Of Citrus Heights, CA, and formerly a long time resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, passed away on July 25, 2018 at the age of 86, she was a native of Spain. Survived by children, Maria del Carmen (Steve) Karden, Cristina (Tony) Brisbane, Jamie (Courtney) Perez, and Patricio (Louise) Polanco, grandchildren, Matthew Karden, Zack Karden, Noey Brisbane, Andre Brisbane, Amanda Perez, Tyler Rocco and Alexandra Perez, nieces and nephews, Elisa, Maria Jesus, Luis and Maria Josephina, and sister, Concepcion Garzon Herrero. Family and friends are welcome to attend the memorial mass on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at 8:30AM at Holy Family Catholic Church (7817 Old Auburn Road, Citrus Heights, CA)
Carmen was born in Benilloba, Spain – the 3rd of 4 beautiful girls to Jesus Garzon Nunez and Maria Joaquina Herrero Pla. She married Desiderio C. Perez and had her first daughter, Maria, while living in Spain. Carmen and her small family all moved to Pittsburgh Pa in 1953. She had no knowledge of the language or the culture, yet being the strong, courageous woman that she was; she learned the language, attended and graduated from The Pittsburgh Beauty Academy and started her own business within a few short years of moving to a new country. Shortly after opening Carmen’s Beauty Salon, she had her second daughter, Cristina, and 8 years later her son, Jamie.
Her older sisters Pilar and Maruha passed away at the young ages of 37 and 39…leaving “dos hermanas pequenas” (the 2 little sisters) Carmen and Conchita: Carmen here in the U.S. and Conchita in Spain. Distance could not separate them as they were always so close and shared their lives via telephone and occasional visits.
Carmen’s zest for life was apparent in everything she did. A lifelong member of St Catherine’s Catholic Church in Beechview, she was well known for her infectious laugh, great sense of humor, delicious paella, scrumptious flan and love of life. Carmen was always a vibrant participant in almost every function at the Church. She often hosted the priests and nuns at her home for dinners and was always more than happy to deliver some of her delicious food to the convent and priest house. She always took great pride in hosting dinner events and setting a beautiful table.
Carmen’s Beauty Salon thrived for 50 years (give or take) and was a source of great laughter and love – here is where she made lifelong friends and customers. She was highly involved in the Spanish Club of Pittsburgh, La Fiesta Dance Troupe, and Los de Pata Negra.
Party animal is a description that comes to mind when you think of Carmen…well into her 80’s you could still find her dancing to her favorite Spanish music at parties and at concerts in the park. She loved her family more than anything…her 3 children Maria, Cristina, and Jamie, her sister Conchita, her grandchildren Matthew, Zack, Tyler, Noey, Lexi, and Andre’, her nieces and nephews Maria Josephina, Luis, Elisa, and Maria Jesus….and of course her adopted granddaughter Amanda and her adopted son Patricio. Surrounded by so much love and laughter as she would always tell us to take “sun ting” for a headache, or ask us “what the heck are you making?” , and “oh mai lort, I can’t believe that happened”…and if there was something she didn’t like she would simply nod her head and exclaim I “hashe dat”. But when something was good….it was “soooooooooooooooooo gooooooot”
Sassy, vibrant, energetic, and infectious – 4 words commonly associated with Carmen. Everybody who met her loved her….after the sale of her home in 2016, she traveled the country living with each of her children for a few months at a time and then to Spain where she would spend 3 months with her beloved sister Conchita and all of her extended family. Carmen left a mark everywhere she visited – a recent celebration of her life here in Ca brought upwards of 60 people to come share wonderful memories with our family….and she was only here a few months per year.
Her main Funeral service will be held in Pittsburgh Pa sometime in October – we are anticipating close to 200 people will be in attendance!
Mom, we all love and miss you terribly but we know that you are already kicking up your heels with your friends and family who went before you. Until we meet again, mom, you are always in our hearts!