Connie's Story

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Connie Contreras Polk, 80, of San Francisco, CA died on November 12, 2015, in her home under hospice care, with her daughter Suzen by her side after a short-term battle with endometrial cancer.

Connie was born on December 8, 1934 in Madera, CA to Jose C. and Baudelia (Gonzalez) Contreras. Connie, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, was raised on a forty acre grape and cotton farm in Madera, CA. At the age of ten, Connie began working on her family farm and other local farms in the area picking grapes and cotton to earn money to buy school clothes and other essentials. This experience of working in the fields at an early age, created not only a strong work ethic in Connie, but also began Connie's dream of perusing higher education.

In 1972, Connie graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a B.A. in Chicano Studies and Spanish. In 1973, Connie received her M.A. in Education, with an emphasis on Second Language Learning from U.C. Berkeley. After receiving her masters, Connie entered U.C. Berkeley's doctoral program in Education, with an emphasis on Multi-Cultural Education. Connie completed all of her Ph.D course work, but was unable to complete her dissertation due to the rigors of being a single parent raising two children at the time.

For twenty years, Connie worked at various times as a middle school and high school Spanish teacher and also as an elementary school bilingual classroom teacher. In addition to being passionate about educational issues, Connie also had a passion around helping incarcerated women transition successfully from prison into the work force. Connie's vision was to help these women create businesses that would provide them a steady income.

Connie was a member of the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, Toastmasters International, and several other educational organizations.

Connie is survived by her loving daughter Suzen Polk-Hoffses and her husband Carleton Hoffses, Jonesport, ME, her caring son Lance Arthur Polk, San Francisco, CA her close sisters Rose Dellinger and husband Jack, Oroville, CA, and Irene Derrickson, Fresno, CA and sister-in-law Mary Lou Contreras, Madera, CA. Connie is also survived by her favorite nephews Sean Derrickson, Portland, OR and Robin Dellinger, Fremont, CA, other caring nieces and nephews and special friend Francis Julian Montgomery, Alameda, CA. Connie was preceded in death by her caring brothers John and Joe Contreras.

In lieu of of flowers and a memorial service, Connie requested that people do a random act of kindness for someone in need in her memory.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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