Tanchis Alcerro died peacefully surrounded by family on May 18th at Serenity House in Santa Barbara, she was 96. She and her husband Ramon were the longest residents of Vista del Monte having lived there for 25 years.
Tanchis was born June 30th, 1924 in Marcala, Honduras, Central America to Adan Bonilla, MD and Rosario Bonilla. She was 1 of 6 children. She met Ramon in 1947 and it was love at first sight. They were married 6 weeks later and were together for 72 years until he passed in July of 2019. They raised 3 sons and 1 daughter together, emigrating to the United States in 1958 to Boston where she got her master’s degree in social work from Boston University.
They moved the family to Los Angeles in 1960. Tanchis became a psychiatric social worker at Cedar Sinai Medical center where she worked for 17 years. Raising a family in the 1960’s and 70’s could be a challenge, but not for these two. Their home was the center for the neighborhood as well as a second home for countless nieces and nephews to come to the United States and complete their University educations. They were parents, counselors and friends to so many.
Once their youngest son completed University in 1977, they decided it was time to return to Honduras and “retire”, which eventually became the family joke. They purchased a small private hospital, remodeled and restored it and together ran it for the next 13 years. Ramon as the administrator and Tanchis training the nursing staff all while continuing a private counseling practice from her home office.
These two knew how to enjoy life. They were known for huge family celebrations and for always opening their home to family and friends. With their three sons living in Los Angeles and with a desire to slow down and “retire” again, they returned to the United States to be close to their children and grandchildren. They settled in the Palm Springs area and once again got busy with counseling and Rotary. Making many new friends in their new community.
But the grandchildren were calling and Palm Springs was a bit too far away, so in 1996 they moved to Santa Barbara and Vista del Monte. Often regulars at the grandchildren’s soccer matches, swim meets and school events they made friends wherever they went. Ramon continued to work at Cottage Hospital and CALM and that expanded their circle of friends. Their legendary birthday and anniversary parties often drew 100-200 friends and family and they loved to share their celebrations.
They were the ambassadors for Vista del Monte, welcoming new residents, introducing them to others and visiting residents in the health center. Tanchis was famous for her tea parties, always remembering birthdays and being there for anyone in need. But maybe most especially for her amazing nativity display each Christmas on their patio. Every year it grew a bit more as she collected more nativities and
added more lights.
Tanchis was preceded in death by her parents and siblings, daughter Sandra and her beloved Ramon.
She is survived by son Frank Fortin (of Alhambra), daughter-in-law Maggie, grandchildren Frank Jr., Adrienne and Kristopher, son Oscar Alcerro (of Santa Barbara) partner Delma Jimenez, grandson Zachary (of Portland OR) granddaughter- in- law Sayaka, great-grandson’s Jonah (3) and Eli (1), son Ramon “Rey” Alcerro (of Santa Barbara) daughter-in-law Julia, grandchildren Patrick and Elena and over 100 nieces and nephews. Her sweet smile and infectious spirit will be missed by so many.
A celebration of life will be planned for later this summer. A private inurnment will be held at the Mausoleum at the Santa Barbara Mission. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hospice of Santa Barbara and Serenity House.