Full Name: Gloria Urriola Fundis
Birth Name: Gloria Manuela Urriola
Birth Date: 04/18/1935
City: Battle Mountain, Lander County
Country: United States
Date Of Death: 12/24/2019
City: Reno, Washoe County
Country: United States
Celebration of Life on January 19, 2020
Eulogy given by John V. Fundis:
Thank you everyone for coming together today to honor, remember and celebrate the life of my mom, Gloria, who left us all on Christmas Eve. It is truly heartwarming to have you all here.
As you know, Mom was an incredibly special person. As a mother, she checked all the boxes. She was loving, caring, fun, and most of all always there for me and my sisters, Jane, and Kay. Mom had a wonderful sense of humor, and as children growing up, we always knew she would make life fun. At Christmas time we would often go to the mountains to hunt for Christmas trees. We knew Mom would make sure we had dry socks for cold feet, good food to eat, and, of course, plenty of hot chocolate. It certainly made the fun in the mountain snow and the hunt for the special tree an amazing adventure.
And of course, at Christmas, we always knew our stockings would be full of lots of goodies and the always present new bookmark to start the New Year. She was a teacher after all. One year when Santa overslept, Mom made us stay in our rooms an extra 15 minutes before attacking the Christmas presents. Once Santa was ready, we heard the jingle of bells and Mom announced that she just saw Santa leave with his reindeer. We knew what happened, but her charade made it all the more fun.
In the summers we would go to Rye Patch Dam. Mom wasn’t much of a swimmer, but that did not stop her from making sure we all went and had a good time. And just like in winter, Mom knew what to bring. Plenty of towels, drinks, and her famous Rye Patch beans. To this day I don’t know how she made those beans, but my stomach still growls just thinking of those times.
Mom didn’t limit her caring to just her family. She had a big heart which she shared with the world. I can’t tell you all how many times while growing up, the phone would ring in the evening, and it would be a call for Mom. The person calling didn’t speak English and would ask in Spanish if she was home. She took every call and would help the caller with whatever the problem required. Interpreting was not uncommon for Mom, whether it be at school, the Post Office, court, or with doctors.
I remember one time when one of Mom’s friends, who did not speak English, called because a family member had to be in court the next day. Of course, Mom said she would be there. I asked her why the court didn’t have an interpreter and she said the court did, but the family wanted her there. They wanted her because they knew Mom would make sure every word was interpreted honestly and with their interests in mind. Another special time she put on her interpreter hat was when she and Dad went with a Spanish-speaking family to the Shriner’s hospital in San Francisco so the family’s daughter could receive medical care. Mom stayed there the whole time to make sure the family understood everything that was being said and would be done to make a better life for their child. I know her acts of kindness were appreciated because at Christmas time she was asked to join in making tamales for the holidays.
Mom’s sense of humor never left her. When my children were young, about 6 and 3, my parents came to visit us. They stayed at the Embassy Suites across the street from Del Frisco’s Steakhouse, but that is a different story. Anyway, this Embassy Suites kept swans in the atrium in a fountain. I arrived with kids in tow to pick up the grandparents, but we first stopped so the kids could see the swans. As we were looking at the swans, a loud honk erupted from above. Of course, we all looked up and there was Grandma leaning over the balcony sending out honks to the grandkids below. Both kids beamed with joy and laughed at their silly Grandma. As was her nature, Mom always had a way to make people and loved ones laugh. Even as she aged and life got tougher, Mom still kept that sense of humor. She was always ready to laugh or joke about some observation she made. I think it was something she was just born with, and she kept it forever.
Jane, Kay and I were all blessed to be with Mom on Christmas Eve and say our goodbyes, but after that things moved on. I went back to Dallas and have interacted with friends and co-workers since then, and all have given hugs and words of condolence. Many knew of Mom’s health, her age, and many said that it was just her time. I suppose that is true, as she lived a life that would make most people jealous. But even though it may have been her time, it was not mine. I miss her with all my heart. That is why I am thankful to see all of you here today to celebrate the end of a great life and, hopefully, move forward and live the rest of our lives as honestly, lovingly and with as much fun as Mom would have wanted.
Tribute by Pat Ferraro Klos Miss Urriola “Donde esta el teatro?” I said to our Spanish teacher over the phone. “The opera? Why are you asking me about the opera? Aren’t you going fishing in Mexico?” Everyone practiced on Miss Urriola, Our new Spanish Basque teacher from Battle Mountain. In the night she translated For new mothers at Pershing General Hospital. At the police station, she pleaded For old sheepherders who ran the solo stoplight. Miss Urriola at twenty-four was a necessity. As Mrs. Fundis at fifty-four, she’s an institution. She set up a school for wives of Mexican garlic pickers. “They, too, have a right to know.”