Helen Louise Brigance October 7 1946 - July 14 2020
Sadly, we announce that our mother, Helen Louise Brigance, passed away on
Tuesday morning July 14 th , 2020 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Her son Michael held a bedside vigil with her during her final decline.
She was always a very independent woman, once stating she wanted her own bank account in a newspaper letter to Santa at 8 years old. She was our very own Alpha mom - a real fighter to the very end.
A descent of the Original Califorians, Our mother was born on October 7, 1946 in Watsonville, California to parents, Albina (nee Gamboa) and John Davison. She was christened in Watsonville and her family later moved to Salinas, California, where they lived in a wonderful big old Victorian home on Geil Street. Our Mother or “Louise” as she was known by her family members had a busy childhood filled with many family events that included her many cousins and siblings. She attended Salinas High School and after graduation she married and moved to Germany with her husband, where she lived for three years. Mom often talked about her memories of Germany and the many travels she had while there as well as the nights playing Foosball with the “Guys” and drinking them under the table. After her return to the US, our mother divorced and returned to school. Starting at
Hartnell college in Salinas and then transitioning to San Jose State, where she graduated in 1976 with a degree in Sociology. Our mother, ever the trailblazer, was the first in her family to earn a college degree.
After graduating from college, mom worked a variety of jobs and to quote her “some were good and others not so much:”. In 1980, she would achieve one of her most cherished roles; becoming a mother to fraternal twins Michael and Meribeth. This was an unexpected role, but nevertheless loved and treasured the rest of her life. She was a mother to many. Any one who needed some “mothering”, a cookie and some good advice always found it in our mother’s kitchen.
Our mother was one of the first of many women who would become Single
Mothers. In the early years relying on help from her sister Sally and her family, and eventually venturing out on her own. She was one of the first and the brave women who raised children on their own. She moved in the winter of 2001 out of California due to the rapidly increasing cost of living. She at first went to Washington State settling in Spokane, but then eventually settled in Post Falls, Idaho, where she and her daughter would buy a home together. Our mother spent the last ten years enjoying retirement, baking, watching baseball, and connecting with old friends via Facebook.
Our mother was a lifelong San Francisco Giants fan, often reminiscing about her own mother’s love for the game and how it has been passed down to us kids. It brought her great joy that she was alive to see them compete in and win three World Series Championships. She was interested in family history and took a DNA test in 2019 to find out more about her ethnic heritage. Through DNA she was able to reconnect with some long
lost cousins, Monte and Susie Duran, and they were all reunited in person when her daughter Meribeth brought her to California for a visit in September 2019.
Our mother was sharp and clear in mind until the very end. Being able to recall stories, names and faces of relatives who had long since passed. She loved to tell the stories of the past and would captivate her small family audience with them whenever she had the chance. She is predeceased by both of her parents; her sister Sally Westfall Orabuena;
sister Vinnie Bridges and two brothers: Jack and Richard Conley.
She is survived by her daughter Meribeth (husband Tyler); her son Michael and her last remaining sister Barbara Wissler; some very close cousins, Monte and Susie Duran. Nieces; Susan Westfall, Angie Padilla. Nephews; Jonathan Westfall, Tracy Hooks, and Troy Hooks, and her “Grand-pups” Daisy and Posey. Our mother was not a “party” kind of person so, per her wishes there will not be a funeral. She will be cremated and her ashes will be spread in her beloved Monterey Bay, California when it is safe to travel again.