Imperial Beach Icon
A treasured Imperial Beach icon, Olga Braga, passed away on March 12, 2021, just two weeks past her 102nd birthday.
For 74 years, Olga was a popular resident of Imperial Beach (IB) and was well known in her position at the Imperial Beach post office. She began her 25 year career at the original post office located on Seacoast, then moved to the current Donax Avenue site, where she retired in 1980. Prior to her employment there, Olga worked in the San Diego fish canneries.
Olga’s professionalism, community involvement and kind, intelligent spirit were appreciated by all residents of Imperial Beach who she met in her daily work routine and civic activities.
Olga was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, to Portugese immigrants Marianno and Adeline Ferreira on Feb. 25, 1919; she was the youngest of six children. As a teenager on the East Coast, Olga loved the beach, the outdoors and sports. She especially loved field hockey for which she earned a Dartmouth High School team letter.
During the 1940s, Olga became engaged to the love of her life, Edward ‘Eddie’ Braga, just prior to his service in Germany during World War II. During the war, Olga worked at the Goodyear Plant in New Bedford and supervised production of a military blimp used in World War II aircraft defense early warning systems. She also volunteered to work for the Civil Defense and Red Cross organizations.
Olga and Eddie were married in 1947 in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts before traveling on their honeymoon to California where they visited family and fell in love with Imperial Beach.
With his carpentry skills, Eddie built their dream house two blocks from the Imperial Beach shore. Olga’s parents, heartbroken by their departure, moved to Imperial Beach to join the couple and enjoy their grandchildren, Gail and Paula, Olga and Eddie’s two daughters.
Eddie built many homes in Imperial Beach and worked as a heavy equipment operator at North Island. In his spare time, he enjoyed playing at archery in the nearby Tijuana Estuary.
1n 1976, Olga and Eddie helped form the group ‘Concerned Citizens of IB’ in a successful effort to recall a former mayor and councilman who wanted to overtake their property. The Bragas fought and defeated a city effort to use eminent domain to overtake their home and turn their property into a parking lot. Their home still stands today.
Eddie and Olga often enjoyed traveling with their young girls. Destinations included Yosemite, the Seattle’s World Fair and Victoria Island. After retirement, Olga and Eddie travelled around the United States in their RV. They also cruised to Germany, Australia, Spain, Alaska and the Panama Canal. The couple were married nearly 66 years before Eddie’s passing in 2013. They were beloved by family, IB friends and residents alike.
In February 2019, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina honored Olga’s iconic IB status when he attended Olga’s 100th Birthday party, proclaiming the day as ‘Olga Braga Day’ in Imperial Beach.
Olga was a devout Roman Catholic and lived her life faithfully. She was a member of the Saint Charles Catholic Church Parish since 1948. She is remembered for her kind spirit and her love and loyalty for her family and friends.
Olga Braga’s beautiful soul and winning smile will be forever remembered and sorely missed by her friends and family. She was beloved by all and passed peacefully with her devoted daughters at her bedside; both Gail and Paula, who are comforted by the knowledge that Olga and Eddie are reunited in Heaven, together again and, truly, living their lives ‘happily ever after.’
Olga is survived by her two daughters Gail Braga and Paula (George) Kosmicki; granddaughter Krista (Joe) Chmura; great grandsons, Joey and Connor; and many nieces and nephews. Olga was preceded in death by her husband Edward, her parents and five siblings.