Scottsdale / Phoenix - Remedios Figueras "Nita" Witzell joined her beloved husband Aloysius L Witzell, Jr. in God's Kingdom on March 15, 2020. Nita, or "Nanay" to many of her fellow Filipinas, was born in Manila, Philippines on August 17, 1926. Four of their 5 children, Frances, Aloysius III, Fred and Arthur were born there as well. Valerie joined the clan in Montana after the family moved to the US in 1959.
Nita graduated from Santa Isabel College, majoring in classical piano. She was a very accomplished pianist who drew the attention of a Japanese Captain in WWII Manila. He overheard her practicing, asked to be allowed to listen by the open door, explained his US education, and after complimenting Mom on her music, quietly left. A few days later, sacks of rice, live chickens, and numerous other precious food stuffs were delivered to the apartment as a thank you! This was part of a lifelong habit of welcoming all and sharing her joy with an open heart. Her music was the life of the party in the Philippines and the US.
After surviving the war in the street and dogfights in the air and meeting Al, raising and loving their children with unending devotion was Nita's calling. She taught them how to be strong like bamboo and independent. As the years passed and her husband died, they rallied beside her, becoming the "five rocks" of her life as they assisted her through increasing medical challenges in recent years. Despite these challenges she remained devoted to Al, visiting him at the National Cemetery almost weekly for 19 years, always with a cup of his favorite black coffee. And she never lost her positive outlook on life. She expressed her happiness with life and her pride in her children often. "I have five good rocks."
Nita remained upbeat, a joy of the party called life, bringing her fun-loving personality to all her friends and extended family, including her uncles, aunts and cousins and, more recently, her team of compassionate caregivers. All the wonderful people who came into her life are too numerous to list individually, but lovingly thanked by Nita's children for sharing their love of their Nanay. So, while we will all terribly miss her beautiful smile, competitive personality, and flirtatious wit, we'll all be comforted by the warm memories of having had the privilege of knowing her and being blessed with her presence.
Services will be as follows
March 22, 2020 - 1pm - 4:30pm - Visitation & Rosary
Desert Hills Mortuary and Cemetery
6500 E. Bell Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Please think of a favorite memory you would like to share during the visitation.
March 22, 2020 - 5:00pm - 8:00pm - Celebration of Life
6102 E. Juniper Ave.
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Nita truly had joy of life with a bit of naughtiness thrown in, also I met her & Al when they purchased their home from me in the 90's. We kept in touch these many years with many phone calls, emails & I visited some times. She gave me a great gift by being my friend, & support when my husband passed in 2003. Last time I visited her she said a woman's favorite words, :Have you lost weight? Sexy! I know she & Al are reunited joyfully once again & she is playing piano in God's choir.
I asked my younger brother, Art, to give the eulogy for Mom at her visitation on 3/22/2020. We always teased Art about being her "favorite" so he incorporated that into his opening remarks; it was perfect. He has beautifully captured the loving woman we called "Mother / Mom".
For those who don’t know, I’m Art, Nita’s son; the fourth child and, yes, I was the favorite one.
I’ve been asked to give the eulogy for Mom. Not something I’m prepared to do. None of us are if you think about it.
For a while I was at a loss for words of what to say. But yesterday it hit me… so here goes.
Mom had an abundance of LOVE.
She loved God; raised in the Catholic faith. She always went to church until it became too difficult for her to do so.
She loved her husband. So much so that after his death she went to the cemetery to visit him almost weekly.
She loved her kids. Ask anyone she spoke to. She was always proclaiming how proud she was of her children. The 5 Rocks, we were called. We provided her foundational support after our father passed.
She loved her friends. And she had many. And they loved her.
She loved her caregivers. And in return they loved her. She was feisty at times not wanting to take pills or do what was being asked. But they persevered and always won her over. The Filipino culture, our heritage, ensured that she would be well taken care of.
She loved everyone she came in contact with. Not to mention she was a jokester and flirt. Ask any of the doctors or nurses that briefly had time to spend with her while in the hospital and they would say… she brightens our day and we look forward to our rounds with her.
LOVE: It was in her name, Remedios. It means remedy. For our family she was the cure for our life’s ills, ailments, downfalls and low points.
LOVE: A simple word. A powerful word. And in action conquers all.
She was OUR ROCK.
We love you, Mom. We miss you, Mom.
And once again, I’m at a loss for words.
Thank you for the lovely tributes below. You have all captured some portion of Mom's essence. She loved all of you!
Menang, loved everyone and we all loved her. I first met Menang when visiting Frances and David and immediately gave her a hug and called her ‘mum’. Apparently she always referred to us as the Australians who live on the hill.
Manang enjoying and laughing at our dances😁
The world is a little darker right now without our cherished light, whom I called Manang. She was so full of light, and Love for her family, caregivers, and friends. She so loved music and dance, even though she was in her wheelchair. When Frances was in town, they came to my line dance class, and the place where we danced on Wednesday night. She sat in her chair, and rocked on with the rest of us while we danced. When Frances and I danced, she'd yell at us to "shake it girls! Remember, you're Filipino and can shake it!!" To which Frances and I would gyrate even harder, while laughing so much! She brought so much joy, energy, and laughter to our dances. I'm posting some pictures of the happy times when Manang attended our dances. I can picture her now without her wheelchair, and in the arms of her handsome husband, whom she never stopped loving. Dance on Manang, with your husband and the angels. A Hui Hou💕
One can't buy ZEST, nor Joi de vive at Whole Foods; but Nita had a pentiful supply to give to us all, and she did so fequently.
Often, our visits to Anacorte would coincide; and then we'd have fun. She came sailing a couple of years ago and, after 10 minutes aboard, was recognized as 'first mate'! (She took her time at the helm too; and would have been 'captain' if the sailing trip had been jjust a little longer! And when it cam to feasting on crab that David caught, she was the queen....eating parts of the crab that I didn't even know existed---and with gusto, of course.
Fond memories of a very fun-loving and gracious woman. Adios Nita.
Darch and Catherine Oborne, Merritt BC
In the short time I have known her, she has brought joy to my life. She is a wonderful person. My most fond memory of her is the conversations she had with her son Art. She had seen a picture of me and made a comment about me that made me laugh right there. The Witzells have been a great family to know and I love them all! I wish i could be there to share time with the whole family and laugh about all our experience together.
What a lovely woman was/is our Nita! She always made us feel so welcome, and she seemed so interested in whatever was going on in our lives. We were very blessed to be able to be with her in the last few years, though she lived some 600 miles away. We will miss her so, but then will be blessed again, to hug her, dance with her, and hopefully hear her play the piano on the other side. We love this whole family, and desperately wish we could be there to share the memories. ❣️😘🤗😍
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