Mona Rae Serpa homemaker, mother and grandmother died Sunday, March 11, in Hollister, California. Mona was a longtime resident of San Jose, California and moved to San Benito County to live near her son and daughter-in-law.
She was born October 16, 1925 in Seattle, Washington and spent most of her childhood on Whidbey Island and in the Snohomish and Seattle areas. Her mother, Dessa Lee (Mercereau) Budarin came from a large French-Canadian pioneer family in northern Washington and British Columbia. Her father, Ivan Dimitry Budarin aka Jack Wagner, was born in Rostov, Russia and he immigrated to the state of Washington in 1917. During her high school years, her parents moved to San Diego, California where her father managed Bradley’s night club. She graduated from Hoover High School in San Diego in 1943. Following graduation, Mona went to work for the San Diego U.S. Naval Training Center as a secretary until 1946. That year, she moved with some girlfriends to Santa Clara, California to work for Pacific Telephone and Telegraph as a secretary. There she met Jess Serpa, who had just returned from fighting during World War II in North Africa and Europe. On July 5, 1947 they were married in Reno, Nevada. Jess and Mona resided in San Jose, California and had two sons, Thomas Michael and Robert John. Jess passed away on January 28, 1993 in San Jose, California and her son Thomas “Tom” Serpa died on June 16, 2012 in Paris, Texas.
Mona is survived by her son Robert “Bob” Serpa of San Juan Bautista and his wife, Cathi. Mona has three grandchildren: Karen Beassie of Madison, Alabama and her husband, Dean; Michael Serpa of Paris, Texas and his wife, Amanda; and Collette Navarrette of San Jose, California and her husband, Bryan. Mona has three great grandchildren: Eleanor and Noah Navarrette and Aubrey Serpa.
She will be laid to rest next to her husband, Jess, at Calgary Catholic Cemetery in San Jose, California.