Blanca Estela (Colunga) Miller
1926 - 2020
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Blanca Estela Miller (Colunga)
March 16, 1926 - June 13, 2020
Santa Clara
With peaceful hearts we announce the passing of our mother, Blanca Estela Miller. As was always her wish, she left this earth from the warmth and comfort of her home.
She leaves behind a legacy of accomplishments and gifts, most notably a very close family that deeply grieves its loss.
The oldest of four children, Blanca was born in Tampico, Mexico to Carmen Artalejo and Alberto Miller and was raised in Mexico City with her siblings, Alberto, Sylvia and Rosa Maria. In 1954, with her husband Raul Colunga and children, Raul, Victor, and Charmein, they left a comfortable life behind and immigrated to the United States for the challenge and promise of an even better future.
This was a difficult transition, but made easier because she was bilingual, having graduated from the British Academia Maddox. Blanca lived briefly in San Diego before moving to the Bay Area. As a beach lover, in her later years she and her partner, Douglas Norris, split their time between Santa Cruz and Puerto Vallarta.
By all measures, Blanca's life was a storybook success. Blanca's career spanned more than 25 years at the California Employment Development Department, starting as a secretary and ultimately managing the San Jose Farm Labor Office. While working full time, she also taught English as a second language and citizenship classes 3 nights per week for more than 10 years. Not being one to slow down, after retiring, she worked as a court interpreter simply so she could spend more time with close friends who also were interpreters.
Having an entrepreneurial drive and an incredible business sense, her achievements as a real estate investor were even more notable. However, none of her business success came close to gratifying Blanca as much as the satisfaction that came from providing the initiative and values she spawned in all her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, the cornerstone of which was the importance of education.
Although Alzheimer's slowly took her away from us, it never diminished her spirit. To the very end, she recognized everyone in her extended family: children, Raul (Laura) Colunga, Victor (Cathy) Colunga, Charmein (Jerry) LoCascio; grandchildren, Yvette (Don) Sessions, Jennifer (Mike) Altieri, Christina Colunga, Caroline Colunga, Natalie (Brandon) Cubillas, Garrett (Denisse) LoCascio; great grandchildren, Steven Sessions, Christopher Sessions, Caden Altieri, Emma Altieri, Bradley Cubillas and Aubrey Cubillas.
We will be forever grateful for the incredibly dedicated care provided by her medical professionals and all the caretakers during her lengthy illness, but especially the 8 years of tender and compassionate attention from Velia Becerra.
It would be hard to find a better friend or more generous person than Blanca. Along the way, she quietly helped countless people with a comforting conversation or a helping hand. The greater the need, the more she would open her heart and her pocketbook. She has left us rich with memories.
After the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, there will be a celebration of Blanca's life.

View the online memorial for Blanca Estela Miller (Colunga)

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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Jun. 21, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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5 entries
June 23, 2020
I am a school friend of your daughter, Charmaine. It is with my deepest sympathy that you had to leave your beautiful family. Fly with the angels and well all meet again one day. Sincerely, Jackie (Farmer) Clarkson
Jackie Clarkson-Black
June 23, 2020
Yvette, so so sorry for your loss. Our prayers are with you and your family. Love, Ed and Debbie.
Ed Costa
June 22, 2020
What a beautiful tribute to your mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She is in peace and free of the disease that robs one of life's memories. Here's to a life that was lived fully.
Carolyn Nichols
June 21, 2020
I had the pleasure of working with Blanca for many years at EDD and learned so much from her. I will always remember her with love and admiration. She was a beautiful woman inside and out. She went with me to see my wedding dress before our wedding and celebrated with us at our wedding reception. Remember her saying wishing you bluebirds! Our condolences to all the family.
Mary Cortese Catalano
June 18, 2020
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
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