Lilia Ventura Cabrera, M.D., 82, of Towaco, formerly of Pompton Plains, died at home on February 19, 2021 in the loving care of her family.
Born in Pampanga, Philippines, Lilia was the daughter of Leocardio and Juanita Ventura. In 1968, upon finishing her undergraduate and medical studies at Far Eastern University - Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation, she moved to the United States to start her internship at Overlook Hospital in Summit, NJ. While working at Overlook, her fiancé, Mario Cabrera, flew from the Philippines to marry her. Although her wedding dress was lost on the trip, the groom fortunately arrived safe and sound. Due to a shared sense of propriety, they were married on the very day he arrived in the US at Overlook Hospital's chapel.
Lilia completed her residency at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, NJ, and once a certified Physician of Internal Medicine, utilized her intelligence and legendary stamina to pursue parallel careers as staff physician at AT&T’s corporate headquarters in Basking Ridge, retiring in 1996, and at Chilton Memorial Hospital in Pompton Plains, retiring in 2012. She and her husband worked together to achieve the American dream for their family and generously supported the efforts of others to achieve theirs too.
Lilia’s ability to endure was tested when she was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. Originally given a prognosis of three to six months, she defied experts by living an additional six years. During that time, she startled her neighbors by insisting that her ever-sharp gardening shears served as an acceptable substitute for a cane.
Lilia is survived by her husband, Mario; her daughters, Limarie Cabrera and her husband Christopher Missett, and Ina Cabrera and son-in-law Jeremy Franck; her siblings, Celia Quion, Leila Stuart, Don Ventura, and Nelvia Yusi; and her grandchildren, Matthew Missett, Lucy Franck, and Ruby Franck. She was beloved by her many nephews and nieces, including Joanne Quion Jones. She was predeceased by her sister Delia Arguelles in 2012.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Memorial Mass will be held at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Memorial-Sloan Kettering, Chilton Memorial Hospital, or a charitable organization of your choice would be greatly appreciated by the Cabrera family.