Sandra Marissa Caldeira

Caldeira—Sandra Marissa Caldeira, 75, on July 29, 2023, following a stroke and massive heart attack, in Oakland, Calif. Marissa was born on November 9, 1947, to Edward Caldeira and Irene Rose Camara Caldeira Elliott in Oakland, Calif. Both parents were from families who came to the United States from the Portuguese Azores via Hawaii. Marissa had one sister, Janice.

Marissa began her education in Catholic school, eventually moving to public school. She graduated from Pacific High School in San Leandro, Calif., in 1965. Marissa enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, serving in San Diego, Calif. She maintained friendships developed while serving in the Marine Corps throughout her life.

After her discharge from the Marines, Marissa earned an associate’s degree in nursing from Chabot College in Hayward, Calif., and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from California State University, Hayward (now Cal State East Bay). In the 1990s, she earned a master’s degree in clinical psychology from John F. Kennedy University. She studied at the California Institute of Integral Studies and lived for a year at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, South India, before returning to the Bay Area and joining the Unity Church.

Marissa began work as a nurse at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif.; then as an obstetrics and surgical nurse in Heidelberg, Germany; as a psychiatric nurse at Providence Hospital in Oakland; and as a charge nurse in the psychiatric unit in the North County Jail in Oakland with Prison Health Care Services. Marissa concluded her career at John George Psychiatric Hospital in San Leandro. She retired in 2013 following a 45-year career in nursing.

In the late 1980s, Marissa began attending Quaker meetings and became a member of Berkeley (Calif.) Meeting in October 1993. She served Berkeley Meeting as a member of the Ministry and Care Committee, as recorder, and on clearness and other committees.

Marissa met Genie Stowers at Berkeley Meeting. On August 16, 1997, they married under the care of the meeting. They were married as a same-sex couple under California law in 2008. Marissa and Genie chose to celebrate the anniversary of their Quaker wedding. Marissa passed away two weeks shy of their twenty-sixth wedding anniversary.

In August 1998, they adopted Gabriela (Gabby) Stowers-Caldeira. Marissa, Genie, and Gabby enjoyed summers at Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp, traveled across the country to many national parks, spent time with other adoptive families, joined with other family members on holidays, and were active parts of Gabby’s various school communities.

Marissa was a lifelong traveler. In addition to living in Germany and India, she traveled to New Zealand, Mexico, Guatemala, Europe, Canada, and Alaska. She enjoyed cooking, reading, and watching films, and Golden State/WNBA basketball. Marissa loved their dogs and cats, but most of all she loved spending time with Genie and Gabriela.

During Marissa’s retirement, she studied Portuguese, the language of her parents’ families. She practiced tai chi, joined a BrightLine group, walked with members of the Pinole Senior Center, and got together with friends and high school classmates.

Marissa’s health declined as lupus damaged her kidneys.

Marissa is survived by her spouse, Genie Stowers; one daughter, Gabriela Stowers-Caldeira; one sister, Janice Wilkes (Larry Sammis); and two nephews.

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