Maria DelRosario Johnston

October 6, 1935February 9, 2019

Maria Del Rosario Johnston, 83, of Irvine, passed away February 9, 2019, with members of her loving family by her side.

Maria was born near the coastal town of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, to Cuthberto Sr. and Domatilla Meza on October 6, 1935. She was one of six siblings; her lovely sister Sylvia, her beloved twin brothers, Cuthberto Jr. “Tito” and Manuel, and her departed brothers Hector and Hector. She migrated with her parents and siblings to Mexicali where Maria met and married Ramiro Lizarraga. She and Ramiro migrated with her family to Los Angeles, California in the 1950s. Maria and Ramiro started raising a family in Los Angeles - her sons, Jorge and Sergio and her daughter, Violetta.

Saint Francis de Sales’ observation that “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength,” certainly applied to Maria. While in her early 20s, Maria lost both her husband, Ramiro, and baby daughter, Violetta, to death; many would not have been able to face such a tragedy, but Maria persevered and raised her two young sons, Jorge and Sergio, with the help of her family.

She turned to working multiple jobs, but always found time for her boys and took them on day trips and encouraged them to love the arts, music, and education. At the same time she began to take courses at the Los Angeles Trade Tech College, where she excelled in their fashion design program. She took great pride in her work and was especially proud of her many designs which were singled out at the college by noted fashion icon and designer Mr. Blackwell. Soon after she opened what would be the first of several businesses she would found and excel in: Maria’s Originals. Maria found love again with Marlow McKenzie Johnston in the 1960s. She and Marlow, an officer in the California Highway Patrol were soon married and began raising a family together in Irvine, California; a handsome son, Marlow and their two beautiful daughters, Brenda and Cindy. Maria loved the community of Irvine and was involved in her children’s activities and could be found on the sidelines of many soccer games yelling and cheering louder than anyone else! Among her proudest achievements at this time was gaining American citizenship. It motivated her to become active in the Orange County Republican Party, especially in support of Ronald Reagan and his campaigns for president.

She treasured her children, grandchildren, and family and embraced every moment with them. She had a vivacious personality, a quick sense of humor, and always was able to make people around her laugh.

Maria was preceded in death by her beloved mother and father, Domatilla and Cuthberto Meza Sr., her dear aunt, Sofia Arce Duarte, her loving husband, Ramiro Lizarraga, and her adored baby daughter, Violetta Lizarraga, her loving husband, Marlow McKenzie Johnston, her loving brothers Cuthberto Jr. “Tito” Meza, Hector and Hector, and her dear brother-in-law, Rosendo Hernandez.

Maria is the much loved mother of her five remaining children and their spouses; Jorge and Linda Lizarraga, Sergio and Carolyn Lizarraga, Marlow and Diane Johnston, Brenda Johnston, and Cindy and Mandi McDougall-Johnston. The cherished grandmother of her nine grandchildren; Adiana Lizarraga, Joaquin Lizarraga, Michael Lizarraga, Melissa Lizarraga, Danielle Kalbiev, Desiree Cordovadee, Amanda Gunter, Aaron Gunter, and Natalie Gunter. And the beloved sister to her siblings; Sylvia Hernandez, Manuel and Alejandrina Meza, and Tito’s wife Flora Meza. Maria is remembered by her many dear nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.


  • Visitation Friday, February 15, 2019
  • Funeral Service Friday, February 15, 2019
  • Graveside Service Friday, February 15, 2019
  • Reception Friday, February 15, 2019

Maria DelRosario Johnston

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