Maria dos Santos Soares Rafael – wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend – passed away peacefully in her sleep on Friday, February 23, 2018 in her home. She was 92.
Maria dos Santos was born December 23 1925, in Porto Judeu, on the island of Terceira, Azores, Portugal. On February 10, 1949, she married the love of her life, Eduardo Rafael. On April 9, 1958, they emigrated from the Azores to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. On April 28, 1968, they immigrated to the United States, settling in Arcata until her death.
Maria dos Santos’ most prideful accomplishment was helping to raise her siblings as the eldest daughter of a family of eleven. It became her life mission to ensure that her siblings were taken care of, a responsibility that she gladly took on until she passed. She was a dedicated mother and wife, but above all, her role as a grandmother – “second mother” – was most gratifying. Regardless of distance, her grandchildren always made sure that they stayed in daily contact and she looked forward to phone calls and frequent visits.
You could always count on seeing her at the sewing machine in the front window. She was an accomplished seamstress and loved to crochet and knit. She was a passionate homemaker and everyone who entered her house was treated to a homemade meal that was made with love. At 92 years of age, Maria dos Santos was proud to keep an immaculate home.
Maria dos Santos will be remembered for her quick wit and uncanny ability for story telling and impressions. She always had everyone on the edge of their seats with laughter and waiting for the next story. Every evening her daughter, her brother Antonio and sister Natalia would get together for coffee and great conversations.
Maria dos Santos was filled with gratitude for the life that she was blessed with and shared her blessings through thoughtful gestures and considerate nature. She was an active parishioner at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and enjoyed attending the yearly Portuguese celebrations.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Jose and Amelia, her sister Maria Jose, brother Albino, brother-in-laws Bob Murphy and Arthur Machado Sr., sister-in-laws Maria Madalena Homem and Judy Lourenco.
She is survived by her children, Edu and Santa; grandchildren Brian and Adriana; son-in-law Ron Halverson; siblings Gabriela, Jose and Gloria, Fernando and Jorlanda, Durvalina, Antonio, Natalia, Avelino and Ana, David and Ana and Joao De Matos.
A visitation will be held on Thursday, March 1 from 4 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., when the recitation of the rosary will be lead by Fr. Andrew Pacheco at Paul’s Chapel. A mass of Christian burial will be lead by Fr. Pacheco on Friday March 2 at 10 a.m. at St Mary’s Catholic Church, with the interment immediately following at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery. Pallbearers are David De Matos, Jorge Lourenco, Frank Homem, Rich Homem, Joe Homem Jr., Larry Murphy, Arthur Machado, Anthony Lourenco, Carlos Lourenco and Frank Oliveira.