Teodorica “Dori” Domingo Gundayao was born in San Esteban Rizal, Nueva Ecija, Philippines, on July 1, 1935. She was the youngest, last surviving child of five siblings (Luisa, Jose, Felimon and Cecilio). Dori’s nickname was “Teddy” amongst her family and friends. She attended the University of the Philippines to pursue a veterinary degree, however, made a decision to marry the love of her life, Alfonso, after 10 months of courtship, on August 25, 1956. During Alfonso’s Navy career, Dori raised and cared for their four kids (Kathy, Allbright, Jenniffer and Filmer) in the Philippines while attending cosmetology school. In 1971, the family moved and settled in Ventura County, CA when Alfonso was transferred to the Point Mugu Naval Air Station. Here, their last child, Leizl, was born.
Dori worked as a quality control inspector for Becton Dickinson for a number of years before the headquarters moved to New Jersey. Subsequently, Dori attended school to become a LVN/licensed psychiatric technician. She was employed at Camarillo State Hospital until the hospital shut down in 1997. She then vanpooled from Oxnard to Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk up through her retirement in 2001.
Dori was a devout catholic, holding many prayer sessions in her house to anyone that wanted to pray with her. She and Alfonso built an amazing prayer room which is filled with many treasures (statues of Saints and the Virgin Mary, Divine Mercy, and Infant Jesus) from their international travels. She worked a lot of overtime not just to support her family but also to travel through pilgrimages, having touched all 7 continents. After each return she was always excited to recount all the things they saw and did during their trips, especially their hikes to collect holy water (as evidenced by the many jugs of water that was found in their closet!). She also took pride in her garden, planting miniature fruit trees and one big persimmon tree. Persimmons were shipped across the country to her loved ones. She also enjoyed reading health and wellness books and learned how to do reflexology. You were in trouble when she broke out with a pen or pencil to massage your pressure points!
Dori was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013. Suffice to say, it was difficult for the family to see how the disease would take her memory and mental capacity because she was such a strong figure of the Gundayao clan. This was not our mama. Despite this, her legacy of strength, will and determination, continues as can be seen in the more apparent and ever slight traces of “little Dori” in each and every one of her kids, grandkids and great grandkids.
Dori is survived by her loving husband of 65 years, Alfonso, her five children and their spouses: Kathy and her husband Bob Touake, Allbright and his wife Emy Gundayao, Jenniffer Gundayao, Filmer Gundayao, and Leizl and her husband Jeff Mendiola; her 10 grandchildren and their spouses: Kristine and her husband Brandon Duff, Kim and her husband Eli Blond, Jason Gundayao, Dante Gundayao, Malia Gundayao, Drew Gundayao, Zoe Mendiola, Noah Gundayao, Nia Mendiola, and Kai Schaefer; and her two great grandchildren: Emorah Urbana Blond and Aria Teodorica Duff.
In Lieu of flowers, please donate to the Alzheimer's Association www.alz.org as a tribute to Dori