Durango resident Maura G. Mallari died Friday, March 8, 2013, at Four Corners Health Care Center in Durango. She was 100.
Mrs. Mallari was born to Monico and Victoria Gomez on Nov. 29, 1912, in Angeles City, Philippines. She was an only child.
On June 8, 1930, she married Eliseo V. Mallari at Fort Stotsenberg, Philippines.
“Maura was a remarkable lady who overcame extreme adversities during World War II in the Philippines,” her family said, “with an absentee husband who fought in Bataan and served with the 26th Cavalry U.S. Army, later to be captured and walk the famous Bataan Death March. He was one of only a few who escaped.”
The Mallari family was living at Camp O’Dell when the Japanese attacked, her son Jerry Mallari said, and hid in the hills from the bombing. The soldiers from Fort Stotsenberg, where her husband was stationed, were marched by the ruins of the former camp.
“She would take half our daily rice ration and cook it early in the morning,” he said, “then wrap it in banana leaves and go stand by the road watching the men go by, hoping for a glimpse of her husband. The Japanese would beat her with bamboo rods until she knelt before them.”
Mrs. Mallari’s husband was a decorated soldier, who completed a 30-year career with the Army in 1958 with the rank of captain. In June 1954, Mrs. Mallari immigrated to the U.S. with her children from her birth country, the Philippines.
“It was Maura’s faith in God and her tenacity and dream to bring all 10 of her children to America so that they could receive the proper education only the U.S. could provide,” her family said. As a result, almost all of Mrs. Mallari’s children have degrees, including as a medical doctor, nurse-anaesthesologist, bacteriologist, certified public accountant and dental technologist.
She worked for 30 years for Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., where she decorated cakes and created elegant garnishes for salads. She retired twice from the company, helping her children and grandchildren with tuition so they could obtain their degrees.
Mrs. Mallari had numerous talents, supplementing her income by sewing dresses for weddings. She would see a photo or dress in a store and make her own patterns for the dresses. Mrs. Mallari also prepared food for parties.
She enjoyed gardening and traveling to other countries, twice to Russia, Germany, France and England as well as visiting relatives in the Philippines.
In 1995, the Mallaris sold their home in Buena Park, and went to live with their eldest son, Ely, who cared for them. In 2006, Mrs. Mallari came to Durango, where her son Jerry could care for her. She had lived at Four Corners Health Care Center for the last six years.
Mrs. Mallari was preceded in death by her husband of 66 years, Eliseo V. Mallari, in June 1996; and daughter Elvira Mallari.
She is survived by her children Jerry Mallari and Jody Keller, both of Durango, Ely Mallari of Austin, Texas, Lydia Mallari of Atlanta, Miriam Gottlieb of Marina Del Rey, Calif., Will Mallari of Burnet, Texas, Clint Mallari of Eagle, Idaho, Monico Mallari of San Jose, Calif., and Bon Mallari of Las Vegas; 16 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.
A graveside service will be held at the plot next to her husband at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas, at a later date.