Sometimes, there are people in life that you gravitate towards because they're full of light. My mother was one of those people.
Always smiling. Always laughing. And always being the center of the room wherever she went.
My mom touched lives in more ways than just one, she was a person that motivated you, a person that comforted you, and most importantly, a person that cared for you.
Born on February 27, 1954, in Aloguinsan, Barili, Cebu, Philippines, my mom attended high school, college, and medical school in the Philippines before coming over to the United States in 1983.
She worked as a physician and clinical director for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Rosebud IHS Hospital in Rosebud, South Dakota for 10 years before undergoing residency training at the University of North Dakota for Family Medicine. After completing her residency training, my mom left the reservation shortly after I was born and became a family physician here at the Blair Clinic; where she would remain a prominent figure around the hospital for the next 16 years. Whether it was her famous high-heeled shoes clicking down the floor or her quirky mannerisms that always made people laugh, my mother always left a little sparkle wherever she goes.
After retiring from the Blair Clinic in 2013, my mother returned to her first home with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and took over the position of the clinical director before settling into her final role as ER Supervisor for the Rosebud IHS Hospital.
She was passionate. She was loved. And she always made sure everyone was taken care of. Just like in the Blair Clinic and Hospital, she couldn't walk down the hallways without someone stopping her and going "Villa!" and giving her a huge hug. She touched hearts where she went and those hearts in return always touched hers.
My mom was diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer in March of 2020 after we had gotten back from our most recent trip to the Philippines for her class reunions. She fought cancer with everything she had, undergoing treatment until the very end. She was a fighter and everyone knew it, she was not going to go down without a fight and that's exactly what she did. However, with all good things that must come to an end, she lost her battle with cancer on October 19, 2020.
Her legacy will never be forgotten. The hearts she touched, the babies she delivered, and the funny things she said will forever be etched in our minds and in our hearts. Celebrate her life in the way she would want it to be celebrated, with joy and laughter around every corner.
She was and still is, the light of my father and I's life.
We love you very much mom and it's never goodbye, it's see you soon.
Dr. Ruth Villafranca is survived by her husband, Dr. Jesse Villafranca, her daughter, Dr. Jassalya (Jash) Villafranca, and her younger sister, Ophelia Manigos Morales.
She was cremated and her ashes will be spread overlooking the Rosebud Indian Reservation.
A memorial service will be held in her honor with an announcement in a few weeks' time.
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe will honor her memory and dedicated service with a "Dr. Villafranca Day" being held every year on November 14.
Rest in Power Mom, We Love You.
Arrangments by Campbell Aman Funeral Home.