Emelita Ponio Manalang
Jul 6, 1942 – Oct 11, 2015
Emelita Ponio Manalang
Emelita Ponio Manalang passed away peacefully at St. Francis Hospital on October 11, 2015 in Federal Way, WA at the age of 73 after a long battle with cancer.
She is survived by her beloved husband Santiago Manalang of Federal Way, son Joseph Manalang and his wife Dana of Seattle, daughter Susan Bialous and her husband Roger of Seattle, sisters Erlinda Ponio and Nenita Constantino of the Philippines, and grandchildren Adam Joseph, William Paul, Kira Emily and Alaina Joy. She was preceded in death by her brother Reynaldo Ponio.
She was born July 6, 1942 in Floridablanca Philippines and was the third of four children to her parents Vitaliano and Dalmacia Ponio. It was in 1957, when she was elected Miss St. Augustine (high school homecoming queen) that her future husband, Santiago, first attempted to court her. She aspired to become a doctor, however, and took her studies very seriously, with little time for romance. Financial constraints led her to a Pharmacy degree from the University of Santo Tomas, the oldest university in the Philippines. In 1966, against her parents’ wishes, she found her way stateside to the University of Texas in Houston as an exchange student, and never looked back. Eight years after his first attempt, Santiago, now a Boeing engineer in Seattle, resumed his courtship with Emelita by mail. They were married in Seattle on September 7, 1968. They lived the next 47 years in Auburn and Federal Way happily raising their children, Joseph and Susie, and establishing a wide and loving network of friends.
Emelita worked for 18 years as a Medical Technologist at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, WA. When there was illness in the house, she was quick with the hypodermic needle, drawing blood from husband and children to analyze at work the next day. The family was rarely ill. She worked nights for many years until the children were old enough to be home alone. She was a motivated and diligent worker, and was not afraid to tackle new challenges. She ventured into medical equipment sales, started a Red Cross laboratory in Medford, OR, and even spent a few years administering the research & development of a flying car prototype. She retired at the age of 60.
Emelita took great pleasure serving others in her community. She was a devout Catholic who worshipped for many years at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, and most recently at St. Vincent De Paul in Federal Way. She led a weekly Rosary prayer group for many years until she was unable to attend them. She volunteered often, making and delivering food to those in need, providing communion to those unable to attend church, among other things. One of her proudest achievements was planning the local annual Filipino Christmas cultural celebration known as Simbang Gabi, where for many years she oversaw all parts of the religious musical program, and the reception afterwards. She also served as a member of the board of directors of the Fil-Am Association where she made a lasting impact, and was a past president of the Circulo Pampangueno.
In her later years, Emelita enjoyed travelling with her husband and friends. Of the many cruises they took, her favorite was the Mediterranean. She especially enjoyed her pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where she was able to indulge in the spiritual history she had become so familiar with. Her greatest joy, however, was spending time with family, especially her grandchildren. She was blessed to have cared for each child as babies and impart her love and legacy on them.
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