Aurora Coloma Sumaydeng
Aurora Coloma Sumaydeng was born on February 20, 1921 in the Philippines and died on August 28, 2014. She was the eldest of the six children of Antonia Saquing and Venancio Coloma, Sr., who became the first elected Alcalde (mayor) of the town of Bagabag in 1934.
Aurora spent her childhood on a farm, where her family had rare white carabao (water buffalo), and wild orchids grew thick in the forest behind their home. During the Japanese Occupation of World War II, her college education was interrupted when the invading forces closed the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and converted it to an internment camp. Her family was forced to flee their home and subsist in the jungle.
She met her future husband, Esdras Sumaydeng, when he returned to defend his village. Esdras was a Philippine Scout, a survivor of the Bataan Death March and a guerilla fighter during the Occupation.
Aurora graduated in 1949 with her medical degree in obstetrics. Also in 1949, she married Esdras, who had joined the U.S. Army as a security analyst. They moved to America and raised their children while moving to various posts in Kentucky, California, Georgia, North Carolina and, finally, Columbia, South Carolina.They also did tours of duty in Germany and Japan.
Aurora became certified as a Medical Technologist at Rex Hospital in North Carolina in 1961. In 1964, she began working at the "old" Columbia Hospital laboratory and later moved to Providence Hospital, where she developed their state-of-the-art Bacteriology Lab. By 1982, Aurora had achieved the role of Supervisor of the Microbiology Lab and had a staff of three. At retirement, she received a gift of a beautiful phalaenopsis orchid. It bloomed magnificently for decades under her nurturing care and reminded her of her childhood home.
She volunteered at Meals on Wheels and the Dorn VA Hospital and was a member of Shandon United Methodist Church, finding fellowship with her Sunday School class. She also belonged to the Columbia Fil-Am Association.
Aurora is survived by her daughters, Aurora Goodman and her husband Murray of Laurel Springs, NJ, Ivy Sumaydeng-Bryan and husband Edward of Columbia, and Maye Galloway of Easley. She was predeceased by her husband, Esdras Sumaydeng, and her son-in-law, Sammy Galloway.
Grandchildren and their spouses whom she cherished and adored are Carl Thoder and his wife, Becky, Michael Thoder and his wife, Susan, Shauna Galloway-Williams and her husband, DuPre, and Claire Sumaydeng-Bryan. Her great-grandchildren are Esdras and Phoebe Williams, Max and Emily Thoder and Simona, Blake and Leighton Thoder. She is survived by her two sisters, Anita Ramirez and Naomi Rodriguez of the Philippines. Numerous nieces and nephews are in the Philippines, Malaysia, Canada, Australia, Japan and the U.S.
The family would like to express our grateful appreciation to the Willows of Easley and the dedicated and caring staff at NHC Mauldin. Special thanks to Palmetto Baptist Hospital in Easley, SC.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 6, 2014, at Shandon United Methodist Church in Columbia. The family will receive friends from 10 until 11:00 a.m. at the church in Wesley Hall prior to the service. Aurora will be reunited with her husband, Esdras, at a private ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is assisting the family.
Memorial contributions may be directed to The Julie Valentine Center, 2905 White Horse Road, Greenville, SC 29611.
Please sign the online guestbook at www.dunbarfuneralhomedevine.com.
Published in The Greenville News on Aug. 31, 2014