On a warm and sunny Sunday, the 23rd of April, Juanita Ortiz Bernabe left her little red cane behind and walked into Heaven and the welcoming arms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are certain that as He spoke the words “Well done good and faithful servant.” that shouts of joy and cries of “Juanita!” and “Grandma!” could be heard.
Mom was born to Frank and Frances Ortiz, one of eleven children, in a humble little house in Southern California where her roots ran deep. She met and married Luis Solis Bernabe and gave life to her four children, Elisa Ann Doucette, Patricia Bernabe Lewis, Jose’ Francisco Bernabe and Mary Frances Dahlke. From dirt floors and woodstoves, thousands of miles from California to Mexico, and finally of all places, Montana, our Mom lived an extraordinary life too full and rich to contain here in these small paragraphs.
But the summation of this beautiful, humble, loving, fiercely funny and powerfully enduring soul can be declared as so: There was never a time that she did not walk with, receive her unbelievable strength from, or love deeply, Jesus. This gold thread of light wound like a river of Living Water through the entirety of her life, and now flows in four tributaries through her children.
She is survived by her four children, their families and according to Ancestry.com, 34,840 relatives. Please refer to said web site as we too are confused by the sum totals of the relatives who preceded her in death and who are survived by our Mom to fully list here. Saint Jude’s Hospital is also accepting donations in Juanita’s name if preferred in lieu of flowers. Services will be held on May 6th, 11 am at Rocky Mountain Baptist Church, 2387 MT HWY. 35, Kalispell, Montana.