Our beloved Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Great-grandmother and Great-Great-Grandmother Antonia Castro Gracia passed away to join our Lord on March 1, 2008. She was preceded in death by her parents Esteban and Jesusa Castro; four children: daughter, Victoria, sons, Fernando, Richard and Anthony Gracia; and her grandchildren Michael Flores, Charles Maldonado, Lisa Gracia and great-grandson, Vincent Charles Flores; daughter-in-law, Nancy Gracia; four brothers: Frank, Esteban, Richard and Jacob Castro; and sister, Olga Villa. Antonia C. Gracia was born in San Antonio, Texas on August 11, 1926. She married Fernando Z. Gracia on December 6, 1945. With her husband she raised 12 children; our father was in the United States Air Force for 28 years leaving our mother to raise all her children mostly by herself while he was away. As the matriarch of the family she continued a legacy of this covering almost a century of Castro women living in this west side community which started with our great-grandmother Felicitas Maldonado in 1911 and was passed on to Antonia Castro Gracia. She carried this with love, dignity, and pride for her family and the community she lived in. One of the legacies she left in the community is the opening of a "MOM and POP" Grocery Store across from Cooper Junior High School. It was called Cooper Grocery where she sold her famous banana freezes (recipe she created herself). She ran the store for many years and left a lasting mark in everyone's heart because of her generosity. Our mother was a very loving and caring person and she will forever remain in our hearts. Our loving mother was also a pioneer in the women's movement (1942-1944) as one of the original "Kelly Katies" during World War II. This was San Antonio's brand of "Rosie Riveter". The Kelly Katies were a group of largely Mexican American women who were hired to work at Kelly Air Field to replace men who were shipping out during World War II. Women worked as mechanics, painting airplane wings, disassembled, cleaned and reassembled propellers. She was one of these special women. They filled non-traditional jobs to keep the base running while the men were away. She readily volunteered to serve her country as a young 16 year old girl as a Kelly Katie and went on to serve in the Pacific at Hickam Air Field doing the same type of work. She is survived by her husband of 62 years, Fernando Z. Gracia; daughters, Susie Eileen Ramirez (Vincente), Olga G. Gonzales (Juan), Joann Gracia (Robert), and Joyce G. Garcia (Rene); sons, Charles C. Gracia, Steven C. (Anna) Gracia, David C. (Susan) Gracia and Roland C. (Sylvia) Gracia; daughter-in-law, Irene A. Gracia; 38 grandchildren; 73 great-grandchildren; 12 great-great-grandchildren; brothers, Ramon, Gilbert and Rudy Castro; sisters, Anita Espinoza and Antonia "Cookie" Calvillo; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Monday, March 3, 2008 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Tuesday, March 4, 2008, from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m., with a Rosary to be recited at 7 p.m. Funeral Procession will depart at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 5, 2008, for an 11 a.m. Mass at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church. Interment will follow at San Fernando Archdiocesan Cemetery II. We would like to express our greatest gratitude to the individuals who during her illness helped in taking care of our mother, especially Lupita Avila, Celina Garcia and the nurses and staff at All Care Agency and Southern Hospice. We will forever be greatly thankful for all the kindness you showed to our mother during this very difficult time. Services under the direction of Castillo Mission Funeral Home.
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Published in Express-News from Mar. 2 to Mar. 4, 2008