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Lima Family Santa Clara Mortuary

466 North Winchester Blvd, Santa Clara, CA

OBITUARY

John Gouveia Figueira Jr.

March 30, 1932July 3, 2019
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John G. Figueira Jr passed away at the age of 87 on July 3rd surrounded by his wife, Lorraine, their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and other close family after complications from a fall. John was born in Patterson NJ to John and Maria Figueira, Portuguese Immigrants from Madeira Island. John moved with his family to National City, CA in 1947 where he graduated from Sweetwater high school in 1949. He became a commercial Tuna Fisherman alongside his father and in 1951 he joined the Navy and served 4 years during the Korean war. In 1956 two life journeys began, Electrical Engineering studies at Cal Poly SLO, and marriage to the love of his life, Lorraine Souza. Upon graduation, he accepted a Job at Lockheed Missiles and Space and they relocated to Santa Clara. After a successful 31 year career as an Electrical Engineer, he retired in 1991. John always had a special place in his heart for family, community and education. He coached his sons’ little league and pop warner teams; he was president of El Camino Little League; he supported the Santa Clara Vanguard on multiple tours and even drove the equipment truck cross country; He was the president of Sister Cities of Santa Clara for 21 years and coordinated and hosted the student exchange program for Santa Clara high school students to Coimbra Portugal and Izumo Japan; He was on the board of directors of the Portuguese American Club and the Portuguese Historical Society. From 1993 to 2001, John designed and worked on the Portuguese Museum Plaza in Kelly Park, for which he was awarded the Portuguese Chamber Civic leadership award. In 2009, for his writing class, John wrote the “Rose of Portugal” a meticulous work on the plaza, for which he won the California Pioneers Essay Contest. John’s tireless service for the City of Santa Clara was recognized in 2011 when he was honored as the recipient of the Austin Warburton Outstanding Community Service Award. In 1980, John was selected by the Portuguese Government to participate in a month-long cultural exchange program at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. As a proud Navy Vet, John was selected in 2017 for the Honor Flight to the Korean War monument in Washington DC. He attended the USS Talladega Ship reunion yearly and took pride in creating the yearbooks annually. Other Organizations: American Legion #419, Posso, PFHA, St Maria Magdalene, Relay for Life of Santa Clara. John loved to travel, write poems and stories. He spent years researching and documenting his family ancestry. With all his accomplishments, Being “Papa” gave John the greatest joy. Whether it was a bday, ball game, dance recital, school function or graduation, Papa was there with a heart full of pride always. John will be missed by his loving wife, Lorraine, His children, Linda (Tom) Guerreiro, John (Diane), Dave (Renee), Steve (Denise) and Kathy (Jose) Gamch, his cherished 18 grandchildren & 16 great grandchildren, his sisters Olivia, Margaret, Louise, Alice, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. John has touched many lives and will be remembered as an incredibly loving, talented man with unwavering kindness, faith, unselfishness and a captivating smile that will live on forever. Well done, well done my good and faithful one!

In LIEU OF FLOWERS, the family requests donation to Santa Clara Sister Cities Association P.O. BOX 176, Santa Clara CA 95052

Services

  • Visitation Sunday, July 14, 2019
  • Rosary Service Sunday, July 14, 2019
  • Funeral Service Monday, July 15, 2019
  • Committal Service Monday, July 15, 2019

Memories

John Gouveia Figueira Jr.

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Jeannie Lyle

July 13, 2019

Jeannie Lyle

July 13, 2019

We first met John in November of 2006 during a Girl Scout Service Project, although none of us specifically remember meeting him that day. The girls had made cards for Veteran’s Day and passed them out at the Veteran’s Day Ceremony in Santa Clara. John was one of the hundreds of veterans in attendance that year, but he was the only one that year, or in the following ten years we passed out cards, that took the time to locate our troop and send a thank you letter. Those correspondences were the start of a very special relationship.

John became “our” veteran and the girls became “his” Girls Scouts. We looked forward to seeing John every year at the Veteran’s Day Ceremony and always made a special card for him. We were thrilled to find him participating at the Relay for Life in 2008, which meant we got to see him twice a year. We starting exchanging Christmas cards and sent him flowers when he was in the hospital. He came to our cookie booths and bought Girl Scout cookies, even though he probably had family members selling them. He took us on a guided tour of the Portuguese Museum and Plaza that he helped design. We celebrated his 80th birthday with him and surprised him with a cake. He dressed like a pirate and joined us for our team lap at Relay, when that was our theme. He came to their high school graduations and celebrated their accomplishments.

John truly made an impression on all of us with his positive attitude, no matter the circumstances. His strength and courage set an example for all of us. He was always ready with a smile and a laugh and made us feel like part of his extended family. Each of us is blessed and proud to have known him. We will truly miss him.

Jeannie Lyle and Girl Scout Troop 61148 Alumni


Hanh Le

July 9, 2019

John is a lovely gentlemen. He was full of spunk and spirit. Every time he told a story, he would be extremely passionate but was calm and collected. I loved that he encouraged me to go to Portugal through Santa Clara Sister Cities. And when I told him my experience, he listened patiently and laughed at the silly things that happened. To the Figueira family, thank you for having such a loving man bless this community.

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Biography

John G. Figueira Jr passed away at the age of 87 on July 3rd surrounded by his wife, Lorraine, their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and other close family after complications from a fall. John was born in Patterson NJ to John and Maria Figueira, Portuguese Immigrants from Madeira Island. John moved with his family to National City, CA in 1947 where he graduated from Sweetwater high school in 1949. He became a commercial Tuna Fisherman alongside his father and in 1951 he joined the Navy and served 4 years during the Korean war. In 1956 two life journeys began, Electrical Engineering studies at Cal Poly SLO, and marriage to the love of his life, Lorraine Souza. While they lived on campus at Cal Poly, they had their first daughter Linda and their First Son John. Upon graduation, he accepted a Job at Lockheed Missiles and Space and they relocated to Santa Clara. Later came their sons David and Steve who are 10 months apart. 5 years later they had their daughter Kathy and their family was complete. John always said, “ Lorraine wanted 2, I wanted 6 so we compromised at 5, LOL!” John worked hard supporting his family and after a successful 31 year career as an Electrical Engineer, he retired in 1991.

John always had a special place in his heart for family, community and education. His family came first! He coached his sons' little league and pop warner teams; he was president of El Camino Little League; he supported the Santa Clara Vanguard on multiple tours and even drove the equipment truck cross country; He was the president of Sister Cities of Santa Clara for 21 years and coordinated and hosted the student exchange program for Santa Clara high school students to Coimbra Portugal and Izumo Japan; He was on the board of directors of the Portuguese American Club and the Portuguese Historical Society. From 1993 to 2001, John designed and worked on the Portuguese Museum Plaza in Kelly Park, for which he was awarded the Portuguese Chamber Civic leadership award. He used his talents and designed the look of the plaza and coordinated the stone and stone workers to come from Portugal to build the Compass Rose (which is a small-scale version of the original one in Portugal). When they had to go back to Portugal before the work was completed, John completed the stonework with his own hands. His daughter recalls him coming home with bloodied hands, but he was so incredibly pleased with the finished project. In 2009, for his writing class, John wrote the "Rose of Portugal" a meticulous work on the plaza, for which he won the California Pioneers Essay Contest. John's tireless service for the City of Santa Clara was recognized in 2011 when he was honored as the recipient of the Austin Warburton Outstanding Community Service Award. In 1980, John was selected by the Portuguese Government to participate in a month-long cultural exchange program at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. As a proud Navy Vet, John was selected in 2017 for the Honor Flight to the Korean War monument in Washington DC. He attended the USS Talladega Ship reunion yearly and took pride in creating the yearbooks annually. He always wore his Korea Vet hat with great pride. It was special to watch people thank him for his service to our country. He took great pride in it, yet he was so touched every time someone thanked him. Other Organizations he was involved in were The American Legion #419, Posso, PFHA, St Maria Magdalene, Club Sport Maritimo. Relay for Life of Santa Clara.

John loved to travel, write poems and stories. He spent years researching and documenting his family ancestry. Decades before ancestory.com. He traveled and looked at church records in Portugal and in many places around the world. This information he shared with so many family members interested in tracing their family history. He brought so many people together. We found that we had family in so many different countries. He loved workworking and building things with his hands. He has projects displayed all over his home. His kitchen holds one of his greatest creations, a 3 dimensional picture frame with handcrafted designs with memorabilia from his lifetime. Every item carries a special meaning. It was a special sight to see him explain in detail what each item means.

With all his accomplishments, Being “Dad” and "Papa" gave John the greatest joy. Whether it was a bday, ball game, recital, school function or graduation, Papa was there with a heart full of pride always. John wrote special poems for his wife, children on momentous occasions as well as every birth of each grandchild and great grandchild. In each he expressed his love so eloquently. They are truly cherished.
John will be missed by his loving wife of 63 years, Lorraine, His children, Linda (Tom) Guerreiro, John (Diane), Dave (Renee), Steve (Denise) and Kathy (Jose) Gamch, his cherished 18 grandchildren & 16 great grandchildren, his sisters Olivia, Margaret, Louise, Alice, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

John has touched many lives and will be remembered as an incredibly loving, talented man with unwavering kindness, faith, unselfishness and a captivating smile that will live on forever. John had a way of bringing everyone together with love. He loved fiercely and completely. His actions expressed his love every day. His last few days were a true testament of that love. He was surrounded by his family He told he told them individually that he loved them and they were able to tell him the same. He said “I love you and I always will”
Well done, well done my good and faithful one!