On May 13, 2011, Maria Lourdes Avelar, 53, passed away peacefully at her home in McKinleyville, CA, with her family by her side, finally losing her long battle with Machado-Joseph Disease. Maria was born March 31, 1958 to Jose J. Mendonca and Amelia M. Mendonca, in the town of Ponta Delgada, Flores, Azores Islands. She lived there until the age of 6 when her family immigrated to the United States and settled in Arcata, CA. Maria attended primary and secondary schools in Arcata graduating from Arcata High School in 1976. After graduation, Maria enjoyed her career working at local restaurants including Pete's Bella Vista Inn and the Ramada Inn as well as working for Payless Drugs in Arcata, until she retired to raise her children. In 1976, Maria married Henry Avelar at the St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Eureka. Henry and Maria enjoyed an exciting life together that included the births of three wonderful children, Nelson, Michael and Melissa Avelar. Maria cherished her memories of the time spent with her family which included two summers travelling by R.V. across the U.S. and Canada, visiting extended family, and experiencing the beauty of our National Parks and Monuments. She also relished the summer spent visiting her homeland of the Azores Islands. In later years, Henry and Maria especially enjoyed local trips to Crescent City and Brookings where they would usually enjoy a fish and chips lunch by the Ocean. Maria spent her free time with her flower garden, of which she was especially fond of her roses. She also enjoyed sewing and beading which she continued up to her final days. In younger years, she enjoyed cooking for family gatherings and baking, where she specialized in beautifully decorated cakes. Maria loved working with children, including assisting in CCD Classes at Christ the King Church in McKinleyville of which she was a member. Maria was preceded in death by her parents, and her two brothers Jose, and Fernando Mendonca. Maria is survived by her Husband Henry Avelar and their children Nelson Avelar, Michael Avelar, and Melissa Hux and her husband Brandon. She is also survived by her brother Tony Mendonca along with numerous Aunts, Uncles, Nephews, Nieces and Cousins. A special heart-felt thanks goes out to the people at Mad River Adult Day Health Care which were like a second family to her in her later years, and to the very caring people of Hospice which made her later days as comfortable as possible. A public Rosary will be held at Paul's Chapel at 5:30 PM on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 with a public visitation to run from 4 until 8. A funeral mass will be held at St. Mary's Catholic Church on May 19, 2011 beginning at 10 AM. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: National Ataxia Foundation 2600 Fernbrook Lane, Suite 119 Minneapolis, MN 55447 Include the following statement with your donation: "This donation is restricted to research oriented towards finding a treatment or cure for SCA3 or Machado-Joseph Disease." Arrangements are under the care of Paul's Chapel, 7070 H Street, Arcata (707) 822-2445. Please sign the guest book at www.Times-Standard.com, click obits.
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Published in Eureka Times-Standard on May 17, 2011