Rosary and Mass
Friday, January 3, 11 AM
St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Stockton.
After a long battle with cancer, Hilda Carlos passed away at the age of 81 surrounded by her 4 children at her home in Stockton. Hilda lived a long, full life and will be remembered as a force of nature by all who knew her.
She was born in 1938 in the Azores on the island of Faial to José and Rosa Vargas.
Hilda had many fond memories of her childhood in the village of Pedro Miguel.
From an early age, Hilda worked night and day to help with the household chores and sewed and crocheted along with her sisters, to earn extra money for the family. Most children in the village received three years of formal education, but she was always proud that she was among the few invited by the teacher to attend an additional 4th year. While life was difficult, she understood that it could have been much harder, like their neighbor who would come borrow an ember when their fire went out – at least her family could afford matches. Hilda’s parents emphasized the importance of family and community and that it was necessary to show up and support one another, no questions asked.
After the volcanic eruption of 1958 that devastated the island, Hilda and her father José were among the 1st group to immigrate to the United States in 1959 under the Azorean Refugee Act. The two of them came to establish themselves in California, find work, earn some money, and eventually send for the rest of the family.
In 1960, she married Frank Carlos, also from Pedro Miguel, at St Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Sacramento. After their marriage, Frank and Hilda lived in Auburn, CA. Soon after, Hilda had their 1st daughter, Elda. In 1963, Hilda wanted to be closer to her parents who had moved to Pleasanton so she took the initiative and found Frank a job in Stockton. In 1964, Frank and Hilda bought the home they would live in for the rest of their lives and raise 4 children.
In Stockton, Frank would go on to open his own cabinet shop and build or remodel several rental homes. While he provided the labor, it was Hilda who, besides being a one-woman cleaning crew, ran the business side of things, learning bookkeeping, accounting, permitting, and eventually managing all of their properties. She even learned enough about drafting to submit her own architectural drawings to get Frank’s many building permits approved. In addition to this, Hilda also worked for over 20 years at Tillie Lewis Cannery in Stockton doing seasonal work. She chose to work the graveyard shift so she could be there for her children when they came home from school.
Hilda was a passionate volunteer giving a great deal of her time and energy to Our Lady of Fatima Society in Thornton, St. Michael’s Catholic Church and Glenwood Elementary School. Hilda traveled extensively taking several cruises and trips to Europe including pilgrimages to Fatima, Lourdes and Rome. She also treated her family to multiple return trips to the Azores.
In 2012, Hilda was diagnosed with cancer and courageously endured multiple treatments over an eight year period. Simultaneously, Frank’s health deteriorated and she became his devoted caregiver for the last 10 years of his life. In the face of these challenges, Hilda continued to be a devoted grandmother, manage her properties, and volunteer when called upon. Even though her children would plead with her to slow down, Hilda continued to work hard caring for her family and managing and maintaining her household and business interests until the end of her life. Up until very recently, her children would come to her house and find her climbing ladders to fix the roof, picking fruit, or some other physical task someone even half her age would find challenging.
Hilda is preceded in death (only by a month) by her husband Frank, also by her parents, a son lost early in pregnancy, and her sister, Zulmida. She is survived by her four children, Elda (Al) Garcia, Rose Marie (Dean) Kinnee, Dianne, and Gary (Christina), her grandchildren, Craig, Renee, Hailey and Francsco, her sisters, Maria, Ida, and Mary and her brother, Joe. Hilda also leaves many nieces, nephews, and multiple cousins in the United States, Canada and the Azores.