Lilia Ramirez

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Lilia R. Ramirez, 87 of Las Cruces and formerly of Bayard, entered eternal life on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 at Good Samaritan Society, Las Cruces Village. She is survived by three of her children, Ana Alicia Kelley, Hector Ramirez and Mary Lou Rodriguez; her sister Eva Rodriguez; and her 12 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. Her death was preceded by that of her late husband, Arcadio Ramirez and her eldest daughter, Filomena Ramirez. Lilia was born in Hanover, N.M. on Aug. 28, 1925, the daughter of Dario and Consuelo Romero, who emigrated from Chihuahua, Mexico to the United States in the early 1900s to find work in the copper mines of Grant County. She was the fourth of six sisters, well known locally for their close family bonds and the great harmony of their singing in church choirs and as hired performers at local events. She was sister to the deceased Elvira Valencia, Annie Salaiz, Jose Sabino Romero, Leonor Cisneros and Margaret Sifuentes. Lilia is remembered by her family and friends as a relentlessly giving woman – devoted above all to her family and church and endeared to her community. She was possessed by an honest love for life and for the people around her, and she was known for seeing the best in people and giving more than she took. Her optimism and sense of humor were a constant gift to the people close to her. After Lilia married Arcadio in 1944, he went on to fight the Nazis in World War II and Lilia was on her own, supporting her firstborn until he returned from the Battle of the Bulge. After the war they settled into their newly built home in Bayard, where they lived for nearly 50 years before moving to Las Cruces in 2003. As a girl, Lilia studied only through eighth grade – forced by her father's loss of sight to stay home and help her mother while her older sisters worked several jobs each to make ends meet. But as a mother, Lilia placed the highest value on education for her children. Her first two daughters - Filomena and Ana Alicia – earned undergraduate and graduate degrees before becoming respected educators in New York and New Mexico. Lilia's tireless work ethic rubbed off on all of her children: Hector retired a decorated U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sergeant and Mary Lou distinguished herself at a large U.S. corporation before raising her own children. Lilia was known by her family and friends for her sweetness and peace of mind. In her younger years, when times were hard and her husband, once a prominent union leader, faced challenges she would tell everyone "no matter how hard it gets, we will be OK if there's ice cream in the house." When faced with difficult decisions, she reminded them "uno pone y Dios dispone": we propose but God decides. As a mother and a grandmother, she gave her time to Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Bayard, where she was active in the Santo Nino Society for years. She strengthened the family's bonds and built enduring friendships in the community by serving alongside her husband to support the Knights of Columbus and by volunteering for the March of Dimes. Lilia's grandchildren – Sheila Gardner, Yvette Springler, Sean Conway, Lisa Hesson, Annette Trammel, Daniel Ramirez, Jessica Allsup, Erik Rodriguez, Alexus Rodriguez, Jeffrey Mellman, Dina Mellman and Steven Mellman – remember her for her love and generosity. Having seldom left New Mexico, she broke roots to travel thousands of miles to see them in their early years – from New York and North Carolina to Germany and Spain. She never missed a graduation. In hard times, she helped her daughters to raise their children and passed on her belief that family is our greatest gift. Even in her 80s, she was deeply involved with her great-granddaughter, Charlize, who was born afflicted and died at the age of 4. She left a lasting image in her grandchildren's minds about the beauty of marriage in how she danced in perfect rhythm and grace with her husband. Lilia's life was a gift to her family and to all of us who knew her and she will be missed. A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. today, Feb. 8, 2012 in the Peace Chapel of Baca's Funeral Chapels, 300 E. Boutz Road in Las Cruces. Calling hours will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013 at Baca's Funeral Chapels, Hwy 180-E in Silver City, where the prayer vigil is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Mass of the resurrection will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 at Our Lady of the Fatima Catholic Church in Bayard. The rite of committal and interment will follow at Fort Bayard National Cemetery where she will lay to rest alongside her husband, several miles from a memorial site for her daughter, Filomena. Serving as casket bearers will be Harley Allsup, Sean Conway, Kevin Gardner, Daniel Ramirez, Erik Rodriguez, Juan Rodriguez, Albert Kelley and Kevin Springler. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made in her name to Good Samaritan Society, Las Cruces Village, 3025 Terrace Dr., Las Cruces, NM 88011 Service arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Baca's Funeral Chapels of Las Cruces and Silver City. For online condolences, log on to www.bacasfuneralchapelslascruces.com.
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Feb. 8, 2013
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