Obituary of Stephanie Ortiz Pantoja
Stephanie was born November 11, 1950
She passed July 11, 2018
Stephanie’s family asks in lieu of flowers please donate to the American Cancer Society see link in donations.
Stephanie was proceeded in death by Father Jesus Ortiz, Mother Maria Del Carmen Gutierrez Ortiz, and eldest sister Frances Chimienti. Stephanie is survived by husband Anthony, daughter Erica, son Marcus, daughter-in law Christina, grandchildren Mark, Marissa, Stefany, Karmen, and Mary, great granddaughter Adelae, brother Louis Ortiz, sisters Eloise Vallejos, Irene Valencia, and Rosie Rocha.
Stephanie was born on November 11, 1950 in Saginaw Michigan. She was the youngest of 6 children. As most Mexican - American families of the time they would work in agriculture and travel the seasons to where the work was. It was in Michigan where she had one of her first memories she would share with us of the infamous Apple-Sized Cherries.
In 1958, The Ortiz family moved out west and settled in San Jose CA. She attended Thomas P. Ryan Elementary School, Clyde L. Fischer Middle School and on to Overfelt High School, there she attended an English class that would give her a quick glimpse of who would be in her future. A voice behind her saying “Hey Steph can I have a pencil?” In classic Stephanie form she turned around and replied “Only my friends call me Steph”. She was later transferred to Mt. Pleasant High School which was brand new. Now a Junior, she was rushing through the new school trying to get to class, as she turned a corner she bumped into someone. It was the boy from Overfelt who was unprepared for English class, Anthony “Tony” Pantoja. Stephanie saw he was no longer a boy, but a handsome young man. The spark hit them both and it was the beginning of their journey together.
Tony and Stephanie were married February 1, 1969. Tony joined the United States Air Force and they moved to Chanute Illinois for 1 year, then Tony was stationed in Vietnam. Back State side Tony was stationed at Mather Air Force base where they moved to a small home in Sloughhouse, CA. Stephanie gave birth to Erica Lynn Pantoja on April 5, 1972.
Now moving to her final home in 1973 located in Citrus Heights Stephanie began to raise her family. On December 28, 1974 she gave birth to her son Marcus Anthony Pantoja.
Stephanie raised her kids the best way she knew how, traditional morals but with a modern twist. There were no labels of “women’s or mans work” in her house. It helped shape Erica and Marcus into the people they are today. As Erica and Marcus became adults, Stephanie was always a great listener and gave sound advice to them through some of life’s most difficult struggles.
Along with running the household, Stephanie always worked a part time job out of the home. She completed training courses at American River College and become a full-time bookkeeper for Mexi-Foods wholesaler. She worked there for 6 years before she was forced to retire due to medical conditions.
Stephanie was blessed with 5 grandchildren starting with Mark Leyva Jr., Marissa Leyva, Stefany Leyva, Karmen Pantoja, and Mary Pantoja. Stephanie was also fortunate to see a great granddaughter Adelae Leyva. Stephanie enjoyed the time she spent with her grandchildren taking them to Lake Tahoe, Disneyland, the theater, Yosemite, and many more shared adventures. She loved to spoil them but would still make sure they kept their traditional values. She was a grandmother like no other.
Stephanie would enjoy many adventures with her husband Tony by her side. Numerous car runs with their car club, trips to Hawaii, cruises to the Bahamas, spending New Years in Las Vegas, visiting Seattle Washington, driving up the Oregon coast, and many more. Stephanie and Tony became closer than ever, and their love for each other was something that could not be matched.
The year of 1995, this would be a very unfortunate time in Stephanie’s life. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. She battled through with treatments and support from her family and won the battle. 21 years later the same cancer would return and that would be a battle Stephanie would lose on July 11,2018.
Stephanie was loved by many, family and friends. Her person will be missed, her spirit will live in all of us.
Forever Your Mijo
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