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Maria Antonia Martinez Juarez

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Maria Antonia "Toni" Martinez Juarez July 20, 1935 - April 7, 2012 María Antonia (Toni) Martínez Juárez passed away from a heart attack on April 7, 2012. She was born July 20, 1935 in Laredo, Texas to Enrique Martínez and Margarita Saenz Martínez. She is survived by her husband, José Roberto (Joe Robert or Beto) Juárez, Sr., her six children, José Roberto Juárez, Jr. (Lorene Martínez Juárez), Ana María Juárez (José Paredes), Manuel Enrique Juárez (Mary Sue Galindo), Gloria Alma Juárez (David Barrera), Laura Margarita Juárez de Ku (Jim Ku), David Tomás Juárez (Marvelia Mendoza Juárez), 11 grandchildren, and her 7 sisters. If there is any one characteristic about her that stood out it was her constant concern and care for others, especially children and those in need. Toni modeled Catholic beliefs and the virtue of charity. She grew up in Laredo, Texas. She studied first at Martin High School and then St. Augustine. She was involved in student government, Bobby Soxer's club, theatre productions, and choir. She was a cheerleader and catechism teacher, Toni became involved in helping the community very early in life. She began to teach "doctrina" (catechism) in her parish in Laredo, San José Church, when she was only six years old. Through the years she cleaned the church, sang with the choir, was a member of the Santa Teresitas (a club devoted to St. Theresa). She continued to teach catechism even when she was a student at Our Lady of the Lake College in San Antonio. Toni met Joe Robert when both were juniors at St. Augustine High. They married on December 18, 1954. Toni, Joe and their six children spent the 1965-1966 academic year in Guadalajara, where Joe was doing his research for his doctorate in history. There she helped to organize the archbishop's archive, and assisted Mormon medical students who provided free services for the poor. She resumed her university studies at UT between 1967 and 1969 while serving as Preschool Head Teacher in the City of Austin Child Development Program. The family spent another academic year, 1969-1970, in Guadalajara. Toni continued to catalogue archival materials and to serve as preschool consultant and trainer at the American School of Guadalajara and completed Montessori training by correspondence. The Juárez clan moved to Davis, California from 1970 to 1975. Toni went to offer her help as a volunteer at a day care center for migrants in nearby Dixon in 1971, but instead she was offered the job of Preschool Head Teacher. In 1975 she was appointed Regional Education Coordinator for the Butte County Schools. Even though she was working full-time and raising six children, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Development from Sacramento State University in 1974. Upon the family's return to Laredo in 1975 Toni was appointed Child Development Program Director for the City of Laredo. She greatly expanded that program and served until 1985. She became a full-time graduate student thereafter and earned her Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education and Reading from Laredo State University in 1987. Her work as a kindergarten teacher at UISD in 1987-1988 was one of her most enriching experiences. Offered a position as adjunct instructor at Laredo State University, she jumped at the chance of training future teachers to carry out the work she loves, child development. After Beto's retirement from Laredo Junior College and their move to Austin, Toni served on the Board of the Austin Children's Museum in the early 1990s. Upon their return to Laredo, Toni again taught Early Childhood Education and Reading courses at Texas A&M International University. At the same time she taught (to her last days) religious courses at San Martín de Porres Church and Adult Education and Ministry Formation for the Diocese of Laredo. One of her greatest commitments was to serve on the Laredo Children's Museum Board of Trustees. Visitation will be held Tuesday, April 10, 2012 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (rosary at 7:00 p.m.) at Joe Jackson Funeral Home, 1410 Jacaman Road, Laredo, Texas 78041. Funeral mass will be celebrated at St. Peter the Apostle Church, 1510 Matamoros, Laredo, Texas 78040 at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Toni's memory may be made to any of the following organizations that Toni passionately supported: St. Edward's University CAMP program (assists migrant students); scholarships for Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) or Laredo Community College (LCC) students; Sacred Heart Children's Home in Laredo, TX (an orphanage), or Bethany House of Laredo (feeds the hungry).
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Apr. 10, 2012
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