Fondly called “Mama Teng,” Maria Teresa Banson was revered as a mother figure to students and colleagues.
Before migrating to Southern California in April 2005, she taught computer science and other subjects at St. Paul University, Iloilo City, Philippines.
“Mama extended her motherly figure to her students at St Paul. She would guide and inspire her advisory class and was one of the go-to teachers,” her daughter Aileen Banson told the Asian Journal.
The older Banson was known for being talkative, yet inquisitive, which was why students sought her for advice.
“She would ask questions and let you feel that she is present and listening. Her contagious smile was what made her approachable and [not] intimidating and her aura made you comfortable around her,” Aileen added.
When she arrived in her new home, Banson found employment as a secretary at an immigration law firm. She then moved to Hubert Humphrey Comprehensive Health Center, a primary and urgent care center operated by Los Angeles County, where she was employed as a clerk for almost 12 years. There, she was known for sharing food with her co-workers.
Banson — who had survived a stroke 20 years ago and was hypertensive and borderline diabetic — began showing symptoms on June 2 and tested positive for COVID-19 four days later. She was admitted to the hospital on June 10 and was moved to the intensive care unit by the 16th, during which she was sedated for 11 days until her death on June 27. She was 62 years old.
Banson lived in Huntington Park, California with Rolando Banson, her husband of 40 years. She is survived by two brothers, Danilo Baltazar and Mario Baltazar; her four children, Aileen Banson, Kim Roland Banson, Jule Bryan Banson and Ken Philip Banson; and one grandchild.
“One of her most prized possessions was her Toyota Camry hybrid car that she loved driving around but funnily enough never took to the freeway because she was afraid of freeways. She acted as the ‘GPS’ to my dad whenever they had long drives and my dad would sometimes tease her that that was one of her ways of dominating him,” Aileen said.
Her children remember Banson for being thoughtful by always checking in through a text or phone call. When they got together as a family, she would come bearing fruits and make sure they were well fed.
Outside of work, Banson loved to travel with her best friend, Mary Therese Valdevieso, who was also a teacher at St. Paul. The two would visit their former students across the U.S.
“She had planned a lot more travels and it is unfortunate that these plans will not materialize anymore. But it is somehow comforting to think that she embarked on her ultimate travel — to heaven,” Aileen said.
Her family plans to put her to rest in the Philippines when it is safe to travel.