Maria Anunciacao D’Cunha, 92, peacefully slipped into her heavenly abode on Friday, March 4, 2022 in Daly City, CA, almost 33 years after her beloved husband Ceciliano’s tragic death on March 7, 1989. She is survived by her four children and (spouses), Neville (Deirdre), Bojane (Roque), Yeademin (Stephen), and Felba (Walter); 11 grandchildren - Andre, Renuka (Andrew Arey), Hansel, Cecilia, Daniel, Maria Hazel (Larry Joel), Mary-Jepsy, Emmanuel, Petros, Miriam Rose and John Paul, and three of her four great grandchildren - Jaybuaii, Malayaii (deceased), Aoumakaii and Dayamaii. Ancy also leaves behind 21 nephews & nieces, 34 grandnephews & nieces, and one great grandnephew in the US, UK, India, Japan and Australia, and dear friends all over the world.
Affectionately nicknamed Ancy, she was born in Bombay, India on May 9, 1929 to Goan parents, the late Joseph Faustino DeSouza and the late Maria Estelita DeSouza. The family emigrated to Kenya when Ancy was four years old, along with her older brother Alick. The DeSouza sibling clan in Mombasa expanded to 10 siblings – Alick, Ancy, Gala, Peter, Felix, Anton, John, Romaldo, Victor, and Lino. Ancy is survived by her three siblings – Gala & Lino (London) and Dr. Romaldo (Virginia).
On her husband’s side, Ancy is survived by her brother-in law Albert D’Cunha (Sacramento). Ancy’s sisters-in law Assumption (Asha), and Sr. Charity (Theresa) passed away recently in Mumbai. Ancy’s mother-in-law Estella D’Cunha passed away in 1994, and father-in-law Valentine D’Cunha in 1962 in Bombay.
Ancy served as a teacher at the Bondini Girls School in Mombasa. She met her husband Ceciliano at a Goan Institute dance in Mombasa. As British East Africa was experiencing internal turmoil then, Ceciliano returned to Bombay. Ancy followed her love to India, where she and Ceciliano married in May 1956 in Bandra. A pregnant Ancy moved back to Mombasa, leaving Ceciliano behind as he could not get a visa to return to East Africa. Neville was born nine months later in February 1957, and raised along with Ancy’s siblings, as the 11th addition to the DeSouza family.
Ancy and Neville eventually moved to Bombay in 1959 to join Ceciliano. Bojane was born the next year, and Yeademin 1 year and 1 day later. Felba followed in 1969.
Ancy opened a KG school at home in 1964 with Bojane & Yeademin among her first batches! Shishu Vihar Nursery School grew leaps and bounds with hundreds of students under her wing for 20 plus years, until Ancy emigrated to California in May 1986. The then Mayor of Bombay, P.S. Pai, commended her achievements in early childhood education, especially tutoring pre-schoolers from non-English speaking families. Ancy graciously handed over the teaching reins and established business to her sister-in-law, Asha, to carry on her legacy. After Asha’s demise last year, Ancy’s Shishu Vihar still exists in the hearts and souls of the faithful alumni, which include Esha Deol daughter of Bollywood couple Dharmendra/Hema Malini, and several successful businessmen and professionals, all well-grounded in the English basics and phonetics during their pre-school years.
Ancy lived with her brother the late Peter and his late wife Vivian (the DCunha family sponsors to the US) for the first six months In Millbrae, California, and, thereafter, in a rental apartment in Daly City Westlake. She braved it out from May 1986 working at Friends to Parents pre-school in South San Francisco. Ceciliano and Felba joined Ancy in Daly City six months later. Neville, Bojane and Yeademin arrived in May 1988. Two of her children, Neville and Bojane, served in the US Army, and her grandson, Daniel, in the US Air Force.
Mom retired when she turned 65. Ancy stayed in senior housing for a few years before moving in permanently in 2015 to Deirdre, Neville, and Andre’s home in Daly City. For the last five years, she also enjoyed the live-in company of her ‘grand sister-in-law’, Celia Lobo.
Ceciliano’s fatal single car accident on a dark and misty Lake Merced Road, was perhaps the saddest day in Ancy’s life. Ceciliano was laid to rest March 10, thirty-three years earlier to this day, at the Holy Cross Cemetery, Colma, where Ancy’s ashes will be interred, per her wishes.