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2016 January 21: Rachel Guadalupe Martinez Sundberg

Rachel Guadalupe Martinez Sundberg, 83, of Los Angeles, California, died surrounded by the love and presence of all her children on January 21, 2016.

Rachel was born on Oliver Street in San Pedro, California on January 22, 1932. She attended school at Mary Star of Sea and St. Anthony's High School in Long Beach, Class of 1950.

She also attended Harbor College for two years. Rachel was one of the world's greatest beauties. She was a lovely child and a stunning woman. Rachel was the youngest daughter of Aurelia Ornelas and Henry R Martinez. She was often called upon for childcare to her nieces and nephews. When her own mother became ill with breast cancer, it was Rachel who became her surrogate, handling the pressures of the household while she was still in high school. Her mother died when she was just 19 years old. She continued to look after her father, her older brother, Ralph, and her younger brother, Robert, until she married at age 24.

Rachel loved to dance and sing. It was a natural that she met her future husband, Carl Louis Sundberg at a USO dance while he was stationed at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro. They married in 1956, and moved to Chicago. Rachel gave birth to four children there. Leaving home and family was challenging for Rachel but her children brought her the joy that ultimately defined her life. They lived in the Chicago area until 1964 when the mild weather in California beckoned.

In 1967, Rachel would begin working for Sav-On Drugs in the Silverlake area of Los Angeles. She loved working with the public and she became very popular. Rachel's outgoing and vivacious personality made her a star employee. It seemed everyone knew her - including all of the friends of all of her children. After her divorce in 1974, her job enabled her to provide for her family, largely on her own. She worked continuously for 32 years. After she retired she volunteered as docent for the Cabrillo Beach Aquarium. Rachel was incredibly generous to her children and everyone in her life that she loved. She delighted us in her role as, 'Grandmere.' She made every holiday special. Every birthday was a major event for her children. Rachel was always the life of the party. And she was loved by so many friends and family members. She loved with her whole heart. Yet all she ever asked of her children was that they be happy. She taught her children to be their best. She always loved us unconditionally, in spite of ourselves. Rachel was an avid reader of books and magazines. She loved movies, music, and musicals. She was a lifelong Democrat. She loved the beach, being from San Pedro, and spending time with her family. She is known for many favorite phrases, such as: "That's the way it goes sometimes, traveling west", "It was way out where God lost his shoes!", "Stop the world and I'll jump off!", "That and where elephants go to die ..." and "God Bless all in this house!" The memorial service will be held at Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church in San Pedro on Feb 6, 2016 @10:30 a.m. Her ashes will be scattered at sea off of San Pedro, the home she loved so much. There will be a reception immediately following the service. Rachel is survived by her sister, Doris Valdez. She leaves behind her children, Jennifer Willets, Judy DiGenova, Mark Sundberg, and Matthew T. Sundberg, and her grandchildren, P.J. Willets, Halowe Willets, Audrey DiGenova, Sydney N. Sundberg, and Rebecca M. Sundberg.

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