Miriam Cruz Montanez was born September 3, 1949 and passed way due to cancer on September 12, 2022. Miriam resided in Eureka.

Miriam (mom) is survived by her three children: Raymond Charles Page (Loren), grandchildren Canyon and Phoenix of Bend, Oregon; Dr. Veronica Renee Wizes (Scott) of Eagle Point, Oregon, grandchild Alexandria Wizes of Charleston, South Carolina; Ricardo William Page, grandchildren Timulin and Anujin, of Eureka.

She is also survived by her ex-husband Eric V. Van Duzer and his family. Miriam and Eric built and shared a life together for 33 years.

Her siblings that she leaves behind include Ray Caunday (Trish), Mariano Caunday, Frank Caunday (Delma), Mildred Montanez (Tito), Freddie Montanez and Tamara Montanez. In addition, many nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Vicente Monzon Montanez and Lydia Ester Cruz Caunday, as well as her two younger sisters, Sylvia Caunday and Wonda Caunday.

Miriam was born in Cayey, Puerto Rico. When she was two years old she and her mother Lydia came to live in the United States, both first arriving in New Jersey. Her mother worked as a housekeeper. Lydia then met and fell in love Isidoro Caunday. Miriam and her mother with Isidoro moved to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Isidoro and Lydia welcomed additional children into the family. Miriam took on the role of older sister, helping raise and care for her younger siblings.

Miriam was a spirited teenager. She loved music and she loved to dance. She loved to laugh and always enjoyed a good joke. Later in life she taught herself how to play the guitar.

When she was 15, she met the older brother of her best friend, Charles William Page. She and Charlie married when she was 16 years old. By her 17th birthday, together they had three children — Raymond, Veronica and Ricardo. She had a love for her children that reached no limits. She always gave the best, tightest hugs. She loved to celebrate their birthdays, put coins in their cakes and always made Halloween the very best, spending time to make homemade costumes.

Their life together was anything but conventional. They chose to raise their children off the grid, living and surviving in the back wood mountains of Trinity and Humboldt County. Mom learned to cook on an open fire and even ground her own wheat to make homemade bread. Charlie instilled the beauty of the outdoors and the value and benefits of reading. Miriam and Charlie remained married for 10 years.

After her divorce, in order to make a living, she and her best friend Ronnie became women house painters. They painted many homes, inside and out, in Humboldt County. She also achieved her GED. This allowed her to become employed at College of the Redwoods. She learned and become an off-set print operator, managing and running the printing department at College of the Redwoods.

During her employment at College of the Redwoods, she met and fell in love with Eric V. Van Duzer. They both developed a painting company that took them out of Humboldt County to the San Francisco Bay Area. She continued her profession as an off-set printer operator, working in Berkeley.

Eric’s educational goals and with his graduation from UC Berkeley, brought both Miriam and Eric back to Humboldt County, where they both shared in the love for the ocean and the redwoods. Excited about the birth of her first grandchild, Alexandria, Miriam opened a child care business called, “Critter Town.” She successfully ran the child care for approximately four years.

Unfortunately, for many years Miriam endured many health issues that forced her to retire from working. In her retirement she enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren, Alexandria, nicknamed Lovee, Canyon, nicknamed River Mermaid, Phoenix, nicknamed Bottle of Joy, and Timulin and Anujin, nicknamed My Imps. And of course, her dog, Mello-D.

Thank you to everyone, including both family and friends for your support and kindness during her difficult challenges.

Miriam will be deeply missed. A celebration of her life will be planned for the Spring of 2023.

“The Sands Have Shifted, Long Before I awaited, Their Fiercest Force, Unafraid Storm called Life. -Peace Out” MCM


The obituary above was submitted by Miriam Montanez’s loved onesThe Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email news@lostcoastoutpost.com.