Judith Labarda Pontejos
Born in the Philippines to Juan and Rosa Labarda on October 2, 1934, in Tacloban City on the island of Leyte; she was the third of eleven children and the first girl. Being deeply religious, she had wanted to be a nun but her father insisted that she go to nursing school.
She graduated from nursing school at the Southern Islands Hospital in Cebu City in April of 1956. For four years she practiced rural medicine, delivering babies, caring for sick people, and occasionally repairing horrific knife wounds from victims of street fighting.
She married a handsome young dentist in June of 1960 and subsequently gave birth to four children (Lourdes, Joselito, Jocelyn, and Juanito) all while diligently working and caring for her patients in the Philippines.
She was accepted for immigration to the United States as a nurse in 1969 working for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Gallup New Mexico. Being alone for the first year or so was difficult, but the sacrifice was more than worth it to her as she was then able to sponsor many of her family members as they successfully immigrated to America.
Her professional life was exemplary. She was a sought-after nursing supervisor and became the director of nursing for several Southern California Hospitals.
Always a proponent of education, her four children are examples of her accomplishment; one completing nursing school, another receiving an engineering degree, another completing dental school, and the youngest a medical doctor.
Along with her sisters, Edith Sharma, Rosita Leff, & Linda Labarda, she is survived by all four of her children and her six grandchildren. She will always be known as a deeply religious, loving mother and sister who lived a life of hard work, charity, and kindness.
To the many, many people she helped with her loving generosity, she is a continual inspiration. To her loved ones, she is painfully missed. With hope we look forward to hearing her voice and seeing her beautiful smile when we rejoice together with her -- basking in the grace, peace, and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.