Upside (Cherie M. Querol Moreno): A ‘Full circle’ tribute
ALLICE Alliance for Community Empowerment Vice President Jen Jimenez Wong had been preparing for her husband tech ace Chris Wong’s birthday on Monday, December 4. Instead she and her family honored her mother Annalee Salas Jimenez on the first day of vigil and viewing of their matriarch at Duggan’s Serra Mortuary in Daly City.
Mrs. Jimenez passed away Nov. 22 from a lingering illness after marking special milestones in her life. She celebrated her 81st birthday just a few days prior on Nov. 17, the same day she and husband Juanito “Jimmy” Jimenez kissed on their golden wedding anniversary.
In fact around this time in 1973, this very newspaper published their wedding photo with a story on the couple’s nuptials witnessed by 500 relatives and friends at the Church of the Epiphany in San Francisco, an article only one person currently working in Philippine News Today might have read as the rest of us were starting our careers an ocean away or were yet to be born. Mrs. Jimenez turned 31 that day. Dedicating this space to say farewell to a remarkable Filipina American, therefore, is more than appropriate. Coming “full circle,” Jen noted. Mrs. Jimenez’s funeral Mass took place Dec. 6 at the church where she became a wife.
What a pleasure to have met Jen’s mom, who was rightfully proud of and supported Jen and her siblings’ accomplishments and attended abuse prevention team ALLICE Kumares & Kumpares education and advocacy events when she was able. She flashed the brightest smile that made her seem taller than her 5 feet. From her, Jen, a licensed marriage and family therapist, certainly inherited a positive outlook and strength of character.
“She inspired me toward my profession,” Jimenez Wong told author. “One time she was confronted in a hold-up while on the job. She was calm and composed, followed procedure to alert police, who arrested the suspects.”
Although her mom had to take time off due to PTSD, she returned to work emboldened rather than intimidated by the experience.
Mrs. Jimenez led a wondrous life that saw her earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Philippine Normal College, her birth country’s premier school for future teachers, before coming to the United States in the 1960s. Starting her new life in Stockton, she chose to embark on a career in public service. She taught in Oakland, worked at Blue Shield and the US Postal Service. In 1984 she joined Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to become a station agent, a stint that drew on her courage and conflict resolution skills. There she made many friends for life until she retired in 2010. By then they had relocated to San Francisco and then El Sobrante across the Bay to be near their eldest child Cheryl J. Castro.
Later she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she faced valiantly as she did challenging situations as a service officer.
Mrs. Jimenez was born Anolina Ordaniel Salas to Mauro Salas and Asuncion Ordaniel in Aklan, Visayas, Philippines. Her children remember her for her love of her grandchildren, of shopping, dining out and watching her favorite show “Judge Judy” as well as having fun at the slots whether in Las Vegas or California. She was quite the dancer, a vision in her glimmering attire, they recall.
Annalee Jimenez is survived by her husband Jimmy Jimenez and their children Cheryl Jimenez Castro, Jason Jimenez and Jennifer Jimenez Wong, their spouses and families, relatives and friends grateful for her hospitality and generosity. (Obituary elsewhere in this issue.)
(Cherie M. Querol Moreno is Executive Editor of Philippine News Today and Founder/Executive Director of ALLICE.)