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Maria (Cayabyab) HebertMay 26, 1960 ~ January 4, 2017 (age 56)
Born May 26, 1960 in the Philippines, Maria Cayabyab grew up in San Carlos City on the main island of Luzon. Just outside of the Philippines capital Manila, Maria was known to her family as Mila, short for Milagros meaning “miracle”. Overcoming birth complications, Maria was the miracle baby out of her 13 brothers and sisters. Her parents, Cristita Bulatao Cayabyab and Remegio Cayabyab, raised Maria in the Philippines under the Catholic faith and instilled lasting family values deep into the lives of all their children.
Led by Maria’s oldest brother Wilfredo Cayabyab, Maria and her family began immigrating to America. Wilfredo established a home for the Cayabyab family in Salem, NH where they took up a house on Banister Road. The Cayabyabs practiced their faith at Mary Queen of Peace Parish in Salem where they eventually became one of the most loved and recognized families within the church community. Upon arrival into America in the early 1980s, Maria worked part-time jobs in the area including Canobie Lake Park where her memorable smile greeted park patrons at the gaming booths. Maria loved to share stories about her early twenties working her day-shift job then carpooling with her brothers and sisters: Dan, Romeo, Mark, Alicia and Imelda to their night-shift jobs multiple days a week to earn a living. Maria was never a stranger to hard work and always kept smiling though it.
Eventually, Maria found a career in electronics assembly, starting at Alpha in Lawrence, MA. It was at Alpha where she made the acquaintance of Roy Hebert II, a young sales manager. Maria, the subject of many admirers within the building, was known for her endearing personality. Roy was not the first to send flowers or approach Maria for a date, but he was the first to get her sisters to agree. When Roy drove Maria home the house on Bannister Road after their first date, the two walked into a night they would never forget. Maria’s parents had never granted her permission to go out with Roy, and Roy was the first non-Filipino to date one of the Cayabyab sisters. Maria was quickly rushed up to her room by her sisters to answer to her mother Cristita as Roy was asked to wait downstairs in the family room to answer questions regarding his intentions.
Within months, Maria and Roy were engaged and later married on September 25, 1987 at Mary Queen of Peace Parish. After honeymooning in Martha’s Vineyard, Roy and Maria were living happily in love in Melrose, MA where they grew their family by one with their first child, Roy James Hebert III born August 19, 1989, better known to the family as RJ. Inspired by the joys of parenthood, the two conceived their second child a mere few months after RJ’s birth. Roy and Maria quickly discovered they would need to buy a house to support their growing family, so they found a red ranch-style home on Lancaster Farm Road in Salem, NH. On the same day they were moving into their new home, Maria went into labor. Maria’s second son was born Ryan Joseph Hebert on September 1, 1990. After settling in with their two sons, Maria and Roy found room in the house and their hearts for one more child. Less than one full year after Ryan’s birth, on August 29, 1991, Christine Marie Hebert was born whose first name comes after Maria’s mother Cristita. Overcoming small birth complications herself, Christine was Maria’s own little miracle baby, and she was given the middle name Marie after her mother.
Throughout the many years following the birth of her kids, Maria held a few part time jobs, but none were as important to her as her job as a mother. Maria insisted her children attend Catholic school to supplement her parenting as the best possible upbringing she could provide. Roy III, Ryan and Christine all attended St. Joseph Regional Catholic School in Salem, NH where the Hebert family became recognized contributors to the affiliated parish community. While her children attended school there, Maria served as a Eucharistic Minister at St. Joseph Church. Later, her children all attended Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, NH and continued on to University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH. Raising her children was Maria’s crowning achievement as the three stuck together through college and thereafter.
As her kids became adults, Maria found herself with the drive to get back to work. She found employment at Mercury Systems. The job was a continuation of her skills in working with a microscope assembling and testing circuit boards. She quickly became as loved by her co-workers as she was by her family. Maria's hard work earned her the respect from her bosses, and her upcoming fight with cancer would establish her as an inspiration to all who had the opportunity to work alongside her. She had the privilege of working alongside her older sister Alicia Baldio every day, and the two even carpooled to work sometimes. She worked at Mercury up until the end of her life, and put in as much as she could on her long journey battling her illness. Some questioned that she should maybe work less, but she would flash her famous smile at them and remind them she was happy to keep busy and be surrounded by those who loved her.
Maria later passed away on January 4, 2017 after a years-long battle with cancer. She found peace at Tufts Medical Center where her doctors and nurses became family and friends to her. Not a single person involved in Maria’s care forgot to mention her contagious smile and the heroics of her fight. Along with that smile, Maria did not let out a single complaint at any point of her long road since diagnosis. She was a fighter, and touched the hearts of friends, family and even strangers who have heard her story. At the hour of her passing, it appeared that Maria used the very last of her energy to wait until her husband and kids were all in the room. It was not until she heard the voices and felt the presence of all of them that she let go and entered eternal rest.
Maria Hebert is remembered by her smile. She is remembered by her everlasting kindness and hospitality. Her laugh. Her affinity for music. Her love of cooking. Her obsession with lobster. Her always chic fashion sense. Her passion in her work. Her faith in the church. Above all else, Maria is remembered by the immense love she had to give. Her heart was so large and pure that the amount of love she brought into the world was immeasurable and unwavering. She was the type of person to pay a compliment and actual mean what she was saying. Maria was genuine and left the earth too soon, but she is survived by her family, her friends, her Yorkshire Terrier, Bombay, and the countless people who were lucky enough to experience the love she had to give.
Maria is survived by her husband Roy Hebert II, sons Roy Hebert III and Ryan Hebert, daughter Christine Hebert, brothers Wilfred Cayabyab, Manuel Cayabyab, Romeo Cayabyab, Agosto Cayabyab, Diosdado Cayabyab, Rudolfo Cayabyab, Mark Anthony Cayabyab, and Benito Cayabyab, and sisters Rebeca Delim, Imelda Austria, Delia Pedero, Alicia Baldio, and Bernice Zafra. She is also survived by her 37 nieces and nephews.