Xanta Maria Angelus Brondstetter

  • Born: November 26, 1923
  • Died: July 23, 2017
  • Location: Half Moon Bay, California

Miller-Dutra Coastside Chapel - FD-40

645 Kelly Avenue
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Tel. (650) 726-4474

Tribute & Message From The Family


Xanta burst into this life as the middle child of her mother's six children, five of them brothers, in Alma, Michigan, on November 26 in 1923. Her father, William Angelus, was the owner and cook at a coffee shop in town where he served the best, and the hottest (!) chili around. He emigrated from Greece and moved to Michigan where he met and married red-haired, blue eyed beauty, Flossy Kean. Never the "girl next door" type, Xanta established early on that she would be living her life on her own terms. Outnumbered on the gender scale, Xanta managed to hold her own in a family of men who held strong opinions, loudly expressed. When she decided to join the school band and was told that playing the drums was unladylike…well…Xanta played the drums in the band. When her father told her he would only pay for the boys to go to college because women weren't smart enough and belonged in the home…well…Xanta found her way into secretarial school to learn business skills and become a cracker-jack secretary and office manager. She enjoyed working for small family business up to high-end corporations, such as the H.K. Porter Company, Inc., in Pittsburg, PA. She was rightfully proud of her excellent resume and enthusiastic references throughout her working career.

All work and no place make most of us a pain-in-the-neck…well…Xanta would have none of that. Music and dancing were all the rage in her hey-day. The Big Band sound was so big and bold and infectious and Xanta caught the fever along with many of her peers. Friday and Saturday nights and Bass Lake (Michigan) would find them all tearing up the dance floor and listening to their favorite lounge singers. Guess who decided she would have lots of that? Xanta became known for her singing voice and would often hear her name called out from the dance floor until she climbed up on stage to sing and scat with the best of them. He dancing skills were recognized as well and she was a sought-after dance partner for all the Jitterbug steps.

All this activity caught the eye of a handsome young man from the near-by rival town of Mt. Pleasant. Michael Brondstetter, the son of a local physician, found himself intrigues by the dark eyed, raven haired beauty of Xanta's Greek heritage. He also loved the music of their era and could "cut a rug" with the best of them. Mutual interest led to mutual admiration and they were soon with child and, soon thereafter, married. Uncle Sam stepped in and Michael served a tour of duty in the Army during World War II, to return home to a new daughter, Sandra. Soon daughters Connie and Lorraine followed, then a son, Michael, and finally, daughter Michelle. The dancing and music and career took back stage and Xanta became "the best Mom ever", putting all the same energy and drive into creating a safe home for her family. Necessity called Xanta back to work but she made the best out of a less-than-perfect situation. Even though she often worked full-time, she managed to keep her family clothed, fed, and together for many years. Finally, after 22 years, the marriage crumbled due to alcohol abuse and Xanta turned to her older brother Burt, who lived in Los Angeles, for shelter for herself and her children. Xanta's resilience and resourcefulness helped her forge a new life in Southern California, always near the ocean the she grew to love so much. Xanta worked; the children grew and matured. Soon it was time for retirement from her final and favorite job with Project FOCYS of the YMCA and to begin a new life in Ukiah near her daughter Connie. A lovely little downstairs studio apartment in Connie's house followed, along with several years of independent living. No one knows for sure but sometime around Xanta's 70th birthday, she began to notice little things like burners left on, bills unpaid, pots overflowing…and Xanta began another new life with dementia. It is a story well known…the slow decline, the forgotten faces, the days on end with the same script. Finally, mercifully, Xanta's battle with the long good-bye ended on July 23, 2017. She was 93 years old.

Her family will long remember her spirit, her energy, her great sense of humor. There was simply nothing like her and her great big bear hug! We were in awe of her toughness when it was needed and her fighting spirit when she sensed an underdog. We loved her creativity with all her hobbies and collecting. For years she made hand crafted cards for special occasions—birthdays, weddings, graduations – and filled them with her own original poems. She sent them to everyone – family, friends, co-workers, neighbors – creating them all with the same attention to detail and sense of design. We loved her laugh and joined in. We loved her quirky ways – the pet rooster, crazy diets, the way she cracked her chewing gum, 1000's of murder mystery books she read, feta cheese and Greek olives, the things she loved to hate: heights, scary, creepy movies, bats, rats…the list goes on and on. There were things we learned to respect: her telling it straight – no nonsense, no padding, full blast and taking no prisoners. We all learned it was probably best to stay on her good side. We learned respect for her patience – she often said nothing when we expected a sonic boom, allowing us to realize we could solve the problem ourselves. Yet she was there when we found ourselves in chaos, even when it was our own fault. She was all these things…and more. There simply never was, nor ever will be, anyone quite like her –she was unique—she was our Mom, Aunt, Grandma, Great Grandma and we love her.

Xanta was the matriarch, last of her generation of the Angelus family. She is survived by four of her children and many nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Her life will be celebrated by her family with a ceremony the Odd Fellows Lodge on Saturday afternoon, September 16. Those wishing to honor her memory with a donation may give to her favorite causes, the Adult Day Health Center and/or the Senior Coastsiders, both at 925 Main St., Half Moon Bay, CA 94019.