Maria Neri Estrada Santos was born in Alotenango, Guatemala on November 29, 1934 to parents Maria Francisca Estrada and Andres Castellans. Maria enjoyed her childhood in Alotenango, growing up with her brothers Miguel Angel, Rogelio, Armando, and sister Naty Duran. As a child she rode a horse to school, and she also helped run the family grocery store. By the age of 17, both of her parents had passed away.
A loving sister, Maria helped take care of her nephew Frank Duran. And in 1957, she met, fell in love with, and married Ernesto Barillas. They had two daughters, Mirna Lucretia Barillas (December 6, 1958) and Mirta Annabella Barillas Cordova (December 2, 1959). Then, she remarried, to Flabio Merida, and had a beautiful little girl, Erica Merida Perez (July 31, 1967). She lived a simple and humble life. Later in life she decided to follow her sister Natividad Duran to the United States and moved to San Leandro, CA, where she worked as a housekeeper and also cooked at St. Joseph’s Convalescent Hospital for 17 years. On her off time she would often go dancing, which brought her great joy. She had many great qualities. She was always responsible, caring, considerate, quiet, humble, and very witty (she always had a quick comeback). She was also a great cook, and loved to go shopping at her favorite stores, Macy’s and JC Penny’s, where she would get lost in the clothing racks. She was always dressed very well.
Her daughter Anna played cupid and introduced her to a co-worker, Ray Santos, in 1991, and the two fell in love and married on October 2, 2003. They retired to Ripon, CA, and the couple was known to travel and go to family parties. They all spent a lot of time in Ripon for all the holidays, watched movies, ate popcorn, went shopping, and made lots of memories.
In 2016 Ray had health issues and Anna moved in to take care of Ray and Maria. On December 28, 2016 Ray went home to be with the Lord. Maria moved in with her daughter Erica and her family in Merced, CA. Erica, Frank, and family took excellent care of Maria. Erica took care of her mother with love, compassion, tenderness, patience and strength. Anna and Erica both honored their mother onto the Lord. Son-in-law Frank Perez was very supportive. He cooker, took her to dialysis twice a week, and made sure all her needs were met.
When the Lord called Maria home on November 30, 2018 at 5:40 PM, both of her daughters were by her side holding her hand.
She was always there for the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She loved to dance – just the sound of Marimba and she would instantly put her hands up and shrug her shoulders up and down. Her favorite foods and drinks were black beans, tortillas, chili, Jumbo Jack, egg fu yung, and hot tea. Her favorite shows were King of Queens and Judge Judy.
Maria is survived by her daughters Erica Ivonne Merida and Annabella Barillas Cordova; grandchildren Ramon Alicea, Frankie Alicea, Jose Middleton, Giovanni Perez, and Angel Perez; and great grandchildren Maliyah, Valencia, Bella, Andrew, Alyssa, Anthony, Genny, Callen and Noah. She was preceded in death by her husbands, Raymond J. Santos and Ernesto Barillas, and her daughter Mirna L. Barillas.
We want to thank her caregiver, Jessica Schindler-Washman – she also took wonderful care of Maria. She will be greatly missed.
Visitation will be on Friday, December 7, 2018 beginning at 11:00 A.M. A Vigil service will begin at 11:45 A.M. Funeral Liturgy will begin at 12:00 P.M. all at St. Felicitas Catholic Church 1662 Manor Blvd, San Leandro, CA 94579.
Please join the family immediately following the services at St. Felicitas Catholic Church, for a Celebration of Her Life and Repass that will begin at 1:30 P.M. at New Hope Christian Fellowship Church 22110 Montgomery St, Hayward, CA 94541