Laura Ortega

Obituary of Laura Barbara Ortega

Laura Barbara Ortega, age 92, passed away on September 14, 2020, at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, CA, after a week-long illness. Laura was born mischievous on November 1, 1927, at her family’s farm in Mountain View on what became the Shoreline complex. She was the youngest of 10 children of Manuel Correia and Marie (Ferriera) Correia, each born in The Azores, Portugal. Laura grew up working hard tending to her family’s animals, agriculture and household. She also had a lot of fun with her siblings. She enjoyed telling stories of their adventures, like sneaking into the root cellar with her sisters on hot days to enjoy her mother’s preserves, attending Portuguese festivals, parades and dances, traveling “all the way to San Jose” to watch movies, and working in the Milpitas canneries. Her carefree nature extended through adulthood and parenthood, and remained into her ‘90s.

Laura met Navy veteran James Moya Ortega at a movie theater. They dated, broke up – Laura’s feisty nature rarely took a back seat – and eventually married on May 28, 1948, in Reno, NV. They remained married until Jim suffered a stroke and passed away in 2002. In the decades after their wedding, Jim and Laura returned to the Reno and Lake Tahoe area often, spending hours exchanging silver dollars with slot machines and – mainly Laura – striking up conversations with seemingly everyone. They also loved to dance, a skill that Jim honed by entering many contests with one of his sisters. They particularly enjoyed dancing at the Coconut Grove in Santa Cruz. They took road-trips to various states with Laura’s sisters and brothers-in-law, bowled many frames in many leagues with many family members and friends, and took dozens of turns hosting get-togethers at their home in Los Altos, which general contractor Jim built in 1966 and homemaker Laura remained until a week before her death. With their children they went boating and fishing on the delta and traveled to Disneyland and other vacation spots many times.

Laura is survived by her children James, Jr. (1951), Ronald (1952), Lori Ann (1959) and husband Stephen, and Gary (1966), and her next-eldest sibling, Dolores Mathias (1925). All who knew Laura will miss her easy, infectious laugh, her quick, smart-aleck tongue, her heart full of love for all to share, and the way she got a kick out of the simplest observations of life.

Due to Covid-19, a small family viewing is scheduled for September 16, followed by cremation. The family plans to hold a celebration of life in the near future. In lieu of sending flowers, the family asks that you show kindness to strangers in Laura’s spirit: start a conversation, mention something humorous, offer something they need.

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