GARCIA, FLORENCE ANN HINOJOSA BAKER
Gainesville - Florence Ann Hinojosa Baker Garcia died on May 6 at home with her family in Gainesville, Florida, after bravely battling breast cancer for years.
Her parents were Juan Hinojosa, Jr., and Olive Waller Hinojosa. She was born on August 16, 1941, and for thirty-five years, she thought she was born in San Antonio, Texas. In truth, she was born in Atotonilco el Alto, Jalisco, Mexico, to Margaret Kuehne Youngquist. Her biological father was Felix Luis Perez Majul. Her unusual beginnings foreshadowed the many adventures she would have throughout her life. She was beautiful, flamboyant, funny, and generous until the end.
Florence grew up in Rio Grande City, Texas, and graduated from Rio Grande City High School, where her parents were prominent educators. For six years, she proudly led the marching band as drum majorette. She was an honor student who briefly attended North Texas State University, but left school to marry Roger Baker, with whom she raised her first two children, Roger Allan and Kathryn Anne. In 1966, while visiting her parents, she participated in la huelga to improve working conditions for farmworkers in Starr County. After her husband attended medical school in Galveston, they enjoyed living in Santa Barbara and Garden Grove, California, before returning to south Texas. She and Roger divorced in 1976, and Florence spent four and a half years in Hannibal, Missouri, where she enjoyed rural life near the Mississippi River.
In 1980 she returned to Rio and married Roy Garcia, her high school sweetheart, and had her third child, Christopher Roy. She completed her Bachelor's degree at Pan American University in 1986 and, following in her parents' footsteps, began teaching middle and high school in her hometown. She served as a Senior Class Sponsor and participated in many school activities. She was also active in the Woman's Club, serving a term as president; the Wilderness Society; and the Eastern Star. As a member of the Starr County Historical Commission, she helped to save the old international bridge between Roma, Texas, and Miguel Aleman, Mexico. She also campaigned hard to help elect Lloyd Doggett to U.S. Congress for her district.
In 1984, she met Margaret Youngquist Roehrig, the sister she always wanted. Florence and Meg had wonderful times together visiting art museums, going to movies, and traveling to New York City, Washington, DC, California, and Florence's birthplace in Mexico. In 2005, they went on a fantastic river cruise in Europe and in 2006 spent two weeks in England.
After teaching for 19 years, Florence retired in 2005 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer, and moved to Gainesville, Florida, where Christopher and Kathryn live. For almost 5 years, she was able to enjoy her retirement in good health. She traveled widely in Europe, the Caribbean, and South America. One of her favorite trips was a 28-day Mediterranean cruise with her beloved sister-in-law, Diana Hinojosa.
In 2008, she was one of the most active volunteers in President Obama's Florida campaign. As a result, (and thanks to Pat M.) she was invited to and attended a Christmas party at the White House with President Obama and the First Lady in December of 2009. She had started chemotherapy a few weeks before, but was undaunted. Photos show her bald-headed, singing Christmas carols at the White House. It was one of her proudest moments.
In Gainesville, she was a member of the Woman's Club, the Latina Women's League, the Matheson Museum, and Friends of the Thomas Center. She got to live in her dream house in the Duck Pond neighborhood, and when her health declined, she was always pleased to tell people that her "professor friends" (Barbara M., Amy O., and Leah R.) would come by to walk her dog, or keep her company, or share movies and dinner. Best of all, she got to spend more time with her children, and in her last nine months, lived with Kathryn and Kim.
Florence loved to dance, listen to music, read, go to movies, and walk her dog to the farmer's market to see her friend Gertie. She loved history and art. She loved to travel and immerse herself in new cultures. She loved her children unconditionally - even when they didn't deserve it - and would do anything to help her friends and family. She was known as "fun mom" for her willingness to take her kids and all their friends to the beach, to parks, to skating rinks, and even to R-rated movies when they were a little too young. She thought many problems could be solved with fresh lipstick. Always ready for a party, her motto was "the more the merrier." She loved being alive.
Florence was preceded in death by her four parents and her brother, John Hinojosa III. She is survived by her children, Allan (Shelley), of Dana Point, CA; Kathryn (Kim Emery), of Gainesville; and Christopher, of Gainesville; her sister-in-law Diana Hinojosa and children Shiree Flume, Kathie Montgomery, John Hinojosa IV, Howard Hinojosa, and Diana Lee Hinojosa, and their children; her half-sister Meg Roehrig and sons Tom and Jack and their children; her half-brother Daniel Felix Majul (Jeannette) and children Rick, Melissa, and Karim, and their children; and her former husbands, Roger Baker and Roy Garcia.
Funeral services will be provided by Sanchez Funeral Home in Rio Grande City, Texas. There will be a visitation Thursday, May 9, 2013, 6:00 to 8:00pm at Sanchez Funeral Home with a Rosary at 7:00pm. A funeral mass will be held at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Friday, May 10, 2013 at 11:00am, with burial to follow.
For Florence's Gainesville-area friends, an informal memorial gathering will be held at her Duck Pond home at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22.
Although she loved flowers and wanted some at her funeral, she also encouraged donations to the following organizations:
Doctors without Borders
St. Francis House (http://stfrancishousegnv.org/)
Haven Hospice (http://www.havenhospice.org/)
United Farm Workers (http://www.ufw.org/)
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Sanchez Funeral Home
301 East 2nd Street
Rio Grande City, TX 78582
Published in Gainesville Sun from May 8 to May 9, 2013