Obituary: Frances “Tita” Duhaylonsod

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Kapolei News
Frances "Tita" Duhaylonsod; Feb 1944 - Nov 2020

Frances “Tita” Duhaylonsod was born on February 14, 1944 in Honolulu, Oʻahu.  Her mother was the beautiful, gentle soul, Ruby Cadungog, formerly of Oʻahu and Lānaʻi.  When Tita was 2 years old, her father went to Guam, never to return, but it was a blessing in disguise, as Tita was raised by the upright, good-hearted Peter Villafuerte of Paʻauilo, Hawaiʻi Island.  Gramma Ruby and Papa Pete raised Tita and her brother Peter, Jr., on Leilani Street then Arsenal Road in Kalihi, and later, in Waipahū-Waikele behind the old Diner’s Drive In.  However, Tita spent all of her weekends, holidays, and summer/Easter vacations with her grandparents in Mākaha Valley where, as the eldest grandchild, she helped look after her numerous cousins.  She and her best friend Eileen Vares would ride their bikes all over from Mākaha to Keaʻau to Waiʻanae town.

In Makaha with brother Junior
Tita with brother Peter Jr. Villafuerte

Tita graduated from St. Joseph School in 1958 then attended St. Francis High School.  She recalled that when she told her dad she wanted to become a nun, he disapproved saying that he wanted grandchildren.  With a laugh she says that Papa told her, “Too much Catholic school,” and he transferred her to Farrington High School where she graduated in 1962.

At her graduation party at the family house in Mākaha, she met her husband Frederick Duhaylonsod from Kahuku and Damon Tract, who had just returned from an Army tour in Germany.  The two married the next year and remained married for 48 years, until 2011 when Fred passed away.  Before getting married, they experienced a traditional Visayan pamalaʻe.  This is a formal engagement where the future groom’s family and the future bride’s family meet.  At this meeting, the eldest male from each side of the family agree that the man will be a good provider and not abusive, etc., and the woman will be a good wife and nurturing mother, etc.  The spokesman for Tita’s side of the family was Uncle Sinon Celebrado Pasatiempo, and the spokesman for Fred’s side of the family was Uncle Torio from Molokai.

Frederick and Frances Duhaylonsod Wedding Photo

Like many kids of her generation, Tita did summer work at the pineapple cannery in ‘Iwilei.  After high school, she graduated from the Stenographic Institute of Hawaiʻi to become a court stenographer.  But upon graduation, Bank of Hawaiʻi immediately offered her a job, and she ended up staying in the banking industry for over 35 years.  Most of her banking career was with First Hawaiian Bank where she started as a teller at the Waiʻanae Branch; became a Trainer for 5 years working at several branches; then moved to the Main branch Downtown to handle imports/exports in the International Banking Division, and then became a supervisor in the Trust/Asset Department.  Even after retiring, Tita preferred to stay in the workforce.  In her kupuna years, she worked at the Customer Service desk at Home Depot Kapolei where everyone — co-workers and customers — affectionately called her Aunty Fran.  Despite her busy work life and family life, Tita also found time for the church, whether singing in the choir or teaching CCD.  She taught 1st graders, 4th graders, 5th graders, high schoolers, and First Communicants out of the family house in Honokaihale and at St. Rita Nānākuli.  She also was designated to count and log the monetary collections for all the Masses under Father Peterson.  For a few years, she and Fred also lived in Michigan, where they assisted with son Daren’s family stores and spent quality time with the grandkids there.  She always made time for her grandkids and great-grandkids, becoming a second parent to many, such as Jahna, Angel, and Ana.  She prioritized her family until the very end of her life.  

Tita loved to travel.  She enjoyed learning about other cultures and trying new foods.  Her personable spirit made it easy for her to make friends wherever she went.  Her travels took her to Austria, Bosnia & Herzogovina, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Guam, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Portugal, and all over the United States. But her favorite place was Medjugorje, where she said the village was so peaceful, and the people, so friendly.

Smile, God loves you

In 2015, her sister Frances Adams reached out to her, and the two siblings met and quickly made up for lost years.  Through her sister Frances, Tita was able to connect with her sisters Darlene, Leilani, and her brother Jesse, and many nieces and nephews.  Tita said, “I love my Chamoru family,” and she happily described it as her life coming full-circle with these reunions.  In 2017, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, which by then was all over her abdomen.  Chemotherapy did not work, yet after the doctor gave her 6 months to live, she stayed with us for another 3 beautiful years.  Although she suffered in the end, she said she could not complain knowing how much more Jesus suffered.  Before she left us, she wrote:
“My story is just beginning.  My life had been abundantly Blessed!  And now my journey begins to be with the Lord for eternity!  [Despite Covid] Our family stayed connected via Zoom!  On Sundays at 1pm we prayed the rosary; talked story and played games.  My family is in Hawaii, Florida, Michigan, Washington and Japan.  I Love God!  I love my Family, Friends and all People!  Thank you Lord for Everything!”

Making her famous Spam Musubi!

Tita is survived by:
Children Daren Joseph (HaeYoung), Debra Jean, Damon James (Karen), Dietrix Jon, DeAndra Jolene (Darryl Dew), Dutro Joshua, and hānai Jahna Palakika (Keo Aiwohi).
Grandchildren Kanani, Drake, Krystal, Maile, Frederick, Daniel, and Leilani Duhaylonsod; Joshua (Samantha), Malia (Darius Lavatai), Keala, and Isaac Duhaylonsod; Ezra Whalen; Angelica, Andreanna (Brandon Golobic), Elijah, and Eva Dew.
Great-grandchildren Zanden, Zahna, and Zaya Borges; Deziel and Denver Aiwohi; Judah Duhaylonsod; Noah, Josiah, and Mila Lavatai; Nixon Duhaylonsod; Mason and Levi Golobic.

Siblings Frances Adams, Darlene Aflague, Leilani Nelson, and Jesse Manibusan.

Special sister-in-laws Remie Magalion and Carol Villafuerte; special aunts Julita Santos, Agnes Rabe, and Margarita Palomo; cousin Esther Kai; and numerous relatives throughout the Hawaiian Islands, on Guam, and across the United States.

She is predeceased by:

Her husband Frederick Duhaylonsod; her brother Peter Villafuerte, Jr.; her parents Ruby and Peter Villafuerte; grandparents Margarita Celebrado Pasatiempo and Gregorio Sablas; greatgrandfather German Pasatiempo; special aunts Lorraine Santos Domingues, Rose Exzabe, and Maria Manibusan Cepeda; special uncle Phillip Villafuerte.

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