Ernest "Ernie" Mata
1935 - 2020
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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.
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MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
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23 entries
May 24, 2020
Dad,
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
Becky
Rebecca Franco
Daughter
May 22, 2020
I am so lucky to call you my father, and mom, my mother. Rest In Peace, Dad. You and mom gave us our greatest gift, our family. Love you forever, your daughter, Veronica
Veronica Mata
Daughter
May 22, 2020
Rest in peace, Ernie. My sincere condolences to his family and many friends.
Mike Wilson
May 22, 2020
Sorry to hear! Condolences to the Mata family during this time.
RIP Mr. Mata
Saxon Forever!
Jessilyn Dumapias Carver
Acquaintance
May 21, 2020
So sorry to hear of Ernie's passing. He was a wonderful person and our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
Alan and Judy Emerson
Friend
May 19, 2020
So sorry for your loss. Our condolences to the entire Mata family!
Garnica family
Friend
May 18, 2020
Im sorry. What a great man and a wonderful life he lived!!
Scott Herman
Friend
May 18, 2020
Grandpa, I love you so much! You were always there for me when I needed it most. You will always be a part of my heart. I love you!! Your grandson, Jackson
Jackson Mata
Grandchild
May 18, 2020
May your hearts be filled with wonderful memories of wonderful times together as you celebrate a life well lived. Many great times with you and your family over so many years. Rest in Peace Big Man!!
Rick Lococo
Friend
May 17, 2020
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.. he will be very missed ❤
Cathy sanders
Friend
May 17, 2020
Sorry for the loss of Mr Ernie Mata long time friend of the Camou Family RIH
Corrina Camou-Zuniga
Friend
May 17, 2020
I loved him! I used to always tell him how much he reminded me of my own father. My fathers, fathers name was also Jesus. He couldve been my uncle. He was a hard working loving father just like mine! I will miss him.
Anthony
Friend
May 15, 2020
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May 15, 2020
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May 15, 2020
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a loved one
May 15, 2020
hat a beautiful legacy you leave behind. My prayers are with all of you at this time.
Cilvia
Acquaintance
May 15, 2020
Our hearts broke when we heard the news. We are so sorry for your loss. We have lost a great person, please know youre in our hearts and our prayers. He was always so kind and loving. He will truly be missed. Sending all our love to my aunt Gabriela and family. ❤
Denise
Family
May 14, 2020
Ill miss you Grandpa. You were a great hardworking and kind-hearted man, that I and anyone can look up to always. I have many fond memories of times on the farm, the shop, or just riding around in your car. I love you grandpa. Rest In Peace.
Christian
Grandchild
May 14, 2020
I am so sorry for your loss. Until you can be together again he'll be watching over all of you. God bless your family.
Sue Enoch
May 14, 2020
i love you grandpa, ill never forget the days when you would pick me up from montessori with a bag of doritos and a fresh bottle (even though everyone would get mad at you for still letting me drink out of a bottle). ill cherish those days forever. i love you so much grandpa. ill spend the rest of my life missing and loving you. may your beautiful soul rest in peace.
alexis
Grandchild
May 14, 2020
David and Family, I was sorry to read this notice today but was so inspired to read of your dad's life. What a legacy of love and hard work he leaves. I know that all of us who volunteer at the I &R desk or work in the gift shop at the hospital have always recognized the quality and beauty of the arrangements which have come from the Mata family, a testimony to his high standards
Pat Marlowe
Friend
May 14, 2020
Dad, not a day passes by that you don't cross my mind. Not all departed when you left our earth behind. In my heart there is a place that only you can hold. Filled with loving memories more priceless than gold. I know you still hear me Dad so please know this is true that everything I am today is all because of YOU. Love you Dad!!
Fernando Mata
Son
May 14, 2020
Dad, not a day passes by, that you don't cross my mind. Not all of you departed when you left our earth behind. In my heart there is a place only you can hold. Filled with loving memories more priceless than gold. I know you still hear me Dad so please know this is true that everything I am today is all because of YOU. I love you Dad!
Fernando Mata
Son
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