DOLORES MENDEZ

DOLORES MENDEZ

1930 to 2021

Pride in her Puerto Rican heritage

Dolores Mendez—a lively, eloquent woman whose immense pride in her Puerto Rican heritage was exceeded only by maternal instincts that led her to care for countless foster children as lovingly as she cared for her own—passed away of natural causes at her son Gary’s home in Castro Valley, CA, on Saturday, June 19th, her family members rushing to her side. She was 90.

Her husband and friends called her Loli, mainly because she thought the customary nickname for Dolores, Lola, sounded like “a fat old lady”, which she was not. She adored the Italian operatic pop trio Il Volo and Johnny Cash. She watched the Price Is Right every morning, spent her afternoons with Meredith Viera playing 25 Words or Less, and Bob Hearts Abishola was her favorite sitcom. She looked forward to her 3rd Sunday of the month meetings at the PRUMA (Puerto Rican Union of Mutual Aid) club, a staple in her life since the 1970s. When the pandemic lockdown prevented her from gathering with friends at the club, she was devastated.

The third time was the charm

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SAMUEL EZEKIEL MARTIN

SAMUEL EZEKIEL MARTIN

“My Champion and my Cheerleader”

Samuel Ezekiel Martin—a devoted husband and father who left his children a legacy of resilience, optimism, and limitless self-worth—passed away at home in Stone Mountain, GA, on February 15, 2021, his family at his side. He was 82.

Shawn Martin (shown at left with her dad in 2019), may have expressed best what her father meant to all four children:

“For me, he was my Champion and my Cheerleader,” Shawn said. “He believed there was nothing I couldn’t do, and he always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. He taught me how to dream and dream big. He also gave me an appreciation for the finer things in life.”

The youngest of three children, Samuel was born April 26, 1938, to Maude and Joseph Martin, in Content, Adelphi, Jamaica. Although the Martin marriage didn’t last, Maude later wed Norman Plummer.

He loved to dance

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MATTIE FRANCES MILLER BAKER

MATTIE FRANCES MILLER BAKER

1932 to 2021

Full of life and full of years

Mattie Frances Miller Baker was full of life and full of years when she ascended to eternal life at age 89, on Friday, June 25th in Elizabethtown, KY. She passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by the love and prayers of her three adored “girls”, Debbie Baker, Sherry Berry, and Barbara Ann Jeter.

Mattie loved to play her guitar and sing the old hymns. Most everyday of her life—even on her worst days—she found time to laugh and serenade her family on the piano or violin. Even though Mattie loved school and did well, circumstances did not allow her to attend high school. Nevertheless, she taught herself and thought for herself. An avid reader, she kept abreast of world events and was respected for her intelligence and thoughtfulness.  A realist, she was ultimately a positive person with great hope in the future.

Grew up rich during the Great Depression

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GWENNELLE BELINDA CLARK

GWENNELLE BELINDA CLARK

1950 to 2020

The “C” stood for Clark

Gwennelle and Charles.

Gwennelle Belinda Clark—a loving mother who devoted her life to her only child and prized science and education—passed away at age 70 of a post-surgical infection and heart failure at Wake Medical Center, in Raleigh, NC, on June 12, 2020, her adored son Charles at her side.

It was a running joke among those who knew Gwennelle that the “C” in QVC stood for Clark. If she had one vice, it was the home shopping network, QVC. She did, on occasion, let slip a racy expletive, followed by her legendary chuckle. She rarely drank alcohol, other than something sweet, a wine cooler, maybe, or some Kahlua. Did her conversation linger a bit too often on her son? Of course. Charles was her “pride and joy” and she never hesitated to let you know it.

Her brothers called her “Law”

The first of three children, Gwennelle Belinda Clark was born Feb. 20, 1950, in Southern Pines, NC, to Ernest Thomas Clark, Sr., a tradesman and educator, and Nellie Clark, a math teacher. The Clarks schooled their children early on the importance of education, something that fostered Gwennelle’s dream of becoming a doctor. Ernest and Henry, her younger brothers, called her “Law” because she was quick to enforce the rules when their parents were absent. Frugality came from her dad.

After graduating from West Southern Pines High, in 1967, Gwen, as most called her, attended Howard University, earning a BS in Chemistry in 1967. Intent on realizing her dream of a career in medicine, she matriculated at Hahnemann Medical School, Drexel University where she met the love of her life, Norman Dubissette, a fellow classmate.

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ERNESTINE OSEGUERA

ERNESTINE OSEGUERA

1937 to 2021

She cherished her family

Ernestine Oseguera—a vivacious woman who adored life, cherished her family, and held unshakable faith in the Lord—passed away of liver cancer at her son’s home in Riverside, CA, on February 11, 2021. She was 83.

A savory mix of Texas Mexican, Spanish, French, and Aztec Indian, Ernestine, known as Ernee to her friends, loved nothing more than celebrating the holidays. Whether it was her brown-sugar ham and lemon squares for Thanksgiving or the tons of tamales whipped up before New Year’s Day, Ernestine—surrounded by her enormous family—made the most of any event.

Laughing, sharing stories, and cracking jokes in English and Spanish reigned throughout every holiday, the music of Freddy Fender playing in the background. Fender, a country-rock legend in Texas, was Ernestine’s cousin.

Helped raise her siblings

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