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Maria "Maria" Luisa

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Maria "Maria" Luisa Obituary
The long pilgrimage of Maria Luisa ("Marie") ended in Riverside, CA late in the afternoon of July 17, 2017. She had been the fifth of six children born to Fernando and Maria Arriaga Valdez in Orange, California. Her mom was an ethnic Basque who had emigrated with her own parents from Michoacan during the chaos and random violence of the Mexican Revolution. Mr. Valdez, a Mexican consular official, died of a sudden illness when daughter Maria was two years old. The widow relocated her large family to San Pedro to avoid the official policy of rigid segregation of public schools in Orange County in those times. Young Maria greatly valued her education in the Catholic parochial schools of San Pedro and Long Beach. She was a graduate of Los Angeles Harbor College and attended Immaculate Heart College. She completed clinical training in Long Beach and was a nurse in the Medical ICU of Long Beach Memorial Hospital. There she met her future husband, Gilbert Zimmerman, MD. The Zimmermans came to Riverside temporarily in '73 while Gil was assigned to active duty as a medical officer at the USAF Regional Hospital at March Air Force Base. They much enjoyed those Air Force years and never left Riverside. Maria went on to positions of leadership in the medical community, was elected President of the Riverside County Medical Association Auxiliary in 1978-79 and again 1993-94. Throughout all these years, she was a steadfast wife and companion, a loving sister and aunt, an inspired cook, an inquisitive reader of three daily papers, the caretaker of the historic home and gardens she loved so much. To nieces and nephews, she was "Aunt Marie." She always remembered her first weekend adventure to a vintage car gathering along the Central Coast, traveling to the Madonna Inn with Gil in a 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk. Maria was a member of San Secondo d'Asti Roman Catholic Church. She enjoyed (since 1983) the camaraderie of friends at the Victoria Club, where she loved hosting family gatherings but never had time for golf or cards. Through these six months of hospice care, she somehow made her daily life with Gil as normal, even special as possible. She leaves her husband of forty-eight years; brother Fernando Valdez of Long Beach; niece Adela Stine of Riverside; nephew Kurt Muller of Rancho Palos Verdes, and much loved grandnieces and grandnephews. Among them is godson Martin Stine, a longtime close member of the Zimmerman household.
Funeral Mass at St. Catherine of Alexandria will be on Wednesday, July 26 at 11 AM. Interment at Riverside National Cemetery to follow.
Published in Press-Enterprise from July 23 to July 24, 2017
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