Teresita Hilario Acena

December 13, 1947November 4, 2013
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When Teresita Hilario Acena walked into the room, those in her company felt energy, an enthusiastic spontaneity. This was just one example of who Teresita was and how she impacted those around her. Teresita was a clever and gregarious person who always sought out the finest attributes in other people. It was as if Teresita wanted to share all of their experiences, revel in their lives and celebrate their discoveries. Teresita was tireless and had boundless enthusiasm that would serve her well throughout her life.

Teresita was born on December 13, 1947 in the town of Solsona, in the province of Ilocos Norte, Philippines. She was the daughter of Timoteo "Aryon" Hilario and Elisa Perez Hilario. Teresita was raised in Solsona, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. Always at the ready with a good joke, she grew up to be quite a humorous person. While some who knew Teresita might describe her as an idealist, her friends and family understood well that Teresita was always in pursuit of life’s endless possibilities and opportunities available to her.

Teresita was raised with three siblings. She had one older sister, Lourdes, an older brother, Cesar, and a younger sister, Mary Traynor. Teresita was very accepting and supportive of her family. She was perceived as the central person in her family in terms of keeping communication open between the family members. Whenever discord or tension arose within the home, Teresita was typically the member who brought about resolution and harmony. These traits served Teresita well in her adult life and, along with her wit, outgoing personality, and understanding of others, drew the admiration of many who knew her.

As a young girl, Teresita was able to empathize and identify with a vast array of people and personality types. This quality drew her into a diverse group of friends and acquaintances. Teresita was intelligent and had little trouble getting along with her peers. She was almost always the first to jump in when it came to playing games or participating in other childhood activities. Teresita took part in softball. Teresita had the ability to find amusement with almost any activity she and the many childhood friends she shared might discover.

During her high school years, Teresita responded enthusiastically to any new project and was regularly in search of one adventure after another. She graduated from Ablan Memorial Academy in 1964. Teresita was a very good student, and generally did well in her courses. Teresita absorbed as much as she could from all of her teachers and was consistently able to tackle conceptual and abstract problems, using her imagination to master her assignments. For Teresita, school often became just an extension of playtime, thanks to her ability to turn just about anything into a game. Classmates considered Teresita a good listener, knowing that when necessary, they could go to her to discuss just about anything.

With a talent for making acquaintances easily which in turn brought her an endless stream of friends, Teresita was very sociable and could blend without effort into any social group. Assertive and outgoing, Teresita was easy to know and demonstrated a deep concern for others. She always seemed aware of what was going on with people around her and throughout her life she made many, many friends. While growing up, some of her best friends were her cousins Gorgonia Diego and Marina Agasid. Later in life, she became friends with Eva Pascual, Mildred Sanchez, Connie Reyes, Lalie Vann, Norma Aquino, Lulu Estrada, Maret Caampued, Nora Ravelo, and also her boyfriend of 21 years, Bill Collins.

On 1975, Teresita married Carling F. Acena at in Solsona, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. They were divorced in 1980.

Teresita was a natural and creative parent who was willing to provide her family with all sorts of new and interesting experiences. For Teresita, parenting was a particularly enjoyable and pleasurable part of her life. Every activity, from chores to bedtime routines, became a game in the Acena home. Teresita's skill at understanding her child's feelings, her sensitivity to her needs, and her gift for gentle persuasion enabled her to find novel solutions to any problem or situation that might crop up. Teresita was blessed with one child: Melissa Acena. They were also blessed with three grandchildren, Monique Newell, Michael Perez, and Miyanna Perez.

Teresita was uplifted by new ideas and was excited by life’s possibilities, traits that made her an exceptional worker. Her primary occupation was semiconductor production and quality assurance. She was employed for 21 years by Xilinx, and also Zilog and PMI. Teresita was enterprising, inventive and working against deadlines seemed to energize her. Teresita had the uncanny ability to identify a win/win solution to just about any problem, possibly because of her gift for insight. Teresita's fellow workers saw her as a supporter and a mentor.

Because Teresita loved to have a broad variety of activities in her life, she took advantage of the opportunity to pursue numerous hobbies. Her favorite pursuits were ballroom dancing. Teresita had a knack for being able to multi-task in order to create time for all of her favorite pastimes. However, Teresita's ever-present concern for others always took precedent.

Teresita derived much satisfaction from participating in and watching sports. Her charisma, supportive nature and ability to improvise when called upon to do so all made perfect attributes for enjoying a great many sporting activities. In high school, Teresita played softball.

Throughout her life, Teresita was actively involved in professional and community organizations. She was compassionate, accommodating and quick to move into action. Always able to build a consensus, Teresita seemed to be the person smack dab in the middle of things, working to get things done. Those who had the opportunity to work with Teresita usually agreed that when you were involved in an organization with her, it was as entertaining as anything you could imagine. Throughout her later years, Teresita was an active member of the Filipino Association of Lakewood Village and the Filipino Community Association of Santa Clara.

Teresita was a woman who was dedicated and devoted to her faith. She was a member God of Father Group, Our Lady of the Bleeding Heart, and Cursillo. During that time, she was helped propagate the word of God. She was sympathetic and able to empathize with others and she used these qualities to the fullest while working tirelessly for her beliefs.

Though she never did anything solely for individual recognition, Teresita's ingenuity, resourcefulness, and selflessness, earned her accolades for her many lifelong efforts. Some of her most prestigious awards included Mrs. Philippines, Santa Clara Valley in 1993.

Teresita's love of improvising in her daily life was a perfect fit for her enjoyment of traveling. Her favorite vacations were ones that were not planned. Traveling in a casual manor fit her personality well. Excited about seeing changing scenery and constantly looking for the enjoyment life could offer, Teresita took her vacations seriously, well, as seriously as she possibly could. Favorite vacations included multiple trips to Hawaii, Holy Land, Paris, Medjugorje and Greece.

Teresita was a lover of animals and cherished her pet fish in her aquarium and her koi fish in her koi pond.

When Teresita's retirement finally came in 2010, Teresita handled it the way she usually did. She adapted and, like everything in her life, made it satisfying. Because she was such a flexible person and able to adjust to any situation, retirement was just another enjoyable change of pace for Teresita to master. Her new life involved relocating to San Jose, California. Even in retirement, Teresita continued to stay in touch with her old friends and like always, made plenty of new ones.

Teresita Acena passed away on November 4, 2013 at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, California. Tessie lost her battle against gastric cancer. She is survived by her sisters Lourdes and Mary; her daughter Melissa; her grandchildren Monique, Michael, and Miyanna; and her boyfriend Bill. Services were held at Our Lady of Refuge Church. Teresita was laid to rest in Oak Hill Memorial Park in San Jose, California.

There was always a certain style and inventiveness to Teresita. She was a dynamic, self-expressive person who was forever looking to celebrate the endless possibilities life had to offer. She had a knack for being clever, creative and witty, and for others, was a joy to be around. While she was often fiercely independent, it seemed as if many others looked to Teresita Acena for inspiration, leadership, wisdom and even courage. Teresita was always more than willing to share life’s experiences with her loved ones.


  • Visitation Friday, November 15, 2013
  • Visitation Friday, November 15, 2013
  • Rosary Service Friday, November 15, 2013
  • Funeral Service Saturday, November 16, 2013

Teresita Hilario Acena

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Melissa Acena

November 6, 2014

Mom, i can't believe it's been a year since you passed away. I miss you everyday. May you continue to watch over us and may you rest in eternal paradise always and forever. Love you so much!

January 3, 2014

We miss you and love you Auntie Tessie

-from your family here in Philippines

November 17, 2013

Thank you Tess for allowing us to be part of your journey. Your grace, generosity and love will always be in our hearts. Rest in peace my friend.

Maryann & Dick Campana

November 14, 2013

Bill, my condolences to you and her family, Tess was a beautiful lady. Keep your heart filled with all the joyfull times you had together and cherish a life well lived.


November 13, 2013

Thank you Tess for being a part of our lives. You brightened the room when you entered and helped pray for our concerns. We will never forget how you were always there for us. God bless you and your family.

November 13, 2013

Our prayers for comfort to the family, our deepest sympathy.

Jim & Ann Bieberich


November 13, 2013

My condolences to the family
Teresita was a beautiful energetic lady with a big heart.
May she rest in peace.

November 11, 2013

Tess - I will always remember your smile and your positive outlook in life. I know you have enjoyed your life to the fullest.
I will definitely miss you.

Love you,

Boots Romero

November 10, 2013

Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.

Please accept our heartfelt condolences.

Boots and family

Glenda Diego

November 10, 2013

Auntie Tessie we will miss you.