Dolores Naguiat Santos Denina was born March 15, 1940 in Porac, Pampanga, in the central Luzon region of the Philippines, the youngest of 3 daughters. After completing high school in Porac, she moved to Manila to attend and was forever a proud graduate of the Far East University medical technology program. One day while attending a Mu Sigma Mu sorority fete, she met her best friend Juana’s older brother, Atty Felix Jain Denina, who would become her lifetime partner. They married on June 28, 1964.
Their first duty station together was at Norfolk, Virginia. Felix served a tour in Viet Nam, and rose to the rank of Chief Legalman (LNC). Stations included Subic Bay (Philippines), Great Lakes, Illinois; Balboa (San Diego), CA; Long Beach, CA; Port Hueneme, CA while Dolly worked in various labs as a medical technologist, the majority of the time with Becton Dickenson and the Veterans Administration system. She served as President of the California Association for Medical Laboratory Technology (CAMLT). Having put 20 years in the Navy, Dolly and Felix officially retired to Oxnard, California.
In 1983, they moved to Angeles City, Pampanga in the Philippines to raise their family in Dolly's hometown while she attended four years of medical school. Felix ran a popular restaurant, Denmart, and as such, Dolly affectionally became known simply as “Mom” to his “Dad” for hundreds of med students and undergraduates.
In 1993, Felix and Dolly settled in Lake City, Florida, which quickly became home. She was an active member of the Epiphany Catholic Church. They owned rental properties and found running the Green Tree Village fulfilling on many levels.
Here too, they made lifelong friends. Sought out for her sly wit, warmth, kindness and unprecedented generosity, she never met a stranger. Her trademark sweet smile was as well known as her stubborn streak and independence. Their laughter and dancing graced many a gathering.
Wherever they've lived, Felix and Dolly promoted culture, heritage, traditions, founding the Bicol Club of Ventura County (Calif) during the early 70's and the Filipino American Cultural Society of Lake City, FL in the 90's.
Her loving congenial manner is already missed by her sister, cousins, nieces and nephews (some older than her) and their kids. She always espoused unity, respect, and love of family. But it isn't only the family into which she was born that holds her in such esteem. When she married Felix, she was enfolded into a family (Aaaamolan!) as loving and supportive as her own, and they mourn their Mama Dolly as well. At times very strict and exacting, that went out the window when the grandchildren came along.
She is survived by their three children: Judi, Nina, and Anthony (Cecilia Cava Denina), four grandchildren: Cheryll Joy, John, Sam and Mark Anthony, her dear sister Andrea and brother Danny, her devoted niece Corazon Mercado Howard and loving nephew Eugene Bolivar Denina and a large supportive, loving, robust circle of family and friends worldwide that will not forget her lessons nor her example nor the beauty of her person.
She is preceded in death by her husband, parents, her beloved sister Mercedes “Ched” Santos Ayson, brother Gregorio Santos Jr and nephew Willie Santos Serrano.
A rosary for Mrs. Denina will be recited on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 at 9:00 AM at Epiphany Catholic Church, with a mass following at 10:00 AM. Interment will immediately follow the mass at Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery.
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