Martin Funeral Home
1460 George Dieter Drive
El Paso, TX 79936
(915) 855-8881
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On April 01, 2014, Mary Dolores Escajeda Clark Gaines, 79, passed away peacefully surrounded by her children and twin sister after a valiant battle with cancer. She was born in El Paso, Texas on April 29, 1934 to parents Francisco Escajeda, Jr. and Maria Rodriguez Escajeda of the prominent El Paso pioneer family. She was immediately followed into this world by her beloved younger (by 3 minutes) identical twin sister and best friend Esther Virginia. Mary and Esther were El Paso's first twin drum majorettes and graduated from El Paso High School in 1953. Mary worked as a receptionist, switchboard operator and ad copy writer for the El Paso Times in the early 1950's. This is where she met her first husband, James Thomas Clark, Jr., when he called on the El Paso Times as a salesman for the Carpenter Paper Company. They were married on March 4, 1955 and Mary began working as a secretary for the El Paso Independent School District. They started raising their family in El Paso beginning with a son in 1958 and another son in 1961. The Clark family moved to Ft. Worth where their daughter was born in 1964. Employment opportunities took them to Dallas and then to San Antonio. Mary was very active in her children's lives, volunteering as room mother, PTA officer and as assistant troop leader for the girl scouts. After separating from her husband in 1970, Mary and the children returned to El Paso. She returned to work at EPISD, eventually serving as an executive secretary for several of the associate and assistant superintendents. Mary raised her three young children single-handedly while holding down three jobs simultaneously. In 1979 Mary caught the eye of Major James S. Gaines, director of the ROTC program for the school district. He was smitten from the start and after a whirlwind courtship they married on May 31, 1980. Blending their two families was a seamless endeavor and they enjoyed the love of all of their children and grandchildren. After 32 years of faithful service with the school district, Mary retired in 1992 and in 1995 the happy couple moved to Waco, Texas to be close to her twin Esther and son James M. Clark. Mary and the Major enjoyed many wonderful years together in Waco along with their beloved shih tzu dogs ChaCha and Chula. She volunteered as the" lunch lady" monitor at the local elementary school, befriending all of the youngsters and showering them with love and affection. After the death of Major Gaines in 2001, Mary returned to her native El Paso in 2003, adopting her toy poodle Duke and living out the final years of her life. She is survived by her three children, son James M. Clark, son Dr. Kevin L. Clark (partner, Andy Frietze) and daughter Kimberly Zentmire (husband, Randy); grandchildren Eryn Putman (husband, Victor), Jennifer Jackson (husband, Adam), Dino Chavez (wife, Tommie), Doron Zentmire, Trysta Buehrig (husband, Michael) and Kevin Ryan Chavez (wife, Ashley); great-granchildren Chaz Daniels, Kaitlin Chavez, Bailey Cowdrey, Olivia Grace Chavez, Megyn Putman, Ellie Putman and Londyn Chavez; sisters Bertha McMahon, twin Esther Levy, Patricia Campbell, Frances Gonzalez and Norma Jean Ratliff, numerous cousins including her best buddy and "partner in crime" Robert F. Breton, and many nieces and nephews. Special thanks to the staff at Texas Oncology Center for their wonderful care and especially to Dr. Maria Aloba and Dr. Stephanie Han, who were tireless in their treatment efforts. Also, the family is extremely grateful for the many years of compassionate care provided by her family physician, Dr. Jonnalyn Belocura and her staff. Tender Care Home Health Care Agency provided invaluable comfort to Mary during her illness, which the family greatly appreciates. A very special thank you goes out to her magnificent caregivers Cindy Zaragoza-Castillo and Alix Flores for easing our burden and showering Mary with unconditional love and support in her final days. Finally, to Hospice of El Paso, Mary's family acknowledges the diligent care and concern demonstrated by every member of your staff. A remembrance gathering will take place on Saturday, April 12 from 3-5 p.m. at Martin Funeral Home, followed by a prayer service from 5-6 p.m. Please join us for a celebration of Mary's life at the home of Dr. Kevin L. Clark immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in honor of Mary to either the , 10501 Gateway Blvd. West, Suite 500, El Paso, TX 79935 (or online at or to the Andress High School Alumni Association, 5312 Cornell Avenue, El Paso, TX 79924. Pallbearers are Richard Adelung, Robert Breton, Dino Chavez, Kevin Chavez, Andy Frietze, Brandon LeMaster, Robert K. Levy II, Kenneth Slavin and Doron Zentmire. Service arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Funeraria Del Angel Martin East, 1460 George Dieter Dr., El Paso, Texas 79936. 915-855-8881.
Published in El Paso Times from Apr. 9 to Apr. 17, 2014
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