Maria da Conceicao Sousa Paiva lived her life by many mottos - one of her favorite’s translates to “It will be God’s will”. It was God’s will and her time on Monday April 26, 2021 at the age of 89, Conceicao passed with her children by her side. Maria da Conceicao was born November 30, 1931 in Ribeira Funda, Sao Miguel, Acores to Antonio Vitorino de Sousa and Patrocinia da Ponte. She was one of twelve children, Manuel, Nicolina, Altina, Natalina, Vitorino, Jose, Patrocinia, Antonio, stillborn baby (all deceased) and Fernando and Humberto who currently reside in Ontario, Canada. At the age of three, Conceicao’s mother passed during childbirth; she and other siblings were sent to live with Godparents. She was raised by her Godmother, Maria Conceicao Miranda, in Ribeira Grande. Despite her separation at a very young age, Conceicao kept in close contact with all of her siblings right up until the end of life.
While growing up with her Godmother in Riberia Grande, she met the love of her life, Nicolau Manuel Sousa Botelho Paiva. They were married in Riberia Grande December 1955 and lived contently among family and friends in Sao Miguel, and a few years in Terceira, Azores. As family members immigrated to Canada and the United States so did, they. In 1965 they immigrated to Toronto, Canada with three children (Carlos, Filomena (Marie) and Conceicao (Connie)) and had a fourth child (George) in Toronto. During their eight years in Toronto, they were surrounded by many of Conceicao’s siblings, nieces, nephews and several family friends also from the islands. Conceicao and Nicolau were proud of their Portuguese heritage, and participated in many cultural and religious (Catholic) festivals and gatherings in Toronto and throughout their life. Together they enjoyed cooking a variety of Portuguese cuisine for festas, matanca’s, holidays and family gatherings. In October 1973, they along with Nicolau’s brother’s family (Carlos and Lilliana Paiva) made the long journey to Gilroy, California where they settled for a short time near Nicolau’s parents and siblings.
A change in employment moved them to South San Jose where they continued to raise their children and establish roots in the Portuguese Community and Five Wounds Church. Conceicao worked at San Jose Hospital, Housekeeping Department, where she developed lifelong friendships with other Portuguese natives. She enjoyed crocheting and knitting and made baby booties, blankets and jackets for the pediatric ward at the hospital. Her two eldest children married and the family grew. She treasured her time off work and spent as much time as possible with her grandchildren and family gatherings. Eventually, Conceicao and Nicolau moved to a larger property in the Portuguese community of Five Wounds Church. There they planted, grew and harvested many fruits and vegetables. They canned foods, smoked meats and sausages, and raised chickens. They grew grapes and even tried their hand at wine. They hosted numerous Santo Cristo festivals and were proud to be Portuguese! These were traditions embedded in their heart and souls.
As their children moved on, they continued to be active in the Portuguese community and POSSO until Nicolau’s passing in April 2003. Conceicao’s heart was broken and life would never be the same. She stayed in their home and began volunteering at Five Wounds Church and POSSO where she enjoyed spending many of her days. The last two of her children married and more grandbabies arrived. This lifted her spirit and gave new meaning to her purpose. She began spending more time staying with each of her children and eleven grandchildren until her health began to deteriorate.
Maria Conceicao’s unconditional and uncompromising love will never be forgotten by her children, Carlos Manuel Paiva (Ramona) of San Jose, Marie Filomena West (Victor) of Dayton, NV, Connie Paiva Maddox (Greg) of Marin and George Paiva (Katy) of Sparks, NV. A devoted Avo who always had homemade arroz doce, sopa de feijao, and biscoitos and other Portuguese specialties ready for the grandkids. Her beloved eleven grandchildren, Jennifer, Shannon and Torey (Victor Jr.) West, Estelle and Elizabeth Paiva, Quinten and Audrey Maddox and Sofia, Ella, Emree and Owen Paiva and three great grandchildren Aryanne and Preston Chapman and Ellie West will miss her birthday calls, singing and os beijinihos de Avo. Her check-in phone calls will be greatly missed by her 50 plus nieces and nephews in Massachusetts, Toronto, Arizona, California and Acores. We miss you Mae querida!
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to POSSO of San Jose in memory of Maria Conceicao Paiva.
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