Rafael De La Maza, 95, of Mount Pleasant, SC husband to the late Alma De La Maza, entered into eternal rest on January 2, 2020, surrounded by his loving family.
Born on October 31, 1924 in Moca, Dominican Republic, Rafael was a son of the late Rafael De La Maza and Aura De La Maza.
As a non-citizen, he served our country in WWII as a volunteer, entering the U.S.Navy at the age of 17, without his mother’s permission. He served throughout WWIl aboard the USS New Jersey and was decorated for his service. Two years into his service he became a US Citizen.
After the war, while still serving in the Navy, he married the love of his life, Alma Santana. Together they raised 3 children and remained happily together until her death 54 years later.
In 1961, Rafael, along with members of the De La Maza family, were instrumental in freeing the Dominican Republic from the oppressive Trujillo regime.
Rafael was a lifelong HAM radio enthusiast and a member of the Charleston Amateur Radio Society. He was also a member of Christ Our King Catholic Church. He has participated in many veteran events throughout the year and was recently honored by the USS New Jersey’ s museum in Camden Yards Oral History Program.
Rafael is survived by his children Rafael De La Maza (Fannie Martos) of Miami, Florida, Laura De La Maza (Michael Drose) of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina and Raymond De La Maza of Sunny Isles, Florida. In addition, he is survived by 3 grandchildren, Sandra De La Maza Cagle (Newton), Rafael De La Maza (Katherine), and Christopher Drose, as well as two great grandchildren, Luca De La Maza and Nicolas De La Maza. He is also survived by multiple family members in the United States and the Dominican Republic.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, January 6, 2020 at 11:30 AM at Christ Our King Catholic Church, 1122 Russell Dr, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464.
The burial will be held following the service at Live Oak Memorial Gardens, 3093 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29414.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to One80 Place (Veterans Housing Services), 1064 Gardner Road, Suite 206, Charleston, SC, 29407, (843) 723-9477, https://one80place.org/veterans/
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to McALISTER-SMITH FUNERAL & CREMATION, Mt. Pleasant, 1520 Rifle Range Rd., Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464, (843) 884-3833