The following is the eulogy given by Frances De La O's son Larry Ludwig and reprinted here with his expressed permission.
By Larry Ludwig
Good Morning. On behalf of the family we would like to thank you for coming to our Mother’s funeral today and also those of you having Mass said for Frances. We would like to acknowledge the presence today of her last surviving sibling, her sister, our Aunt Josie Roggero.
When I learned of Frances‘ passing last week, I was at a loss of words. What does one say when one loses a mother? What does a mother mean to her children. Finally thoughts came forth. A mother is she who gives us life, who births us, who nurtures & raises us, is our role model, gives us our education and the tools to survive and make a good living, gives us our moral compass, who gives us her unconditional love, who is always there for us. This was Frances.
A sympathy card from cousin Sandi Lehnhard notes a mother is remembered for her laugh, her smile, her voice, her style, her strength, her poise, her gifts, her joys, her words, her grace, her eyes, her face. Frances was all these and yet more.
She was our good friend, and a friend to all our friends, regardless of stature, rank, class, race, religion, ethnicity, be it school classmates, neighbors, roommates, co-workers, visiting dignitaries, they were always welcome, always made to feel “at home”, as part of the family.
She always was encouraging and appreciative of our efforts, but could also exercise “tough love” to teach us a moral lesson, or practical survival living skills.
She gave us a life-long home, both physically and spiritually. No matter where on the earth we may have been, be it throughout California, the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, we always had a home, our foundation, our home base to return to, a refuge, a place of “loving warmth and welcome. Every year without fail, a Christmas “care package” was shipped replete with holiday cookies and seasonal goodies.
She was a great role model in the morals department…always honest, always a woman of her word, her word WAS her bond. Her personal behavior always above board, exemplary.
And if she ever was suffering be it physically or mentally, she never let on, never burdened us with her aches and ills…putting forth a constant aura of optimism and good hope.
She may have been small in physical stature, but small was no indication of weakness. As her husband Larry De La O would say, she was a “tough old broad”….from doing heavy-duty farming chores and herding cows on horseback in the San Pedro hills as a child; to driving solo her three children (Leslie, Lynne, Larry) twice across the United States during the 1950’s (before automatic transmission and air conditioning); to driving those children (once again solo) along with nephews Howard and Robert through the then very macho “bandolero-pistolero” Mexico of the early 1960’s from Mexico City through mountains, jungle and desert to the Arizona border; to single-handily planning the logistics and carrying out the business dinners and parties of her husband Harvey Ludwig several times a year.
On a more personal note, she was a superb cook, preparing Grandmother Ludwig’s German dumplings and Christmas Kuchen pies, Grandmother Roggero’s raviolis, and her own tamale casserole, stuffed bell peppers, pineapple upside-down cake, caramel popcorn balls..and always happy to share her recipes with whomever expressed an interest.
She loved gardening, especially raising flowers, succulents, herbs, vegetables and fruit trees, her homes’ yards always garden oases for all to enjoy.
She loved dancing, thriving in exhibition ballroom dancing with husband Larry, and music, especially Italian songs and opera arias. Her favorites are being played today: “Torno a Surriento”, “O Sole Mio”, “O Mio Babbino Caro” from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, the Intermezzo from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, and Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood”
In closing I would like to share a few comments, in addition to those cited from cousin Meredith Binsacca and family friend Maria Feeney in the “obituary”:
From the Roggero family, cousin Sharon: “In her heart ‘Aunt Francie’ was clear love and grace, with humor plus beauty. She was a large positive influence in my youth and life. She was always there for me.
From the Ludwig family, cousin Robert: “Three things immediately come to mind when I think of Frances: her love for others, her love of life, and her wonderful sense of humor and inner peace. Frances always made me feel welcome, loved and showed how to enjoy life to the fullest. She was always the optimistic, caring adult with the perpetual, upbeat attitude and hugs. She was the nicest and most loving person I have had the great fortune to meet and interact. I remember her fondly and treasure those wonderful memories. To be included in her personal circle was truly magical”
And from my friends and former co-workers, Griselle and Gilberto Apodaca, Griselle writes “Our memories of our mothers never fade. They truly remain present in our lives. My memories creep up on me at the most unexpected moments. Just listen…and you will hear Frances whispering in your heart”
[ Funeral Services were held for Frances at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Los Angeles, on June 9. Frances passed at her residence in Calabassas, California, on June 1, of natural causes, at age 93.]
Guest Book for Mary Frances De La O