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Ramona Whitfield (nee Marquez)
On a rainy February day in 1927, in the city of Los Angeles, Ramona was born to her parents Jose and Sarah Marquez. Ramona was the baby of her family. Because one of her young sisters pronounced "baby" as "vivi", the affectionate nickname stuck. Vivi would be the name her friends and family called her from that time on.
Ramona grew up and enjoyed her childhood in LA's "Rose Hill" neighborhood. She recalled these years as some of the happiest of her life. This time of her life was also during the depression. Like many struggling to find work she traveled with her family through the agricultural areas of California harvesting walnuts, almonds, and apricots from orchards throughout the state.
Ramona attended Glen Alta and Huntington Drive grammar schools where she excelled in gymnastics and track. She would always boast that she could outrun all the boys. Her favorite activity was balancing on the performing bar on the playground. She then went on to attend Abraham Lincoln High School. It was at that time, as a teenager, she saw two of her brothers go off to World War II. She was thankful and proud when they returned home safely. Also in her teens, she worked. Her jobs included a waitress at Woolworths Cafe Counter and as a mail delivery girl for Southern Pacific Railroad. For this job she learned how to ride a bike for the first time.
Ramona had a beautiful singing voice. She loved to sing with her sisters; their harmony together sounded like the voices of angels. She sang at USO shows, and also performed at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. When performing she would also yodel and play the harmonica.
Ramona was a raven-haired, beautiful, young woman and had many suitors. At the age of 20, she met and married Walter Whitfield Jr., a tall, handsome, young man from the state of Arkansas. They had four children together. Eventually her family grew to include many grandchildren and great-grandchildren all who knew her as Nana.
Ramona was a happy and fun-loving person. She conducted herself with grace, style, dignity and never had a bad thing to say about anyone. That said, she was also a prankster. One of her favorite days of the year was April Fool's Day, when she took delight in fooling members of her family.
In her later years, Ramona developed hobbies like crocheting, cake decorating and, as an avid reader, joined a book club. Nothing was more important to her, however, than her family. It was always her number one priority. She was a proud matriarch and would defend her family with the heart of a lion.
In the late 1980s Ramona left Los Angeles, the city that she loved so much, and moved with her sister, mother and daughter to Alta Loma, California, where she lived, continuing to nurture her family, until her passing.
Ramona was preceded in death by her mother, Sara Marquez, her father, Jose Marquez, her husband Walter, and her siblings Pasqual (Keyo), Josephine, Lupe, Mary, Jesus, and Manuel.
She is survived by her children Robert, Vivian, Yvonne, and Christine, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.
The love and care she gave will remain in the hearts of all who ever knew her.