February 21, 1925 - May 17, 2019
Mary Clarida Acorda Visaya was born on February 21, 1925 on the sugar cane plantation of Kealia, Kawaihau on the island of Kauai. She was raised by her loving parents Marciana Suguitan Rafanan (Ma) and Andres Rafanan (Pa). She was blessed to have the love of her father Laureto Acorda and his children half sister Flora and half brother Emilio Acorda. Mary grew up with her brother Ricardo (Ricky) Rafanan and hanai brother Joseph (Joe) Tadifa. Pa (Andres) worked on the sugar cane plantation and on occasion fished for food. Ma (Marciana) cleaned houses and washed clothes for the single men on the plantation. Ma also made Filipino desserts which Mary took to sell at the chicken fights. During her teens, Mary was a beauty queen (candida). Not only did she have good looks, she had the voice of an angel. She sang on a Filipino radio station and ultimately made a record with her brother Ricky. Even in her golden years, Mary enjoyed singing. In the comfort of her home, she sang songs like Pamuliwaten, Dahil Sayo, Ikaw, You are my sunshine, etc. During World War II, Mary moved with her family to Lapahoehoe, Hawaii (Big Island). After Pearl Harbor was attacked, all the Hawaiian Islands (U.S. territory at the time) were placed under martial law. The residents were under the strict dictatorship of the U.S. military. It was a frightening time when residents had to blacken their windows with thick black curtains. Curfews were enforced so the enemy wouldn't shoot at them. Mary had to drop out of high school and work to help with family expenses. But her hardship didn't prevent her from getting a high school diploma. Years later, married with four young children at that time, she tirelessly went to school at night to earn a high school diploma. In 1964, Mary became a proud graduate of Farrington High School. After the war, Mary and her family moved to Oahu. She got a civil service job at Ford Island. It was an exciting time for Mary. She was a young lady eager to learn new things. On November 1, 1956 Mary married her soulmate Manuel Visaya. Although they were complete opposites they stayed together in sickness and in health. Mary and Manuel loved and cherished each other for almost 58 years, up until Manuel passed away on October 7, 2014. During her marriage to Manuel, she worked to supplement the family income. She worked as a bookkeeper in downtown and at Oahu Plumbing. She also worked as a sales clerk, cashier, and kitchen helper. She worked at Quality Bakery, Muraoka's, Ritz, Woolworth's, Palace Saimin, Jumbo's, Gibson's and Kenny's Delicatessen. Of these businesses, only Palace Saimin remains in operation. Mary also managed the finances. She never depended on sales. She would buy what was needed. She also bought whatever the family wanted for dinner. She knew exactly how to balance and stay on budget. Mary's other talents included sewing and crocheting. She sewed Aloha shirts for Dad and dresses for her daughters. Occasionally, she would sew clothes for other people. She crocheted doilies, bed covers, table runners, etc. She would sit in front of the television and crochet non stop. It was a relaxing and fulfilling hobby she enjoyed. Mary's adventures started with "The Bus." She took the bus to go shopping and to have breakfast or lunch with her friends at Ala Moana and Downtown. She even went around the island with her friend on the bus. If she had a fight with Dad, she was off on "The Bus." Mary was a kind, gentle caring humble, beautiful, stunning and amazing woman that everyone couldn't help fall in love with. People's comments include: "Your Mom is so nice!" "Your Mom is cute!" "Your Mom is sweet." Even when she was given a compliment of being pretty, she would adamantly say, "No! No! No!" She touched everyone that knew her. She could never physically harm anyone. She was terrified of lizards, spiders and bugs. But this gentle woman, ironically, could slaughter a chicken without hesitation. (Survival skills from life on the plantation). Mary's greatest achievement was just being "MOM." She couldn't drive but she took the cab to take her daughter's to the doctor. She enjoyed going out for lunch with her daughters. She was an amazing cook. She cooked the most delicious curry beef stew, pig's feet soup, chicken nishime, beef Lauya soup, spaghetti, hamburger steak, butterfish soup, etc. She even made her own longanisa, Filipino sausage. Mary had six daughters, Jean, Gloria, Marilyn, Adela (June), Beverly and Susan. Sadly her two youngest daughters, Beverly and Susan, passed away. Beverly was a bright 2 year old who knew her alphabets and could speak well, She knew exactly what she wanted to eat and told you. Susan was a "special" child who passed away at 8 years old. She was Mom's fierce protector. She would scold Dad whenever he argued with Mom. She was the family's safety monitor. She made sure everyone's car door was locked. Jean was Mary's eldest daughter and the most fluent in Ilocano. Sometimes Mary found it comforting to be able to converse in Ilocano (instead of English) with Jean. Jean was also the most adventurous daughter and encouraged Mom to try new restaurants. Mary and Jean enjoyed having lunch at different restaurants in California and in Hawaii. Once, Jean and her sons, James and Andre, took Mom around the island. Mom treated all of them to a scrumptious lunch at the Crouching Lion Inn. Jean gave Mom her first grandchildren, twin boys, Michael and Aaron. But sadly the twins passed away shortly after birth. They were the only known twins in the family.. Gloria was Mary's second eldest daughter (first with Manuel and Mary Visaya). Mary depended on Gloria for a variety of things, like to babysit the younger girls or chauffeur Mom and Dad to night events. For a short time, Gloria was Mom's daytime caregiver. One day Gloria was bathing Mom; Mom said, "Thank you for taking care of me but make sure you take care of your husband too." Mary was always mindful of others even in her declining health. Mary had a very strict upbringing. The only way that Mary was allowed to go on a date was if her mother came with Mary as a chaperone. Imagine Mary with her date and her mother in the back seat. She vowed that when she had her own family, and if she had daughters, she would be more understanding. She kept her word. She really was an understanding Mom! One late night, Mary stayed up to open the patio door for Gloria to sneak back into the house after a date. Unknowingly, that date would become Mary's future son-in-law. On August 23,1980, Gloria married Damien Reynon. Mary bonded with Damien. Even though Mary never had a son, Damien was as close to her son as could be. They had a special relationship and even shared private jokes. Just two months before Mary passed away, Damien passed away on March 12, 2019. Mary's third eldest daughter was Marilyn, her little angel. She was the one that ultimately stayed with Mom night and day, throughout her declining years. Marilyn's constant smile and her infectious laughter was undeniably Mary's best medicine. Marilyn's crazy laughter just made Mom happy. Yet Marilyn could be serious when she had to be. After a hard day at work, Marilyn changed Mom's diaper nightly and even on weekends. When Marilyn was in the third grade, she was selected to be an angel for the school play. Mary spent days sewing the perfect angel costume for Marilyn. Mary even sewed costumes for Marilyn's two friends. Mary also stayed up til 3am to help Marilyn fry lumpias for her office (when Marilyn was working). Adela (June) was Mary's youngest surviving daughter. Mary worried about June when she married and moved to San Jose with her family. Mom would call June often and talk for hours. If Mom knew June was home alone with her children at night, she'd stay on the phone from evening to early morning. Mom's voice gave June a sense of comfort, joy and safety. Mom would also bring special treats from Hawaii whenever she visited June in San Jose. When June visited Mom, in her declining health, June would dance the hula and sing for Mom. They would always pray the Lord's Prayer together. Mary was blessed to have people who loved and cared for her. Her grandson, Jeremy (sometimes with Angela's assistance) would carry his Grandma from the car, up two flights of steps and into her bed. Another grandson, Damien (Boo) and Lisa cheered Grandma up with potted roses. Grandson, Andre, made a birthday video for his Grandma. James would pick up ice cream for Grandma at 7-Eleven. Mary's grandson, Brandon, and granddaughter, Kim, with Ronnell doted on their Grandma and took her out to eat at special restaurants whenever she visited San Jose. Mary had loving and caring caregivers who went beyond their duties; especially Leilani Hermoso, Vio Ann Domingo, Rhea Nabua and Reyna Pascua. Mary was a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her life was love and labor. She did her best for all of her family. On May 17, 2019, Mary passed away peacefully into the night with her daughters by her bedside in her home. She lived a long and full life at age 94. She will be missed and will be forever in our hearts❣ "God has you in His arms, We have you in Our hearts." Mary is survived by her daughters, Jean Lagua, Gloria Reynon, Marilyn and Adela (June) Visaya; grandchildren, James and Andre Lagua, Kimberly (Kym) Torres (Ronnell), Brandon Gonzales, Damien (Boo) Reynon II (Lisa) and Jeremy Reynon (Angela); great-grandchildren, Kalea-Lani, Micah, Isaiah, Noah and Caleb Torres, Colin and Kainoa Reynon; step-children, Mildred Toledo, Eloy Visaya and Peter Dumayag and their families; half-sister, Flora Acorda; hanai brother, Joseph (Joe) Tadifa; sisters-in-law, Florence Rafanan and Presentacion Acorda. Mary is predeceased by her husband, Manuel Visaya; daughters, Beverly and Susan Visaya; brother, Ricardo (Ricky) Rafanan; half-brother, Emilio Acorda; sons-in-law, Michael Lagua, Damien Reynon; step-daughter, Victoria Dumayag; grandchildren, twins Michael and Aaron Lagua. A celebration of life and wake service for Mary will be held at Diamond Head Mortuary on Friday, July 12, 2019; visitation from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. Mary's funeral service will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2019 at St. Philomena Catholic Church; visitation from 9:30 - 10:00 a.m., eulogy at 10:00 a.m., Mass to begin at 10:30 a.m., with entombment service to follow 12:30 p.m. at Diamond Head Memorial Park.
Mary Clarida Acorda Visaya was born on February 21, 1925 on the sugar cane plantation of Kealia, Kawaihau on the island of Kauai. She was raised by her loving parents Marciana Suguitan Rafanan (Ma) and Andres Rafanan (Pa). She was blessed to... View Obituary & Service Information
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