Maria E.'s Story
Maria Valenciano Campos, 77, of Manchester-By-The-Sea, Mass., passed away peacefully on Thursday, January 20, 2017 at the Kaplan Family Hospice House, of Danvers. She was surrounded by her loving family.
Maria was known throughout her life as a strong, generous soul who always sacrificed her needs for the good of her family. Originally from Alajuela, Costa Rica, she was second of eight children born to Victor Manuel and Digna Maria. According to her siblings, as a young child Maria was fearless, hard working and always fun. Maria’s journey to the U.S. began when — after her father’s death — her mother responded to an ad in the local San Jose newspaper detailing a job offer with a family on Long Island. Of all her children, Digna thought Maria was the best fit for the position.
Though she had never ventured out of Costa Rica and knew no English, Maria journeyed alone in 1968 to America to begin a life where she would not only learn English, and master driving a car, but also successfully secure U.S. Citizenship. She would become godmother to the four children of the family that sponsored her to the US and eventually purchase a multi-family house of her own where she raised her two children.
Through it all, she never forgot her extended family back home, continually sending remittances and hosting family members in the U.S. for short visits or multi-year stays. After working for two families over 15 years, Maria took a job at The Stony Brook School on the kitchen staff where she remained for over a decade. She then was employed by St. Philip & James Roman Catholic Church, working for Monsignor Charles Guarino in the clergy house caring for him and the eight priests there. Maria cherished her time at the church, remaining until 1999. Her next major life decision was to move to Manchester, Mass. to be with the family of her goddaughter, Erika Brown, her husband Rus, and their children, Zoe, Gus and Theo, whom she raised, loving them as much as her own grandchildren.
In fact, nothing made Maria happier than home and family, especially her daughters, Lorena and Catie. Maria really adapted to small town living, cooking for and watching “her shows” with friends at home. She was an avid and deeply knowledgeable fan of both professional tennis and the World Wrestling Federation.
Most importantly, she was an optimist, a true “glass half full” person. She always looked to a better future, never complained and retained a strong faith throughout her life. Her character and temperament saw her through many challenges that included the 2015 diagnosis of a rare, and ultimately fatal autoimmune disease that she fought bravely and with dignity until her passing.
Maria is survived by her daughters, Lorena Milligan, of St. James, New York, and Catherine Gregorio of Port Jefferson Station, New York; and her grandchildren, Craig Milligan, Cassandra Leetz, Victoria Milligan, Damian Gregorio and Sophia Gregorio. She is also is survived by brothers, Moses, Francisco and Jose Luis and her many loving nieces and nephews in Costa Rica. Maria was predeceased by her beloved sister, Marta and brothers, Oscar, Manuel and Antonio.
Her visiting hours will be held at the Campbell Funeral Home, 525 Cabot Street, Beverly, Monday, January 23, 2017, from 4 to 7 p.m. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Information, directions, condolences at www.campbellfuneral.com.
Published on  January 21, 2017