Isabel Navasca “Lola” Corpuz
July 7, 1927 – April 1, 2023
VISITATION: Sunday, April 16th, 3pm, with 5pm VIGIL SERVICE at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 2206 Binney Street.
MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Monday, 10am, Sacred Heart Catholic Church. A luncheon will follow at the West Center Chapel in Omaha.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a small donation in her name, memory, and honor, to a favorite library or school of your choice. Notable options include Costa Catholic School in Galesburg, Illinois; Bishop Lynch High School in Dallas, Texas; and Mary Our Queen Catholic School, Creighton Preparatory School, and Marian High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Education was truly her passion and calling, and her family would like that tradition to continue through your kind reflections.
Saturday evening, April 1, 2023, one of Earth’s angels took her rightful place among all the angels in heaven. Born July 7, 1927, in Villasis, Pangasinan, Philippines, Isabel Navasca Corpuz (or “Lola” as she was widely known), daughter of Felix and Maria Angeles Navasca, passed away comfortably in her own bed and her own home, surrounded by loved ones… just as she wanted.
She is reunited with Dr. Raymundo R. Corpuz, her husband of 33 years, her brothers and sisters who went to heaven before her, nieces and nephews who left us too soon, and her own devoted parents. She is survived by her two adult sons and their wives, Victor Corpuz and Terry Hopkins of Dallas, Texas, and Dr. Ralph and Susan Corpuz of Omaha, Nebraska. She leaves behind five beautiful grandchildren, Maria, Michael, Thomas, and Katie, in Omaha, and Stefano in Dallas.
Education was a top priority for Lola, having graduated from the Catholic University of Santo Tomas, in Manila, Philippines, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, majoring in English. She attended graduate school at the University of the Philippines, double majoring in English and Literature, Administration, and Supervision. Her teaching career began in the Philippines. Indeed, Lola earned the award for Outstanding Secondary Classroom Teacher in Quezon City, former capital of the Philippines. Subsequently, she was appointed Head Coordinator of the English Department.
Soon thereafter, guided by the promise of a better life in the United States for her husband and two boys, Lola departed the Philippines with her family in 1968. She taught for four years at St. Elizabeth School in Baltimore, Maryland. Once the family moved to Illinois, she taught at Costa Catholic School, in Galesburg. Concurrently, she earned a Master’s Degree in English and Literature from Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. The University offered her a teaching position; however, the task of raising two young boys and supporting her husband compelled her to decline the offer.
A teacher for 50 years in the Philippines, Maryland, and Illinois, Lola touched countless lives and generations of students and their parents. It was heart-warming to hear parents tell their child they wanted him or her to be taught by Lola because they had been taught by her 25-30 years earlier. As a lasting tribute to her passion and commitment, upon her retirement, Costa Catholic School re-named its library the Isabel Corpuz Learning Center. In her 50 years as a teacher, Lola ignited the passion for learning for thousands of students, as well as for her two own sons and five grandchildren.
Education was her passion, and music was her delightful distraction. An accomplished pianist, she played Filipino favorites by memory on the piano for hours at a time. She encouraged, indeed insisted, her two sons to learn the piano. And so, Lola was their first teacher. She often made it clear that education and music went hand-in-hand, and always emphasized that one should always be well-rounded. She was beyond proud when her grandchildren learned the piano as well as several other instruments. Her joy truly came when her fingers were on the piano, and her grandchildren were playing the guitar or ukulele, and singing along with her.
A fabulous, accomplished cook, it was always a labor of love for Lola to roll each lumpia, and grill Filipino barbecue, using a meat marinade that contained dozens of spices, while turning the skewers evenly. Her pancit was simply divine. Friends found an excuse to come over when Lola was cooking.
She was loved by all, young and old, close friends, and casual acquaintances, because she was a caring person with boundless love, affection, and understanding. After retiring from teaching, in August 2000, Lola lived with Ralph and Susan in Omaha and visited Victor and Terry in Dallas often. In both Omaha and Dallas, Lola brought her laughter and joy to new groups of friends. Her circle of friends grew quickly and steadily to cover Omaha and Dallas. It seems that everyone knew Lola or knew of Lola. She attended school events, games, and recitals. Lola enjoyed nightly dinners where she shared stories from her childhood in the Philippines, told jokes, and mused about other wisdom with the family.
Last July, on Lola’s 95th birthday, she was blessed to be surrounded by family and friends from throughout the U.S. The party was full of music, laughter, and delicious Filipino food.
Lola was free of judgment, and now she takes her place among all the other angels. From above, Lola will keep a watchful eye on, and surely brag about, her grandchildren to the other grandmother angels.