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Mary L. Branstuder


1929 - 2019 Obituary Condolences
Sept. 17, 1929 - Jan. 7, 2019 Mary Branstuder (Maria Lourdes) passed away January 7, 2019. Born Maria Lourdes on the Terceira, Azores Islands on September 17, 1929 where her family owned a large farm. She met her husband Benjamin Branstuder, Sr. at a bullfight; they don't kill the bulls on the Islands. Ben, who was in U.S. Air Force, was responsible for military transportation. He was immediately smitten with the beautiful 18-year-old Maria Lourdes and asked her out on a date where her Mother, aunts, and sisters followed behind them as was tradition. They had a total of four children, with three born in the Azores Islands. The military reassigned Ben back to the United States. In 1954, arrangements were made to bring Mary and her three children to the United States on a huge U.S. Air Force cargo plane. She was the only woman on the plane which was filled with wounded and injured American soldiers returning from Europe. Some were injured severely and some not. Soldiers were assigned to help Mary with her children and it was quite a challenge because she only spoke Portuguese and they English. In 1959, the family moved to San Pedro, CA where she remained the rest of her life. The same year, Mary proudly became a U.S. citizen. Mary worked as a sales clerk at S.H. Kress department store in San Pedro for over 20 years, often chosen by her co-workers to be Manager for a Day. Mary was very artistic and served as a window dresser for all the Kress stores in L.A. and Long Beach and at San Pedro Peninsula Hospital during the Holidays. She was a wonderful seamstress, sewing clothes for her children, grandchildren, and others. However, Mary's greatest delight was her family and especially caring for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Mary will be missed beyond words. Mary is preceded in death by Ben Branstuder, Sr., daughter Cassandra "Sandy" Rodriquez, grandson Manuel Lamm, brothers Jose Costa and Manuel Fagundes, and sister Georgina (Fagundes) Almeida. She is survived by her children: daughter Mary Gimenez-Caulder (Patrick), son Benjamin M. Branstuder, Jr., daughter Nana Herrera (the late Paul Herrera). Sisters: Sister Alexandrina Lima, Odilia Teixeira (the late John Teixeira) and brother Joao Fagundes. Grandchildren: Tania Lamm Hochreiter (Robert), Gary Herrera, Maria Ford (Mike). Great-Grandchildren: Meggan Lamm, Adrian Herrera, Michelle Herrera, Nicole Ford, Michael Ford, Nicolas Ford, Bobby Ford and numerous loving nieces and nephews. A viewing is scheduled for Wednesday January 16th 2019 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at McNerney's Mortuary located at 570 W 5th St, San Pedro, CA 90731 and a gravesite service at Green Hills Memorial Park located at 27501 S Western Ave, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275 on Thursday January 17, 2019 at 2:00 pm. The service will be officiated by Monsignor O'Connell of Mary Star of the Sea parish. In lieu of flowers, please contribute in Mary's honor to Caulder Lamm Alliance for Children http://www.CLAforChildren.org, or the , or a nonprofit of your choice. Please sign the guest book at mcnerneysmortuary.com. Please sign the guestbook at dailybreeze.com/obits.
Published in Daily Breeze on Jan. 12, 2019
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