Theodora Ivalyn Law was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on May 3, 1937 to Emma (Marques) and Russell Law. As a young adult Teddy’s mother had moved to Honolulu, Hawaii where she met her future husband, Russell Eugene Law, who was serving in the United States Army and who later earned a silver star for his service during World War II. Theodora, or Teddy, as she was affectionately known, had the vivid memory of being only four years old in Honolulu during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Being a military family Russell, Emma, Teddy, and her sister Tessa McCray (Bob), lived in many different places throughout the United States including Japan. She seemed to love those places and the people she met. She would tell the story of once going to the movies with another military brat to see The Creature of the Black Lagoon. She and her friend were really frightened, covered their faces with their hands and were screaming. The theater was full of Japanese, and they seemed to enjoy these American girls screaming in panic.
After graduating from Boise High School in Idaho, Teddy went to the Sacred Heart School of Nursing in Spokane, Washington and graduated in 1959 with a nursing diploma, something of which she was very proud. Her all-girls Catholic nursing school was run by the Sacred Heart Nuns, and she treasured those memories and the life-long friendships with her classmates by keeping in touch with them over the years and going to every reunion that she could.
Teddy went back to Honolulu, Hawaii with some friends and enjoyed working at Queens Hospital. Together with her friends Teddy moved to San Francisco and worked as a nurse at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital and there met her husband, Joe. He was a resident physician at the time and was called to the emergency room where he saw her and was immediately attracted to her. Afterwards, he went to a little nurse and asked for Teddy’s phone number. The nurse pointed out that she was not supposed to give out an employee’s telephone number, but she was a little giddy at the time and gave it to Joe. They started to date and shortly afterwards got married at St. Agnes Catholic Church in San Francisco in 1966.
The two moved to Sacramento where Joe set up a surgical practice and later moved to San Antonio, Texas where Joe changed specialties at the University of Texas Medical School. After completing his residency in plastic surgery they moved to San Jose, California.
Teddy was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to Joe. Their love was deep. She enjoyed having parties for friends and family. They had three children who were a joy. In their younger years Teddy and Joe often attended medical meetings, with Teddy accompanying Joe. Together they enjoyed visiting new places and renewing old friendships.
If there was any word that could describe Teddy it would be “sweet”. She was kind to everyone she met and didn’t have a judgmental bone in her body although she had strong convictions. She was also honest, genuine, loyal and refused to give in to gossip. While she devoted her life to her family and her home, which she always had decorated beautifully for every occasion, she also volunteered at various hospitals, churches, and pro-life groups. For many years Teddy was a Sunday school teacher and then later made her church, St. Francis Cabrini, her second home with dear friends and her choir.
Together with Joe, Teddy provided her children with every possible opportunity that a child could want driving them to various athletic practices and events, as well as dance and piano lessons. Her son, Joe, fondly remembers his mom’s tireless efforts at driving him to all of his sports activities. Her daughter, Caroline (Tom Hood) did not have a sister and so Teddy let her borrow clothes, jewelry, and make up, and the two exchanged countless stories of their lives. Teddy’s love of children enabled her to be the best Nana ever. She transformed her home into a welcoming and nurturing environment for her grandchildren. She created reading nooks, imaginative bins for discovery, cabinets for exploration, as well as letting her youngest granddaughter play with her jewelry and put curlers in her hair.
She was the life of her husband, Joe. She will be missed by countless friends and family members, but most especially her husband who will terribly miss her. She died peacefully on November 6, 2020 in San Jose, California. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady of Peace Church in Santa Clara followed by her internment at Los Gatos Memorial Park.
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