MARIA ISABEL BARAJAS-MARTINEZ, 21
Activist & Student
AUBURNDALE - "May The Work I've Done, Speak For Me".
Maria Isabel Barajas-Martinez, 21, passed away in a weather related traffic accident on June 24th, 2012. She has spread her wings like a butterfly & flown home to the heavens above. She will greatly be missed by family & friends, for she touched many hearts in the short, but well lived, span that was her life. Her smile was radiant & her laugh was contagious. She was always on the go & was always working for others in a way that will be greatly remembered.
She was born into a migrant worker family on October 26th, 1990 in Bartow, FL, and was raised in Auburndale.
She graduated with high honors from Lake Region High School in 2009, where she was also the president of the National Spanish Honor Society. She went on to pursue her education at Polk State College and was well on her way to becoming a pediatrician. While attending PSC, she also joined the local chapter of Students Working for Equal Rights. In May, 2010 she founded the Young American Dreamers which is a youth group dedicated to community service. Thru Y.A.D. she focused on raising funds to provide scholarships for high school students seeking a higher education. Additionally, Y.A.D. adopted the Lake Blue Park in Winter Haven where they participated in planting flowers & trees during its construction, as well as cleaning it up periodically. Y.A.D. also participated in the yearly MLK Jr. Parade in Winter Haven. She was a volunteer at Angels Care in Eloise & at Lakeland Regional Medical Center. She organized her friends & family to participate in the yearly National Kidney Foundation "Kidney Walk" around Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland. She was a mentor at Snively Elementary & tutored others in reading. She was an avid activist in the Pro-Life, DREAM Act, & Immigration Reform movements. She participated weekly at the Knee-A-Thon Pilgrimage from Sebring, FL to Washington D.C. in the spirit of putting faith into practice as a true Christian. She was a member of the Youth Choir & Youth Group at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Mission in Wahneta.
She was blessed to have found her soul mate, whom she married on November 12, 2011. She is survived by him, Enrique Martinez (23) of Winter Haven, whom she proudly supported with all his activities as a 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus.
She is survived by her maternal grandfather, Guadalupe De La Rosa & his wife Hilda De La Rosa of Wauchula, FL; her parents: Hilario & Maria Barajas of Auburndale, FL; her in-laws: Jose Javier Flores & Justa Martinez of Yakima, WA. Preceded by her brother, "Baby Juan Carlos", laid to rest in Mercedes, TX. Surviving brothers: Juan Calderon of Seffner, FL, John Malady of Windsor, SC, Juan Gerardo Barajas of Spring Hill, FL, Juan Gabriel Barajas of Texas City, TX, & Daniel Barajas of Auburndale, FL. Surviving sister: Norma Barajas de Connor of Huntsville, AL. She had 3 nieces & 2 nephews; paternal uncles: Valentin, Pedro, & Tomas Barajas, all of Auburndale, FL; paternal aunt: Maria Trejo of Auburndale, FL; maternal uncles: Roy De La Rosa of Bradenton, FL, Ramon De La Rosa of Bowling Green, FL, Santos De La Rosa of Sebring, FL. There are many more countless family members across the United States & reaching as far as Mexico. Special dedication to Heather Ryder, lifelong friend & sister.
Visitation is Wednesday, June 27, 2012 from 6pm to 9pm at Ott-Laughlin Funeral Home, 2198 K-Ville Avenue, Auburndale, FL. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 9am at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Mission, 2150 Bomber Road, Wahneta, FL. Burial to follow in Glen Abbey Memorial Gardens, 2200 K-Ville Avenue, Auburndale, FL. www.ottlaughlinfuneralhome.com