Anita passed away peacefully in her sleep early in the morning on Monday, November 6. She never fully recovered from her battle with COVID-19, which began in November of 2020. She fought hard for 3 years, and although her fight was not without pain, she never stopped smiling and caring for the people she loved. She always lived her life with faith in her Lord and Savior, and she has been rewarded with eternal peace.
The funeral service for Anita will be held at the Moose Lodge, Saturday November 18, 2023. The visitation will begin at 3pm, with a service to follow at 4pm.
She was born to Raul Cardona Sr. and Maria Nievez (Sanchez) Cardona on April 6, 1954 in Eagle Pass, TX. Her family eventually relocated to Albert Lea, MN where she attended Albert Lea High School, and her *iconic* little legs used to run track and field and jump hurdles.
At the age of 16, she married her husband Manuel Cantu Jr. They wed on February 16, 1971 and stayed married for 52 years. In September of that year, they were blessed with their son, Jaime. A couple years later after Manuel joined the Navy, Anita and Jaime experienced living in Hawaii. She loved it there so much that she and her husband went back to visit in 2002. After living in Hawaii, they also experienced living in Seattle briefly. Anita always emphasized the importance of travel to the grandkids.
They eventually settled down in Albert Lea, where they were blessed with their daughter, Alicia. Anita was always working hard, and worked multiple jobs and eventually, she began her 30 year long career at Thorne Crest. She worked as a housekeeper and in dietary. Many of her residents considered her more as a friend than simply a worker. The “freebee table” was her favorite place at Thorne Crest.
She met many lifelong friends while working at Thorne Crest, and they enjoyed their margarita girls nights at Plaza.
The love Anita had for all 6 of her grandchildren was immeasurable, and she enjoyed watching them grow. She had the best personality, and she was constantly making her grandkids laugh with her “simmer down” remarks and her fast little legs that nobody with normal legs could keep up with. It was her cherished tradition to take her grandkids out for dinner and to pick out a present for their birthdays. She also made it a tradition to fill and dye Easter eggs and she never missed a school or sporting event. Her grandkids were her pride and joy. She was the core of all of their memories together.
Anita is preceded in death by her parents Raul and Maria, brother Raul Jr., and grandpup, Cowboy. She is survived by her husband Manuel Cantu Jr., son Jaime Cantu (Holly), daughter Alicia Leal (Robert), grandkids, Cali Cantu (Matt), Nadia Leal (Alfonso) Hallie Cantu (Adam) Jacob Leal, Nicolas Cantu (Mallory), Christian Leal (Lanoi), great granddaughter Aria Almanza, grandpups, Bella, Blu, Jersey, Lucky and Sal, sisters, Cathy Broadwell (Jay), Elena Broadwell (Kelly), and many nieces and nephews.
Please send flowers to the Moose at 1623 W Main St, Albert Lea, MN 56007 and cards to Manuel at 113 McArthur Dr. Albert Lea, MN 56007.