Lia ValldeRuten de Quinde, 93, died peacefully at home in Woodside, New York on June 25, 2013 after a long and courageous battle with cancer and diabetes. Mrs. Quinde was born in Andalucia, Colombia on August 12, 1919 as the fourth of thirteen siblings. She left school after 6th grade to support her family. Colombia was expanding suffrage in the 1930s, and her first job was for the city registrar, where – as part of the small literate minority – she registered people to vote.
Mrs. Quinde came to New York City at age 28 as an employee of Parke-Davis pharmaceuticals. She met her spouse of 64 years, Heriberto Quinde Obando, while attending English class at Mother Cabrini High School. They married in 1949 and have owned their home in Woodside for 60 years.
Mrs. Quinde had a long career as a fashion sample maker in New York City's garment district, highlighted by a decade of sewing prototypes of fashion lines for Bill Blass. She was a proud member and shop steward of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, where she was an activist for health and safety issues and fair pay.
After receiving multiple associate degrees from LaGuardia Community College, Mrs. Quinde received a B.A. in Comparative Literature at age 78 from Queens College. She frequently spoke of being the oldest (and most politically outspoken) student in her classes.
She became a legal resident of the United States and loved her new country, but remained a proud lifelong citizen of Colombia. Mrs. Quinde was a member of the Colombian Liberal Party's leadership in the United States. She and her husband regularly attended diplomatic functions at the Colombian embassy and were invited guests at the inauguration of President Julio Cesar Turbay.
Mrs. Quinde also served as secretary of the Intercontinental Lions Club of New York City for more than a decade. She was a 60+ year member of St. Sebastian's Church in Woodside, New York.
She is survived by her beloved husband, Heriberto Quinde Obando; devoted sons Herbert (Linda) of Chicago and Allan of Centreville, Virgina; loving granddaughter Liamarie of Chicago; brothers Otto, Ernesto and Harold ValldeRuten and sisters Ruth ValldeRuten de Betancourt, Orfa ValldeRuten de Cruz, and Clemencia ValldeRuten Cardenas of Valle de Cauca, Colombia; and nearly 100 nieces and nephews.
A wake will be held at Kennedy-Roth Funeral Home, 41-45 58th St, Woodside, NY 11377 11377 (telephone: 718-424-5430) on Thursday, June 27 from 2-5pm and 7-9pm. Funeral mass will be held at St. Sebastian Roman Catholic Church, 58-02 Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside, NY 11377 on Friday, June 28 at 11am.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to www.barefootfoundation.com