason University (1993 – 2001), Society of Industrial Microbiology (2002 – 2020). She worked a part time evening job for Central Charge to help pay for the house.

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