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Sylvia Villasenor Obituary

Sylvia June Villasenor
In Loving Memory
Sylvia June Villasenor

July 1, 1928 - December 3, 2017
Born in Guam
Resided in Mountain View, California


Our beloved Sylvia June Villaseñor, passed away the morning of Sunday December 3, 2017 three months after being diagnosed with advanced blood cancer (multiple myeloma).
Born on the island of Guam in 1928, descended from one of the oldest indigenous families on the island, in 1914, her grandfather, Manuel E. Sablan, was one of the first Chamorro judges appointed to Guam’s court system by the United States. Her father, Jose G. Rosario, was a Chief Petty Officer and 25 year veteran of the United States Navy. Her mother, Guadalupe Sablan Rosario, was a strong willed matriarch who came to the U.S. after her husband died to ensure better educational opportunities for her children.
A resident of Mountain View and Palo Alto for 71 years, Sylvia Villaseñor was a loving mother of 11 children, grandmother of 14, great grandmother of 19, and great, great grandmother of one. As an active parishioner for over 40 years at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Mtn. View and over 30 years at St. William’s Catholic Church in Los Altos, Sylvia was well known as a tireless, interfaith and community social justice advocate in north county.
Throughout her life Sylvia Villaseñor continued to challenge herself as she accepted diversity and an inclusive vision of God’s love. In her late forties she embraced feminism and advocated for a greater role for women in the Catholic Church. She also regularly participated in interfaith services with Protestant, Jewish and Muslim friends and often attended and enjoyed services at the Metropolitian Community Church in San Mateo with her family.
In the 1970s, Sylvia Villaseñor and her family were heavily involved in the United Farmworkers Grape Boycott and hosted UFW organizers and staff at their home while they garnered UFW support on the Peninsula. In the past five years, in her eighties, she was involved with the immigrant rights movement in north county and led and helped organize an annual immigrant rights rally and march in Mtn. View on May Day.
Sylvia was passionate about nearly all kinds of music - classical, folk, church hymns and Broadway musicals. She was a talented classical pianist and vocalist who served as the longtime Music Director at St. William’s Church and sang with the Valley Chorale, a Sunnyvale-based choral music ensemble for over twenty years. She once declared, “I cannot live without music - music is like breathing to me.”
A strong advocate of self -improvement, discipline, and higher education, Sylvia returned to school in her late 40's to study for a degree in Religious Studies at San Jose State University.  She strongly encouraged all of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to complete higher education and tried to provide financial support to all who requested it. She also considered herself fortunate to have worked nearly 20 years in Undergraduate Admissions at Stanford University where she enjoyed the stimulating work environment, her colleagues and the students she met.
Sylvia Villaseñor will be remembered as a caring, kind, strong, hardworking, talented and beautiful woman, and above all, a woman of deep faith and a faithful servant of God. A loving mother she is predeceased by her daughter Patrice Heath (Richard) and is survived by her children, Andrea Villaseñor-Perry (Sandy), Gerard Villaseñor, Michelle Villaseñor, Josette Villaseñor (Allen), Cassandra Miyasoto, Francine Villaseñor, Martin Villaseñor, Therese Engquist (Jonathan), Maria Olvera and Danielle Villaseñor (Angelica). She is also predeceased by her dear sister Priscilla May Roberto (Jose) and survived by her beloved niece, Toni Walker (Thomas) and nephew, Joseph Roberto. Sylvia was devoted to her grandchildren and great grandchildren and was a revered auntie to the nieces and nephews of her late ex-husband, Andrew Villaseñor. She will be dearly missed by many church and community friends and neighbors.
A celebration of Sylvia’s life will be held on the evening of Friday, January 19th, 6:30 -8:30 pm at Cusimano Family Colonial Mortuary, 96 W. El Camino Real , Mtn.View. Her Funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday January 20th, 11:00 am at St. William’s Catholic Church, 611 S. El Monte Ave., Los Altos. A luncheon reception will be held after the Mass at the St William’s Church hall.

Charitable donations may be sent to Friends of Human Relations, Jim McEntee College Scholarship Fund, 14850 East Hills Drive, San Jose, CA 95127, or online: Please view/sign guestbook:



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