Nersa "Nena" Alvarez Maceo Mitchell passed away peacefully on June 17, 2013 at the age of 83. She was born on November 20, 1929 in Puerto Padre, Cuba. She leaves behind her beloved family including husband Joseph Mitchell and 5 children: Thomas, Joseph Jr., Mary, Stuart, and William and eight grandchildren: Lauren, Trevor, Whitney, Steven, Nathan, Grace and Charlotte. She also had three great grandchildren: Weston, Sawyer, and Indiana. She leaves behind daughters-in-law Carlota Mitchell and Laurie Mitchell and son-in-law Ron Calderon. Additionally, she leaves behind her beloved family in Cuba, including sister Ester, niece Ana Alicia and her husband Orlando and their son, Orlando Jr. Her death is preceded by her dear mother Alicia and her father, Hector, and her nephew, Raphael "Kiko", all from Cuba. Nersa also had many beloved friends and family members in Miami, Florida.
Nersa first traveled to the United States in 1950 to attend Pineland College in North Carolina, where she met Joseph MacPhail Mitchell, of Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina who was attending Edwards Military Institute. While attending Pineland College, Nersa was chosen to be a Princess of the local May Fair Court. After Joseph served as an Airman in Japan as part of the Korean War, he returned to marry "Nena" in Cuba. Nersa later gave birth to Thomas at a military base in Texas, where Mr. Mitchell was concluding his enlistment in the Air Force. Subsequently, they moved to Cuba. Being raised as a farmer, Joseph soon acquired a small ranch in Manati, Cuba where Nersa gave birth to Joe Jr, and they lived there happily until they lost everything to the Castro regime in 1960.This dark time eventually led to other opportunities, including Mary’s birth in North Carolina and their relocation to Costa Rica and later Colombia, where Stuart was born, as Mr. Mitchell was hired to serve as the Regional Director of the Peace Corps. In 1969 William was born in Evanston, Illinois where Mr. Mitchell worked for the Federal Government. In 1971 they moved to their present location on Fairview Drive in La Canada, where eventually all five children would graduate from La Canada High School.
Nersa's love of Cuba and her family there was never far from her heart, even though she was separated from them for over 19 years, until finally she was allowed to see her mother, sister, and others in 1979. Sadly, her father Hector passed away in 1972 before she could see him again. She made many trips during the ensuing years and several with her children, including the last time in May, 2012 with her daughter Mary. In addition to being a homemaker, Nersa attended Pasadena City College for many years, taking English, sewing, French, and mathematics coursework and for a time she worked as a secretary of a local insurance agent. She was an "Avon Lady" for more than 25 years, provided childcare for local families, and was employed by the La Canada United Methodist Church in their nursery (Nersa always said she loved babies). She attended Bible Study classes with her dear friend Dolores Doudy in La Canada and San Marino. Nersa enjoyed taking trips whenever she could and while living in La Canada, traveled to Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Miami, Pender Island, Guatemala, where her son William and wife Carlota were married, and Costa Rica. Two locations she really wanted to visit included Spain and France, but the top of her list was always, and forever will be, Cuba.
The family would like to thank Joe Jr. and Mary for providing much appreciated care during these past few years and also to Paquita Gubatan, Maria Montoya, Doug and Georgette Tuttle, and Bellsey Mateus,who were her friends and care providers.Appreciation also goes to the Eisenhower Convalescent Home and Vitas Hospice who cared for her in her final days. Mary was present with Nersa as she ascended to Heaven. She will be dearly missed and we were blessed to be touched by her love, her sense of humor, and dedication to family. A funeral for family and friends will be held at Forest Lawn in Glendale. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation be made to the Convalescent Aid Society in Pasadena.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun