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Esperanza Lopez Norris
Birth: Feb. 19, 1921
El Paso
El Paso County
Texas, USA
Death: Mar. 1, 2007
California, USA

Esperanza lived with Alzheimer's disease for the last ten years of her life. She used to delight in telling her children stories about her childhood and about the war years. She grew up in desperate poverty in the Segundo Barrio of El Paso, Texas. Her father was an intelligent and industrious man who brought his family to the United States from Mexico after growing disenchanted with life as a Villista, part of Pancho Villa's Division del norte. Esperanza's father impressed upon his children the importance of education and hard work but suffered a heart attack and died when he was in his early 30's, His widow and children were on their own and all of them had to work hard to bring some food to the table.

When the United States entered the Second World War in 1941, a lot of new opportunites were created for women. Esperanza was one of the millions of American women who supported the war effort on the homefront. She trained as a welder and riveter in El Paso and then left Texas for good to work in San Diego. She soon moved north to San Francisco and found work as a journeyman welder, working in the shipyard in Richmond, California.

In San Francisco Esperanza met James, a native San Franciscan and handsome officer in the Merchant Marines. The war was over and the nation's spirits were very high; romance bloomed everywhere. Esperanza and James married and soon started a family.

Esperanza and James had six children together, but the marriage didn't last. Esperanza was left to raise the children alone. The experience toughened Esperanza and created within her a tremendous sense of independence and self-sufficiency that became one of her defining traits. As tough as she was though, her gentleness, kindness, and good nature were what really defined her.

In her final years, when Alzheimer's disease stole all of her memories and the ability to converse, Esperanza communicated with smiles more than anything else. Her eyes grew tired but remained loving, appreciative and serene. At the end she seemed to have some awareness that her journey was over. I take comfort in knowing that she was able to hug her father for the first time in 80 years, greet her mother again, and embrace her beloved son James.

Esperanza was cremated as per her wishes. Four years after her death her son James's remains were identified through DNA (see story in link above) and the two were buried together.

 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Felix M. Lopez (1897 - 1927)
  Juana Orona Lopez (1898 - 1980)
 
 Children:
  James Berkeley Norris (1949 - 1974)*
 
 Siblings:
  Carlos O Lopez (1918 - 2010)*
  Esperanza Lopez Norris (1921 - 2007)
  Manuel Orona Lopez (1923 - 1984)*
  Miguel Lopez (1925 - 2005)*
  Felix J Lopez (1927 - 1979)*
  Josephine Lopez (1931 - 2009)**
 
*Calculated relationship
**Half-sibling
 
Burial:
Rockville Cemetery
Suisun City
Solano County
California, USA
Plot: Lawn D, Row 8, Plot 47
 
Created by: Rosemary
Record added: Mar 02, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 18133118
Esperanza <i>Lopez</i> Norris
Added by: Rosemary
 
Esperanza <i>Lopez</i> Norris
Added by: Rosemary
 
Esperanza <i>Lopez</i> Norris
Added by: Rosemary
 
 
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- Lisa Harrington
 Added: Sep. 24, 2016

- Allison Scalici
 Added: Sep. 24, 2016

- Alex P. Reed
 Added: Sep. 6, 2016
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