DanvilleSanRamon.com - Lasting Memories - Dolores Marie Cardenas's memorial

Dolores Marie Cardenas
March 9, 1962-June 28, 2023
Stockton, California

Dolores Marie Cardenas (Pinkela), a lifelong animal whisperer who found her white knight late in life, left us too soon this year. Dolores passed away in June from a short illness while surrounded by family. She was 61. Known to her loving family as Suzie, she was born in San Jose, CA, in 1962 to Frank and Carmen Pinkela (Carballo). At the time, she was the baby sister to Ken Pinkela. Soon enough, she would be a middle child when baby bro Frank Pinkela III was born 18 months later.

Suz grew up in Northern California, attending schools in various cities before graduating from Clayton Valley High in 1980. She played a mean flute (that her family never heard) and competed in the drum and bugle corps.

During her childhood, her family grew as her father remarried and Dolores was gifted with a stepmother (Rosie Pinkela) and a third brother! Eric Pinkela was nearly her birthday buddy, stubbornly waiting until one day (and 10 years) after her birthday to enter her life.

After high school, Suzie had a varied career that spanned the automotive industry (car dealerships, car hauler dispatch) and the service industry (including Sears repair). Then she went through a midlife career crisis that led to training in several possible new careers. The most entertaining near-career was when Dolores learned to drive a bus. She would relay harrowing tales from training to Rosie who laughed along with her.

Sustaining Dolores along the way were caring for her mother and friend, Carmen, and a fanatical devotion to exercising. But her lifelong joy was more animal focused. Suzie loved her fur babies, including Sophia and Whiskers, her pride and joy. Since moving to Stockton, she adopted the neighborhood cats, feeding and caring for them as if they were her own.

Nobody could rival her love for animals until she met her neighbor, Armando Cardenas. They became friends and then decided that wasn’t quite enough. In what was the undisputed highlight of her life, she married Armando (and into his large and welcoming family) on September 16, 2016 in Lodi, CA. She was never happier.

Suz took great pride in being a wife, and even enjoyed the idea of a large family, including grandchildren. Nothing was better than calling her Grandma and seeing her reaction. It was mixed at best. Dolores and Armando made their home in Stockton where she passed away after nearly 7 years of wedded bliss.

She is survived by her husband Armando Cardenas, father Frank Pinkela of Pleasanton, brothers Ken Pinkela of Gilroy, Frank Pinkela (Lynne) of Fairfield, Eric Pinkela (Gwendelyn) of San Ramon, and David Linares (Santa Rosa), stepdaughters Amanda Meyers (Tim) and Jessica Nelson (Nathan), and many nieces and nephews.

Suz was preceded in death by her mother Carmen Linares, and her brother Christopher Linares.

If the spirit moves you, please consider donating to St. Jude’s https://www.stjude.org/donate/donate-to-st-jude.html?sc_icid=home-btn-donate-now

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