After faithfully walking with the Lord on this earth, Sara Alicia Longoria de Brittingham, ninety years young, joined Him in Heaven on Monday, May 21. She will be remembered for living the words of her favorite passage from the Bible, Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Born March 26, 1928, in Laredo, Texas to parents Alice Penn and Octaviano “Chito” Longoria, Sara Alicia was the eldest of three children. Regarded as a great beauty; her loving, generous, and Christian spirit is her legacy.
As a teenager, while studying at Fairfax Hall in Waynesboro, Virginia, Sara spotted a young man with hazel eyes speaking Spanish at a diner, who she recounted was more handsome than a movie star. She later married that man, Edward “Tad” Brittingham, on June 6, 1953. They were true to their vows, relishing the high moments and serving as pillars to one another in times of sickness and need. Sara adored Tad. He patiently and devotedly shepherded her to safety and consoled her during moments of pain. Over nearly sixty-five years of marriage, they prevailed over trials and triumphs, proving love could grow beautifully like the bold red roses she planted in her backyard.
Together, they traveled the world from Africa to Asia, while raising six children in Nuevo Laredo. With the arrival of Sara’s first grandchild she was affectionately renamed “Ma Isa,” and the moniker stuck.
Her devotion to family was profound. As a mother, she hosted memorable Sunday lunches after church during which her six children developed strong bonds with extended family, neighbors, and friends. Fond memories, laughter, and love were played out in multi-generational tennis, swimming, volleyball, and card games at her home in Nuevo Laredo. She modeled prioritizing family as a grandmother by hosting reunions at least three times a year, phoning her relatives on a weekly basis, and never forgetting a birthday. Sara’s enthusiasm for travel and meaningful family memories coalesced on the trips she shared with her children and their spouses. As her family expanded with the marriages of her children and her grandchildren, she welcomed each new member into her aura of love and generosity, making every person feel like they were her “favorite.”
A zealous walker, Sara trekked many miles across the cobblestoned streets of foreign cities, dirt roads of Rancho Nuevo, sandy beaches of Port Aransas, and never missed her daily walk alongside “the wall” of Country Club Drive. A fan of celebrating others’ birthdays, she considered the day she embraced the Lord, July 7, 1975, her Christian birthday. Through her relationship with the Lord, she conquered cancer and reaped many more blessings.
She delighted in the Scriptures, and ministered His words to her family, friends, and those in need. Eventually, Sara was known for having a “direct line to God,” resulting in a prayer list that grew to hundreds of names. Each day she devoted hours to reading the Bible and praying for others. By the grace of the Lord, her prayers healed the sick, found spouses for bachelors, consoled the physically and emotionally wounded, and inspired the lost. Sometimes dubbed Barbara Walters, due to her fondness for engaging strangers in their life stories, Sara truly cared about everyone she encountered. The kindness she radiated left an indelible mark.
She was passionate about the needs of orphans and devoted time to ministering at the prison in Nuevo Laredo. During her time in Nuevo Laredo, she established and supported Casa Hogar Elim, was a president and staunch member of Las Damas Vicentinas, and later was instrumental in helping Pastor Ken Robeson raise the necessary funds to move and build The First Assembly of God Church to its current location on McPherson Ave. For years, she was a member of the church’s Board. Most recently, she was a member of Grace Bible Church in Laredo. With her Prayer Warrior group, she forged deep friendships and channeled the power of prayer for positive impact.
She reveled in the role of Ma Isa, grandmother. From playing hide-and-seek in the annexes of La Casa Grande, to arranging numerous trips, Ma Isa never skipped a graduation or Grandparents’ Day. Through relentless status update calls, prayers, and words of encouragement she inspired and celebrated the milestones in her grandchildren’s lives. She bestowed upon them her love for, among other things: chocolate, the San Antonio Spurs, shopping (and finding a good deal), Scrabble and Words With Friends, storytelling, and family gatherings.
To the following, her family extends gratitude for the steadfast support in her final months: the kind, gentle, and dedicated caregivers, Gracie Castillo, Sanjuana Solis Longoria, Marta Hernandez López, and Irma Vasquez; the attentive concerned care of Dr. Dennis Cantu; and, the responsive, committed nursing staff at Laredo Medical Center.
She passed away in peace, surrounded by her devoted husband Tad and six loving children: Edward Brittingham (Monica), Catherine Saxon (Steven), Thomas Brittingham (Christina), Gail Sanditen (Barry), Alice Werstak (Bruce), and Juan Brittingham. Her memory and spirit will live on through her grandchildren: Natalie Nihill Ruberto (James Ruberto), Eduardo “Barclay” Nihill (fiancé Marcella Medina); Thomas (Cristel), Andrew (Kimberly), and David Brittingham; Shelby, Britt, and Sarah Sanditen; Caroline, Nicole, and Camila Werstak; and Tad Brittingham; step-granddaughter Fernanda Marina; and great-grandchildren: Olivia and Claire Brittingham. She is also remembered by her siblings, Gloria Longoria de Padilla and Octaviano “Chito” Longoria, Jr., and the host of extended family and friends she touched with her grace.
A life well lived.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Sara’s honor to:
Grace Bible Church of Laredo
online – gmclaredo.org or 5303 Alabama Ave., Laredo, TX 78041
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Laredo Office
online – www.jdrf.org>sctx or 8610 North New Braunfels, Ste. 700, San Antonio, TX, 78217
Services will be held Thursday, May 24, 2018, at Fred Dickey Funeral & Cremation Services. The family will receive friends and guests at 9:00 am. Chapel service will officiate at 11:00 am. Interment will follow in the Calvary Catholic Cemetery.
Funeral arrangements are by Fred Dickey Funeral & Cremation Services, 1320 Trey Dr, Laredo, TX 78041, (956)723-3611. You may leave condolences to the family online at www.freddickey.com