Ramona Flores Valenzuela’s earthly journey ended peacefully with family at her side on Friday, January 25, 2008. She was 96. Ramona was a lively woman, whose celebrated spirit and generous heart graced many Arizona generations. She was a two-time cancer survivor, having fought off uterine cancer in 1960 and stomach cancer in 1988.
Ramona was born in Tempe, Arizona, five months before it became the 48th State in the Union. She was the sole child of Ramon and Francisca Flores. She grew up with five siblings including a twin brother and sister, to whom she regularly attended, eventually in favor of her own formal education. With her late husband, Merejildo, who passed away in 1984, Ramona raised fourteen children in the Phoenix area. She and her late husband built an adobe house on 32nd Street and Jackson where she lived for nearly 60 years until her old ways of life gave way to modernity, in 2004. Her modest home on Jackson had always served as a beacon for distant or wayward family members, as each rediscovered their rooted kinship during their visits. Ramona greeted a friend or stranger always as family, reaching out to others with food, warm prayer and homestead. Steeped in her beloved Catholic faith, all of God’s creatures found comfort at Ramona’s house.
Ramona’s love for the movies, music, and dancing were obvious in her fashionable appearance about town, yet they never measured up to her fondness for Chihuahuas, sewing for family on her trusty Singer, cooking for all, or healing those who were ill. Taking the first tortilla in “Nana’s” house was not allowed. With her long gray hair often tucked in a neat bun, the Valenzuela Matriarch watched proudly as members of her prodigious family grew into accomplished homemakers, world travelers, athletes, nurses, public servants, artists, lawyers, professionals, and soldiers.
Those who live in the Lord never see each other for the last time.
Ramona is preceded in death by her parents, Ramon and Francisca; her siblings, Jose, Maria, Carmen, Raymond, and Ruth; husband, Merejildo; sons, Edward and Frank Sr.; grandchildren, Arthur Jr., Johnny Boy, Frank Jr., and Melissa; and son-in-law John. She is survived by her sons and daughters: Fina, Dora, Andrea, Lupe, Peggy Jesse, Johnny, Mary Lou Felix, Hilda Ernest, Martin Ophelia, Raymundo Sr., Gilbert Mary, and Josie Robert; 62 grandchildren; numerous great grandchildren; and many great-great grandchildren.
Services will be held at St. Marks Catholic Church, 400 North 30th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85008, Thursday, January 31st. Visitation 9:00 – 10:00 am; Rosary 10:00 – 10:30 am; Mass 10:30 am; and Burial following Mass at St Francis Cemetery, 2033 North 48th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85008.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to the Arizona Humane Society, 1521 West Dobbins Road, Phoenix, AZ 85041 or St. Mary’s Food Bank, 2831 North 31st Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85009.