Evelyn Mary De La O 1949-2013
I've avoided writing this for obvious reasons but there is no getting around it. My sister Evelyn De la O passed away last month, January 9, 2013. The cause of death was a heart attack. She was also suffering from pneumonia at the time. She was 63.
Evelyn was living at the Maryland Garden Care Center in Phoenix, Arizona at the time of her death. She and her daughter Sunshine had been living in Arizona for last twenty years. Sunshine has since married and lives in Florida with her husband Brian Harvey.
She had been ill for some time suffering from diabetes and amputation as well as a stroke in 2002. Still she remained hopeful and optimistic, putting her faith in God..
Though she died on the 9th of January, we were not made aware of her death until January 17. On January 24, per her request, Evelyn was cremated. On Friday, the 24th My wife Jeri and I drove to the Able funeral home in Phoenix and brought her remains back home to California.
My sister was born in South Gate, California, on September 12, 1949. She spent much of her young life growing up in Santa Fe Springs, California until our family moved to Pico Rivera in 1962. She attended Mary Meller Junior High School and was a proud graduate of El Rancho High School, class of 1967.
She was married briefly after graduating. She had two children that died as a result of Sudden Infant death Syndrome (SIDS), known simply at that time as Crib Death.
She spent most of the 1970's and 1980's living in Southern California and working for the most part as a cashier at various supermarkets and other stores, as well as a teller for the Golden State Bank.. She had a sharp mind when it came to fixing things and my mother still recalls when my father frustrated with some small project would say to her “Call Evelyn” and sure enough, she would find a way to solve the problem.
Though she dealt with it, she never really got over our father's death in 1981, she carried that with her for her entire life
In 1981, she would meet and eventually marry Ruben Montes. On September of 1982 their daughter Sunshine was born. They would have one more, a boy, Skye Christopher Montes, who would die shortly after birth. Ruben passed away from natural causes in 2003.
My sister loved to cook, and like most of the De La O family she loved good New Mexican and Mexican cooking, especially tacos, enchiladas and green chile (Chile Verde). She loved cooking different types of food and one of her specialties was Pork Fried Rice. She enjoyed cooking for family and friends.
She was fond of the Volkswagon Beetle and owned two of them at different times, as well as a mid 1970's model Volkswagon van. She was not intimidated by distance and once drove from Spanaway, Washington in her Volkswagon Bug, alone, back to Pico Rivera, California.
My favorite memory of my sister, one that has stayed with me for over forty years is the day I left for the Navy. As time passed by I came to cherish this memory more and more.
On September 29, 1972, I was leaving for the Service Induction Center in the Wilshire District in Los Angeles. The plan was to drive my father to work, and then to the Induction Center. My friends, Mike Teran and Richard Eriksen, as well as my sister would go with me. One of them would drive the car back to my father. We got there about 7:00 am, and I began the day long process of being inducted; shots, checkups, swearing in, and so many other thing I really can't remember. What I do remember is that the time came for everyone to leave and get my father. It was sometime after lunch. My sister refused to leave me. I pleaded with her to go, otherwise she would have no way to get home.
I could not talk her out of staying. Mike and Richard left and it was just her and I. She just wanted to stay with me as long as she could. I was glad she was there. Soon, it was time for me to get on the bus and leave for the Navy Boot Camp in San Diego. As we hugged and said our goodbyes she began to sob and telling me how much she would miss me. I got a little teary eyed myself. As I sat down in the bus I could see her looking at me, still crying. As the bus drove off, she began running along side, waving and crying. Then just like that we were gone.
I worried about her until I got a letter from her a few weeks later. She got a ride from a family from East Los Angeles. The family of another recruit that I met that day. They took her all the way home. I never forgot how she showed her love and loyalty for me that day. I never will.
She was the first born child of our parents, Andrew and Anita De La O. She was five years older than me and fifteen years older than my brother Dennis. I grew up calling her “Candy”.She loved that name, when she wrote to me or sent me a birthday card, it was signed simply, Candy.. I'll miss that. I'll miss her smile and laughter. I'll miss those moments, growing up, sharing secrets, teasing each other, just being a brother and sister. Those are the moments that I will hold with me forever. They were good days. She will be forever missed by her family.
A memorial service is pending. I will post the date, time and location when they are confirmed.