Monica Cardenas was born with her twin brother Malcolm in Paddington, England to parents of Irish and English descent. After World War II she was raised by the Ishlin Convent Nuns. In 1955 she sought the American dream, migrating to Santa Monica, where she joined her sister Maureen.
While at a party in Westwood, Monica met the love of her life, a young Mexican law student, who would later become a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge. With her blue eyes, red hair, fair skin and British accent, many were often confused and humored when Mrs. Raymond Cardenas showed up.
In 1960, Monica and Raymond married and spent 53 years together living in Pacific Palisades. Together, they raised four children, Marion, Gloria, Christina and Michael, and for eighteen months, baby Raymond.
She enjoyed knitting for her grandchildren, Erin, Will, Matthew, Clare, Megan, Joseph, Catalina, Wyatt and Harper, and as they matured, built meaningful relationships with their Nana. Monica’s optimism was infectious, her can-do spirit uniquely hers, and her storytelling was legendary.
Even in the face of great adversity, she always saw the bright side of life. She was a survivor, full of love, strong in faith and character, sprinkled with copious amounts of wit and laughter. Her daily phone calls to family and friends not only brightened the day, but was filled with wisdom, compassion, and, sometimes, unsolicited advice. Of course, always sipping her coffee along the way. She was generous, thoughtful, creative, and loving in small and large ways. Monica never knew a stranger and had the gift of the gab. Whether shopping, attending Las Fortunas events or UCLA football games, she made long lasting friendships. Monica knew who she was and was most comfortable in her own skin. She was determined and driven by curiosity to interact with people in every way and everyday. Monica would treat a President of a Fortune 500 company, or a peasant, just the same, and each would see her with the same manner, speech, interest and sincerity. Of her finest characteristics, this one was the most outstanding, extraordinary and unforgettable. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to UCLA Unicamp, www.unicamp.org/cardenas/.
A memorial mass will be held on Monday, January 15th at 11:00 a.m. at Corpus Christi Church in Pacific Palisades.
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