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Mary Lou Avila "Lulu" de la Torre

1931 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Mary Lou Avila "Lulu" de la Torre Obituary
MARY LOU "LULU" AVILA DE LA TORRE On June 6, 2015 a bright star dimmed and Mary Lou "Lulu" Avila de la Torre: Mother; Sister; Cousin; Aunt; Grandmother; and Great-Grandmother left us to be with the love of her life, Arnulfo "Goofy" de la Torre. Mary Lou passed away peacefully surrounded by family after a brief illness. Mary Lou was born on July 26, 1931 to Jesse and Lupe (Palencia) Avila in Riverside, California. Mary Lou attended local schools. In October 1954, Mary Lou, pregnant with her third child along with the two oldest daughters, moved 4,800 miles from Riverside to Lajes, Terceira, Azores, Portugal to support her husband with his job as a civil servant in the Department of the Air Force. Every two years the family would return to Riverside to visit during the summer months. The family returned to Riverside in January 1979 so Mary Lou could assist her siblings in the care of their sick father. A last assignment in 1984 returned Goofy and Mary Lou to Lajes then finally returning to Riverside in 1986. One of Mary Lou's greatest joys came last June with several family members traveling to the island of Terceira. She cherished the people, place and memories from the island and was planning to return in 2016. Mary Lou, a volunteer at heart, gave much of her time to the Lajes Thrift Shop, certified AJBC Bowling Coach (all her children had to bowl), Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery, Riverside Women's Club, Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, the Avila Family Scholarship Fund and The Avila Family Reunion. Mary Lou worked at the Lajes Youth Center and had many "adopted" children she loved who affectionately called her Mrs. D or Momma D. Mary Lou was an accomplished craftswoman. Many of the items she made were given as gifts, however she sold towels, handmade dolls, crocheted items and framed art that included flowers made from bread dough at the Riverside Certified Farmer's Market every Friday morning. She thoroughly enjoyed her time getting to visit with the sellers and buyers. She also dabbled in ceramics, macram‚, knitting and more too numerous to list. Mary Lou could shoot a rifle and could golf, however she loved to bowl. In 1977, winning the Inaugural ABC-WIBC European Division Women's Master's Champion at Ramstein AB, Germany, she returned to Lajes with her green blazer. Mary Lou married Goofy in Tijuana, Mexico on June 18, 1951. The marriage was later blessed on July 28, 1951 at Saint Francis of Assisi Church, now known as Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, Riverside, California. They were the proud parents of nine daughters and one son: Sandra (Jack) Helmintoller, St. Petersburg, FL; Sherilyn (Donald) Hook, Tigard, OR; Edward, Riverside; Vanda (David) Gimpel, in transit to Hawaii; Rebecca, Imperial Beach; Roberta (William) McCoy, Colorado Springs, CO; Marianna (Brian) Bowers, Clinton, UT; Marilyn (Darrell) Rainwater, Riverside; Guadalupe (Manuel) Voss, Redlands; and Teresa, Temecula. She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, her brother Rudy, brother and a sister in infancy, and granddaughter, Sarah Bravo. She is survived by her children, 26 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, her sisters: Katherine (Chevelo) Sanchez, Yucaipa; Estella Sanchez, Riverside; and Gloria Vasquez, Bloomington; my mom's "special" sister, Rosario (Art) Atayde, Vista and many nephews and nieces she loved dearly. A Rosary service will be held at 8:30 am and followed by the Funeral Mass at 9:00 am on Monday, June 15, 2015 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, 2858 9th Street, Riverside, California. Interment will follow at 11:30 am at the Riverside National Cemetery Staging Area 5, 22495 Van Buren Boulevard, Riverside, California. Cremation services were provided by The Omega Society, Orange, California. The family requests, in lieu of flowers, donations are made to Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery or Riverside Women's Club.

Published in Press-Enterprise on June 14, 2015
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