Patsy Teresa Zuniga passed away peacefully from a short but critical illness at Stanford Hospital on July 12, 2019 at the age of 75. She was surrounded by her husband, Aurelio Zuniga, and three children Teri McManus, Rachel Zuniga, and Elaine Klauer. Patsy was born in Piru, California to Tomas and Maria Martinez, Mexican immigrants from Guanajuato and Zacatecas, Mexico.
Patsy is an alumnus of San Benito High School. She graduated in 1961 and later married her high school sweetheart, Aurelio Zuniga, in 1964 after he was discharged from the National Guard. They both found jobs in Silicon Valley and were settled in Mountain View with their three children. Patsy and her family later moved to Hollister to help run the family restaurant, Progresso Tamale Parlour, in Hollister, California.
Patsy had a special place in her heart for family, the arts, community service, and genealogy. After both her parents passed away, Patsy began looking at her family lineage. She started at the Family History Center, and in two years she was able to trace her family tree to the early 1600’s. She had the opportunity to visit relatives in Jerez, Zacatecas and visit the birthplace of her father and the graves of her grandparents.
Her rich Mexican heritage was very important to her, and her artwork evolved over time, reflecting her culture. Patsy was an accomplished artist and member of the San Benito County Arts Commission, Tri-County Arts Commission, and San Benito Artist Club for over 20 years. She focused on local landscape scenes with familiar locations like the San Juan Bautista Mission, local Victorian homes, agricultural scenes, barns, flowers, and her grandchildren. Her art mediums included oil paintings, acrylics, pastels, watercolors, pencil sketches, collage, mixed media, and photography. Her work was displayed at the local family restaurant Progresso’s, Hazel Hawkins Hospital, Mars Hill, San Benito County Library, City Hall, and she participated in many Open Studio Art Shows for the Hollister Art League.
Her passion for art and guiding others’ creativity was an important part of her legacy as an artist in the Hollister community. She empowered youth through art scholarships and supported art design in her hometown including the artistic design of St. Benedict’s Church. Throughout her life, Patsy also stayed active in the Hollister community. She was a member of the San Benito County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and served as president for 2 years. She participated in many Committees including the Hollister Downtown Association, Galleria Tonantzin, County Fair Arts Department, and Toastmasters Club.
Patsy was a dedicated member of LULAC and served as the chairperson for the annual Hispanic Women in Action Reception. Patsy was honored as the 1999 San Benito County LULAC Woman of the Year and went on to receive the National LULAC Woman of the Year Award in Corpus Christi, Texas. Patsy was a kind, quiet woman always with a smile on her face. She was considered an unsung hero who never wanted recognition for her dedication and hard work.
She has been recognized by senators, Board of Supervisors, City Council, and Chamber of Commerce members. Most importantly, Patsy was a proud grandmother and great-grandmother. She was regularly seen painting with grandchildren at the kitchen table and encouraged them to enter their work in the San Benito County Fair. She always had her camera in hand and kept detailed picture albums of all family celebrations.
She had a unique relationship with each and every grandchild and great-grandchild; she will be greatly missed. Patsy is preceded in death by her parents Tomas and Maria Martinez and brother Pasqualito. She is survived by 7 siblings, Vincent Martinez (Lydia), Trino Martinez (Frieda), Rose Bishop (Gene), Joby Weitz, Esther Johnson (Karl), Lupe Katsuda (Lee, deceased), and Margie Herzog (Monty). Devoted wife to Aurelio Zuniga and mother to her three children, Theresa McManus (Thomas, deceased), Rachel Zuniga, and Elaine Klauer.
She was grandmother to 8: TJ McManus, Adrianna McManus, Amanda Garcia, Tiana Garcia, Alora Garcia, Kayla Klauer, Lauren Klauer, and Ian Klauer. Great Grandmother to Andre Pio, Jayda Pio, Raiden Pio, Hunter Carmona, and baby Pio on the way. She is also survived by many cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
The family has designated the local LULAC Council #2890, the San Benito Arts Council, and the American Cancer Society for memorial contributions c/o the mortuary. A memorial mass will be celebrated at 11am, July 18, 2019 at Sacred Heart Church in Hollister followed by a burial at Calvary Cemetery.