Mary Walker Camarena, left peacefully to be with the Lord in the comfort of her home on October 9, 2018. Mary was 97 years old and was born in Phoenix.
Mary Camarena’s Heart of Gold – Mary lived her life with a smile, a loving hug for everyone and the gift of building relationships where ever she went. Her invitation to eat at her home, with her sweetness of saying “would you like some tortillas, I will make them for you right now?”
Mary lived with a courage to speak the truth, not afraid to work and cared so deeply for everyone and those who were homeless and hungry. She was loved by everyone and was a favorite aunt and nana. Mary prayed deeply, daily, and meaningfully for everyone she loved and those she didn’t know. Her generosity and thoughtfulness carried out throughout her life.
Before she learned to drive in her 60’s, she walked very long distances in her earlier years in the hot Phoenix summer carrying groceries for her family without complaining. She also used the bus system to and from work. In those days, there were very limited bus routes which required Mary to also walk very long distances.
After graduation, her father encouraged her to attend school and have a career so she chose to attend beauty school when she was around 17 or 18 years old. Mary went on to work as a hair dresser owning her beauty salon in central Phoenix. She was encouraged and supported in her career choices by her parents; she was never without customers nor friends. She lived her life with God as her center of being. She was instilled with strong morals, self-respect, dignity, loyalty and valued the Catholic and Mexican traditions. Mary married and survived divorce twice and giving life to six children. She never allowed that part of her life to stop her from living a single parent life and choosing her children as her strongest love. Using all talents and strengths she learned how best to instill a loving foundation of faith, family and culture in each of her children’s lives. She took pride and valued herself in her cooking, and would always share with loved ones and co-workers her tamales, tortillas, rice and bean dishes and much more. Her way of gracefully modeling a way to live for her children and grandchildren was through love, cariño, and faith in Jesus Christ. Mary always blessed the food with salt and the sign of the cross when preparing her meals and just about everything she did. Most of all, she shared her stories with joy and laughter.
Mary had so many wonderful friends, which she enjoyed communicating with in person and the telephone. She exhibited her strength of active listening with empathy and compassion comforting those who knew her. She often visited close family and friends and would often bring them gifts of food such as caldos, sopa de fideo, menudo with, of course, her famous flour tortillas or tamales. She was a humble and grateful person who we all will miss here on earth. The gift she left us with was her Peace and Blessing: “Que Dios los bendiga.” You will always be in our hearts.
She is survived by her loving children; Sr. Mary Rebecca Amaya, Oscar (Rosemary) Camarena, Angie Camarena and Betty Camarena, 10 loving grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren. Preceded in death by sons; Ernie and Robert Amaya and her grandchild; Lisa Camarena Mendoza. A Celebration of Life will be held Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home, 4800 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, beginning with a Visitation at 5:00 P.M., Rosary at 6:00 P.M., followed by sharing joyful memories of Mary’s beautiful life. Funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at 11:00 A.M. at St. Gregory’s Church, 3424 N. 18th Ave., Phoenix, followed by Burial service at St. Francis Cemetery, 2033 N. 48th Street, Phoenix. A reception will be held immediately after at Aunt Chiladas Restaurant, 7330 N. Dreamy Draw Drive, Phoenix. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Mary to stmarysfoodbank.org.