Lourdes Ongkingco Nassar was born in Manila, Philippines on 10 September 1936, the eldest of the five children of Pacifico Ongkingco and Leonor Dizon. She graduated from Philippine Women’s University with a Bachelors’ Degree in Nutrition and Home Economics and became a Registered Dietitian. Shortly after graduating, she took a chance and moved to the United States by herself in her early 20s. She completed her dietary internship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and shortly after moved to Canada to take a position at a hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba, then moved to St Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, and finally to Doctors’ Hospital in Toronto where she served as Chief Dietitian until 1971. After raising her three children in the Toronto area, Lourdes moved to New York City in 1990 where she worked for hospitals in the Bronx and Queens until she retired a few years ago.
In her younger days Lourdes enjoyed exploring new places and cultures and even took a world tour in the 1960s, when jet-setting was still a new concept. She was a city girl at heart and always liked to be where there was excitement and urban life. She loved living in New York City and going to street fairs, visiting museums, shopping, and worshipping at various churches in the Bronx and Manhattan. Lourdes was a devout Roman Catholic, her faith in God was strong and helped her through many difficult years, especially when she was married and raising her children. She was a loving mother and is survived by her three children Maryam (and husband John), Raymond (and wife Kavitha), and Alex, and grandson Jude. Even in her later years as her mobility decreased, she made every effort to visit her children in Toronto twice a year, which often involved a visit to a buffet or two, and a few games of Scrabble.
Lourdes was a caring daughter to her parents, and a loving sister to Jun, Tess, Pablo, and Helen. She was also a good friend, and her family and friends could always count on a birthday card with handwritten greetings every year. She remembered the important dates in people’s lives without fail and was just a phone call away to those in need.
Lourdes loved to learn new things and to read and research information on the internet to improve her mind, she had a love of knowledge and was never bored. She was fiercely independent and valued her freedom. She enjoyed her later years living the way she wanted, a simple, practical, and frugal life of peace and prayer. Her mind was sharp and she was able to take care of herself in her own home right up to the end. She did not suffer, she died peacefully at home on 12 July 2020. She will be missed very much by all those who loved her. May she rest in peace.
Funeral service: St John’s Chapel of St Michael’s Cathedral, 65 Bond St, Toronto, Ontario, Canada at 10:00am on 4 August 2020.