MIRELES, Viola 'Vi' (Jensen)
Aug. 15, 1937 - July 8, 2013
MIRELES, Bonifacio Rodolfo 'BR'
June 5, 1932 - July 8, 2013
Vi Jensen was 12 when she first caught sight of Rudy Mireles on a Saturday night escorting his date up the steps of the local dance hall near Belding, Mich. She promised herself then that someday she would marry the handsome, dark-haired boy with the big brown eyes and sparkling smile.
Fast-forward to the summer of 1953. Rudy would make a point of stopping for gas three or four times a day at the Four Corners country store and gas station in hope of catching a glimpse of the owner's pretty, green-eyed daughter.
When he finally found the courage to call and invite Vi to the Ionia County Fair, she hung up because she didn't believe it was him on the phone. So he drove to the gas station to make his invitation in person. So began a love affair lasting nearly 61 years.
Even in death, the two were inseparable. Bonifacio Rodolfo Mireles and Viola Roselind Jensen Mireles died in a single-car accident on I-80, Monday, July 8, 2013, near Wells, Nevada. He was 81. She was 76. They were en route to Wisconsin to visit family.
Known as 'Rudy' in his youth and BR as an adult, Bonifacio Rodolfo Mireles was born June 5, 1932, in San Antonio, Texas, to Micaela Reyes Mireles and Manuel Mireles. He later moved to Belding where he graduated Belding High School and joined the Michigan National Guard. He served 10 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, rising to the rank of Staff Sgt., earning multiple Good Conduct medals, a UN Service medal, National Defense Service medal and a Korean Service medal.
Viola Roselind Jensen Mireles was born Aug. 15, 1937, in Belding, Mich., to Glenn A. Jensen and Juniva Jensen. As a youth she loved ice skating in the winter and riding bicycle in the summer when she was't helping at her dad's store. She attended a 1-room country grade school and was an honor student.
The two wed in her parents' living room on Jan. 29, 1955.
Their lives together would take them from Michigan to North Carolina to Wisconsin to Texas and California. After leaving the military, BR graduated the Lutheran Lay Training Institute in Milwaukee and become first a lay minister in Hispanic Ministries for the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church and later an ordained minister, serving in the California, Nevada, Hawaii District. He graduated Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 1979. He also served as deputy for the Yolo County Sheriff's Department. His faith was central in his life and he continued in the ministry up until his death.
For her part, Vi was a quiet, everyday hero. She worked in and out of the home to help nurture their six children, setting aside her own dreams to make a home for her family. She loved gardening and sewing and was noted for her home-cooked meals.
Despite health limitations, the two managed road trips to Wisconsin & Texas delighting in visits with children & grandchildren. They enjoyed drives into the California foothills and always made a special point of going to the fair each year. Their last outing together was a road trip to visit their Wisconsin family.
Survivors include their six children, Richard Mireles of Corpus Christi, Texas; Mark Mireles and his wife, Dianne, of Corpus Christi, Texas; Jan Larson and her husband, Lauran, of Eau Claire, Wis.; Valerie Farrow and her husband, Jeff, of Modesto; Elizabeth Wilcox and her husband, Rick, of Madera; and Jeff Mireles of Sacramento. The couple also is survived by eight grandchildren: Elyssa Larson, Greylan Larson and Dana Larson of Eau Claire, Wis.; Paul Mireles and Philip Mireles of Corpus Christi, Texas; and, Tori Farrow, Connor Farrow and Carson Farrow of Modesto.
A funeral service will be held Saturday, July 27, 2013, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1500 27th Street in Sacramento. The Rev. Jason Bredeson will officiate. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be presented to the church for the Hispanic ministries program or the Safe Home project. Interment will be at the Coastal Bend State Veteran's Cemetery in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Published in The Sacramento Bee on July 24, 2013
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