ROSE B. HERMIDA
Rosa Besa was born on August 22, 1929 in Dinaguig, Panay, Capiz, Philippines. Her parents were Zacarias Besa and Faustina Belo. She was the second child of seven siblings (Ruben, Rosa, Simon, Julia, Leticia, Graciano, and Paulina), and was the oldest girl. She completed an elementary school education before World War II interrupted her schooling. During her early teen years, she and her brother, Simon, were given the responsibility of helping support the family by making baskets out of nipa leaves. These baskets were sold at the local market...
ROSE B. HERMIDA
Rosa Besa was born on August 22, 1929 in Dinaguig, Panay, Capiz, Philippines. Her parents were Zacarias Besa and Faustina Belo. She was the second child of seven siblings (Ruben, Rosa, Simon, Julia, Leticia, Graciano, and Paulina), and was the oldest girl. She completed an elementary school education before World War II interrupted her schooling. During her early teen years, she and her brother, Simon, were given the responsibility of helping support the family by making baskets out of nipa leaves. These baskets were sold at the local market to help buy food for the family.
Rosa's mother died after giving birth to Paulina. So in 1945 after the War, her father moved his entire family to Manila to stay with different relatives. In Manila, she lived with and worked for a couple of uncles (Mamerto Besa and Jose Roxas), working in a restaurant and later as a house maid. In 1948, another uncle, Simon Besa, introduced her to an American sailor, Jesus Hermida, who he knew from Sangley Point in Cavite City. Within weeks, Rosa and Jesus were married and settled in Cavite City. Shortly after settling in Cavite City, Rosa's three sisters came to live with her and her new husband.
One year after their wedding, Rosa and Jesus started their family. By their sixth year of marriage, they had completed their family. They had Leonora (Lenora), Lenawee, Teodoro (Ted), and Lillian. When Lenawee was around two years old, she fell from the top of some stairs and contracted polio from the fall. (After retiring from the U. S. Navy, Jesus went to college with the help of his VA benefits.) So in 1960 after he received his college degree from Far Eastern University in Manila, he decided to move his family to the United States so that Lenawee could get life-changing surgeries to help her walk. (A planned stay of a couple of years in America turned into a permanent stay of 56 years for Rosa and her children.)
The Hermida family arrived in the United States on October 31, 1960 in San Francisco, California. After about a month in San Francisco, Jesus decided to move his family south to San Diego, where the weather was much warmer. Soon after, Lenawee received her life-changing surgeries which eventually helped her walk with the aid of leg braces. After living in a one-bedroom house for the first year, the family bought a three-bedroom house in National City, where Rosa lived for the next 55 years of her life.
And for the next 30 years or so, Jesus and Rosa became very active members of many Filipino organizations in San Diego County. They helped start and/or became officers of many organizations. They were active in the Filipino Association of National City, The Bicol Club, The Visayan Club, COPAO, and Fleet Reserve Association (Branch No. 84), just to name a few. Rosa spent many weekends helping cook for these clubs meetings, as well as attending many of their fundraising and social functions.
In the mid-1960s, Rosa went to work to help her husband with family expenses, not a common move made by women in that time. This marked the start of her professional career, working as a seamstress for Ratner's Corporation sewing men's suits. She worked for Ratner's for about 15 years, first at the Downtown, San Diego location and later at the Chula Vista location.
She "retired" early in the late 1970s to help raise her granddaughter, Melanie-Lenawee's daughter. This became her second and most important "career," being Lola (Grandma) to Joshua, Melanie, Micah, Luke, Christian, and Austin. It was also during this period that she decided to become an American Citizen. When she passed her citizenship test, she legally changed her name from "Rosa" to "Rose"!
On June 21, 1997, Jesus Hermida died after a long illness. For several years before his death, Rose's life was consumed with providing care for her husband ("'til death do us part"). After the death of her husband, she was able to start to travel more--going back to the Philippines, Washington, D.C., Canada, and more. During Rose's last 10 years, she began to slow down. With the help of a couple "friends," she found a new passion closer to home--gambling on the slot machines at all the local Indian casinos. According to her, the casino gave her an excuse to leave her house, get a free bus ride, socialize, and enjoy the air conditioning in the casino.
During the first several months of 2016, Rose's health began to decline quickly. She went numerous times to the Emergency Room of the U. S. Naval Hospital/Balboa, complaining of headaches, stomachaches, and/or backaches. By mid-April, she was diagnosed with cancer of the uterus, which had spread to her lungs. The prognosis was for 5 months or less. She was immediately put under hospice care. The five months were challenging times not only for Rose, but also for her children and her other caregivers. But these "challenges" became special moments for everyone!
On Friday, September 9, 2016, around 5:50 p.m. in the home of her son, Ted, Rose B. Hermida took her last breath in front of a close friend and with Ted a few feet away. She passed away very peacefully. Rose leaves behind her four children and their spouses, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Rest In Peace, Mom.