Caridad Gotoyco Fontamillas (affectionately known to many as Cari, Butter, Lalo, and Nana), was a loving mother of four, devoted wife, grandmother/great grandmother, sister, and friend. There was no one with more courage, as she fought cancer for a second time with superhuman strength. She was 80 years old.
She was born on October 7, 1942 to Juan and Cecilia Cesora Gotoyco at the onset of World War II, both teachers who had a deep affection for music, good food, and their four beautiful daughters. Cari was the third child of four girls and grew up by the seaside with her loving but strict parents. Her parents taught her the importance of education and the values she would live by for the rest of her life. Her name’s literal translation is charity in Spanish and she lived true to the name, she always found ways to give back, even if she didn’t have a lot for herself. A friend of hers recollected their first meeting recently, when they met at Norris over 20 years ago. She too was a single mom and they would talk about their hopes and dreams for their kids together. Cari knew she was struggling to make ends meet so she would put cash in an envelope anonymously, but this friend always knew the money was from my mom.
If you knew her, you also knew how she loved telling stories. She would often tell us about her childhood. She loved regaling us with stories about climbing coconut trees, eating fresh seafood, crabbing, swimming on her island’s clear blue waters but most of all, she loved telling us she was the most dutiful daughter. She eventually pursued a degree in Business Administration even though she always wanted to be a nurse.
Cari had four children after marrying Virgilio Fontamillas on February 02, 1967 - Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and John. Cari was a dreamer and a doer. She had a vision to bring more opportunities to her family and made that happen in Los Angeles, CA. Like many, she pursued the "American Dream," and if not for her courage and tenacity - her children and grandchildren would not be where they are today.
Cari was a champion amongst moms, she never missed any of John's football games. She was the loudest and scariest screamer on the bleachers, so scary that no one would sit within 5 feet of her because she was so loud. We can still hear her screaming, "Get HIM!" She was always present and always there for her family and friends. She donated to every organization she thought was making a difference in someone’s life who was less fortunate. She gave to her friends who needed a helping hand.
Like anyone else’s life, there were ups and downs, battling cancer the first time in 1991. She was preceded in death by her loving husband, in 1989, and her eldest son, Jesus in 2021, a painful loss no mother should ever have to endure. Despite the challenges earlier in life, she marched on bravely, to ensure her kids received the college education that was so much a part of her own dream. Her survival gave her a new lease on life, and she finally achieved that lifelong dream of becoming a nurse - taking night classes and working two jobs to ensure she met her children's needs as a single mom. She never complained; she forged ahead with a smile. She was relentless and faced life with zero fear, very much the same way she faced death.
She loved to travel - some of her favorite trips were to Spain, Italy, and Hawaii in recent years. We cannot forget her love of sneaking off to Vegas with her friends. She was a doting grandmother & great grandmother and loved each of her babies completely, even when they were mischievous. She spent her retirement years bouncing from house to house, helping care for her grandchildren, spending some time in NYC and taking millions of photos along the way. Cari enjoyed loud celebrations, she thought the house came to life when she could hear people having fun. Whenever friends came over in high school, she would make sure everyone had enough to eat. She loved the activity in a house - she had that wisdom of knowing that life changes and to enjoy those moments. Even in her final days, she asked the people that came to visit her to enjoy one last poker night, like the family often did at gatherings. She participated via Facetime since she was no longer mobile enough to participate, she managed to scream into the call to say: Shuffle up and Deal!
Cari is now home with our Heavenly Father and her loved ones. She will be dearly missed and forever in all of our hearts. I hope all of you taking the time to read this, will use this moment as a source of inspiration - live like each day is your last, treasure the moments you have with the people you care about, and make sure to make them count. Above all, love like it's the only thing that tmatters. Last but not least, shuffle up and deal.
Arrangements are under the care of Forest Lawn, Glendale, CA. This is the link to the funeral service: https://forestlawn.
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