There are not enough words to express how I feel. My heart is broken but I have so many memories that will remain in my heart forever. I am so honored to be your daughter and call you my father. I miss you and love you so much. Life is precious and you always taught me on how life is short and we all must appreciate each day. Thank you for everything
Love your daughter
November 7, 1935 - May 9, 2020 On Saturday, May 9, 2020, Ernest Mata, loving husband, father and grandfather passed away at the age of 84. Ernest was born November 7, 1935 in Bellflower, California to Jesus and Agapita Mata. He was the eldest of 12 children. Ernest lived in Bellflower, Paramount and eventually settled in Torrance where he ended up living most of his life and raising his family. Ernest attended Torrance High School; Class of 1955. After High School he started working for the City of Torrance, he proudly worked there for 42 years, retiring as a Heavy Equipment Operator in the Street Department. He took pride in his work each day and maintained each street as if it were his own. He loved when kids heard his sweeper coming and would run to the windows and wave, run outside and flag him down, sometimes stopping to take pictures with them. In 1958 he met and married the love of his life, Gabriela. They were married 62 years, raising 6 children together and welcomed 6 grandchildren along the way. Ernest and Gabriela stayed active working in order to provide for their family. They started selling at the Rodium Swap meet on weekends with their kids; pottery, macrame; and eventually plants. They employed their kids, nieces, nephews and their kid's friends, eventually having 3 stands at the swap meet to meet the demand. The friendships and memories made at the Rodium were something dear to him and he cherished them in his heart. In May of 1980 along with their children, they opened Villa Hermosa Plant and Flower Shop in South Torrance. He would continue working at the City during the day while his wife along with their older children would start this new endeavor. Ernest was so proud of what he and Gabriela built together. They spent most of their time not just working but enjoying their customers who became friends. He had a love-hate relationship with his family's Christmas tree lot that his kids put on each year. He loved the opportunity it provided for his family and the kids in the community, but hated the stress and exhaustion that came along with it. It created a lifetime of memories for him and all who were a part of the Christmas tree lot experience. He enjoyed the race track with good friend "Coach" when he was younger, loved going to Las Vegas with his family and last, but not least, his scratchers. Over the years he struck a few small fortunes enjoying his hobbies, but his greatest fortune always being his wife. Daily he used to say to us, "I don't know how I got so lucky", she made him feel so loved. In all his success Ernest never forgot his humble beginning. He continued to work, spending his last morning, at the shop with his family. Ernest was preceded in death by his father, Jesus, his mother, Agapita, his brothers; Tony and Richard, his sisters; Martina Villalva, Lupe Ramirez, Teresa Ruiz and Eleanor Felix and his son, Octavio. Ernest is survived by his wife, Gabriela, his children; Ernesto, Jr., Fernando, David, Rebecca (Orlando Franco), Veronica (Marty McDonough), and his grandchildren; Jessica, Lauren, Mary, Christian, Alexis and Jackson. Due to COVID-19 restrictions funeral services will be private. We plan on a memorial to honor our father when restrictions are lifted. To all of our family and friends, we thank you for all the love and support you showed our father over the years and have extended to us during this difficult time. We are forever grateful and to our Dad, we do not have words to express the respect and gratitude we have for you. We love you with all our hearts and will carry on your legacy; with love, honesty and respect.
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Published in Palos Verdes Peninsula News on May 14, 2020.