Our mother, Maria Martinez, loved us, raised us, helped us, challenged us, trusted us, believed in us, and taught us so much throughout her 88 years of life that it is impossible to count and recount the many blessings God provided through her for our family and friends. It is with heavy but grateful hearts that we give her back to God, or as she would always call Him, “mi Diosito.” She leaves us with many memories, especially of the roles she played in guiding us to adulthood.
Mom made certain that despite her humble life as a laborer, migrant worker, and healthcare provider, she expected us to excel in school and strive to be good citizens, steadfast and punctual workers, considerate sons and daughters, and respected members of our communities. She had the storybook family: two teachers, a fireman, and a postman, and she would thank us for the lives we established as people of service. She was proud of our achievements and recognition, and her home is decorated with the milestones of marriages, graduations, birth announcements, community service awards, and newspaper articles about us. She did not let any chance to brag about her children to visiting company get away; yet, she would always end by thanking God for her children who always did their best. Yes, we appreciate the thanks, Mamacita, but instead, we want to thank you, Mom, for expecting us to work during school summer vacation, encouraging us to hold jobs even when we were in school, compelling us (yes, many times forcing us) to get up early, arrive early, and stay late; and always to give just a bit more than we thought we could give. All of that gave us discipline to become responsible leaders of our families and the community, not perfect leaders by any means, but leaders always willing to grow that we may be better in fulfilling our responsibilities. Thank you, Mamacita.
Of course, her lessons did not preclude that we should also learn to be self-sufficient. In our family – three boys and one girl – everyone was expected to fend for themselves, and the expectations we received from Mom have made their way to the grandchildren as well. This meant that every member needed to learn how to wash clothes; iron clothes; cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner; sew socks, shirts, and pants that needed mending; and be diligent and creative in housework and house cleaning. Yes, we griped and groaned all the time, and every year until maturity made us realize how chores can be a blessing and how much of a blessing they proved to be in our lives. She always thanked us for helping her in these ways, and yes, that was part of the bragging and sharing in the neighborhood gossip fests. We know you were thankful, Mamacita, but instead, we want to thank you, Mom, for being a pioneer in removing gender-based roles so that we could establish homes where all members contribute equally to a safe, clean, and contented environment, making us see the value in providing and doing things for ourselves. Thank you, Mamacita.
Of course, this was not the end of the many roles Mom played even after we left the house when we were married. To our children, she was “Grandma,” who allowed them to do and eat whatever they wanted. She was their sleepover hotel manager, their daily and/or nightly babysitter, their to-and-from school taxi driver, and their personal chef. For years she picked up our kids from school and drove them to our places of work so that we could take over from there. She would have them sleepover at her house and give them cherry vanilla ice cream, cookies, and all sorts of goodies, allowing them to stay up as long as they wanted. She would take food orders from them and cook whatever each wanted for breakfast. Once, when she could not fill an order, she asked, “Do you want some atol?” She didn’t know the English word for “oatmeal,” only the Spanish word “atole,” so she improvised. Years later, that memory still brings a laugh and a smile, and I suspect it will continue to do so throughout the generations. All of this she did while we as parents left strict health and dietary rules that the kids needed to follow. Recently, our kids confessed that she would say, “You go ahead and do what you want or eat what you want; your parents are not here anyway.” Gotta love her. She would always thank us for allowing her to spend time with her grandchildren, and yes, we understand that bond, Mamacita, but instead, we want to thank you, Mom, for going beyond your grandmotherly duties and truly helping us when we really needed the help with raising our own kids, especially at the price you established from the beginning. If we ever tried to give you money for your help, you would say, “Si me pagas ya no te voy ayudar,” “If you pay me, I am no longer going to help you.” Thank you, Mom, for teaching us how to be selfless in our service. Yes, we will miss you profoundly, Mom, but we know that you are now with Dad, and we know that you’ve missed him profoundly since his departure three years ago. We will miss you calling us when the Dallas Cowboys played to say, “How ‘bout them Cowboys?” even though I had to write the phrase on an index card at your request so you wouldn’t forget. We will miss you answering our brother Fred when he would shout, “How you doin’, Ma?” and you would reply, “Not too much.” And we will never forget how when any of us called you on the phone, you would end by saying, “Remember God is always with you. You never alone. Thank you for call me.” No, Mom, thank YOU. And thank God for calling YOU our Mamacita, our Mom.
Weslaco, TX – Maria E. Martinez, 88, passed away to be with the Lord, on Sunday, August 27, 2023, at her residence. Mrs. Martinez was born on January 1, 1935, to Ramon & Severiana Espinoza in Weslaco, TX. She is preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Cleofas Martinez; three brothers, Santos Espinoza, Martin Espinoza, Francisco Espinoza; and one sister, Lilia Jaramillo. Mrs. Martinez is survived by three sons, Cleofas Martinez, Jr. (Evey), Armando Martinez (Anna), Fernando Martinez (Norma), all of Weslaco, TX; one daughter, Olivia Molina (Gabriel) of Weslaco, TX; two brothers, Ramon Espinoza (Carmen), Jorge Espinoza (Sherry), both of Flint, MI; and two sisters, Severiana Guajardo (Arturo Jr.) of Flint, MI, and Carmen Alaniz (Fred) of Corpus Christi, TX. Also surviving are eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday, September 4, 2023, with a 6:30 p.m. rosary at Guerra Funeral Home of Weslaco – Chapel of The Angels. Funeral service will be at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 5, 2023, at St. Pius X Catholic Church. Interment will follow at Highland Memorial Park. Pallbearers will be Cleofas Martinez, Jr., Armando Martinez, Fernando Martinez, Emmanuel Martinez, Armando Martinez, Jr., and Eric Martinez. Arrangements are under the direction of Guerra Funeral Home of Weslaco, Inc., 2602 N. Texas Ave., Weslaco, TX (956) 969-1461.