Elvira M. Dopico Urquia (1923 - 2016)

Obituary
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DOPICO URQUIA, ELVIRA M., 92, passed away on August 3, 2016, of natural causes. Born in 1923 in Havana, Cuba, she came to the U.S. in 1961. She was a lifelong educator, musician, and community benefactor. She was educated at the University of Havana, obtained a Master's Degree from Barry University, and had the opportunity to attend special programs and graduate level courses at both Columbia University and the Julliard School in New York City. Shortly after her arrival in the U.S., Elvira became a teacher with Miami-Dade County Public Schools in 1964. She quickly rose through the ranks of the school system, first as Assistant Principal, then Principal, Area Director, and eventually Associate Superintendent, until she retired in 1994. She was the first Cuban-American Associate Superintendent in Miami-Dade County. Elvira was a board member of the Arscht (then Carnival) Center for the Performing Arts Education Committee, the Murray Dranoff Foundation, the Girl Scout Council, Delta Kappa Gamma Society, and the Cuban Museum. She was a charter member and Past President of the Cuban Women's Club, a member of the Catholic Educators' Guild, United Family and Children's Services and, most notably, a State Commissioner on the Florida Commission on Human Relations. During her long career Elvira received many honors and awards: Girl Scout Council of Florida Women's History Award, Honoree of the Leones Cubanos en el Exilio, the Pioneer Award from "In the Company of Women" and numerous other awards of gratitude and recognition. Elvira had a great love of music. Early in her career in Havana, she co-authored a primary music songbook featuring children's tunes that were familiar to Cuban children, thus facilitating their learning experience. Elvira was co-owner of a thriving music conservatory in Havana, where her students benefited from the use of her primer as well as the use of myriad other music textbooks she co-authored. Years later, Elvira continued to use those texts to introduce all of her grand and great-grand nieces and nephews to the piano. Elvira was kind-hearted, generous, and loved visiting new places. In addition to introducing her godchildren, grand and great-grand nieces and nephews to music, she also took them on countless trips and passed on her love of travel to new generations. Elvira is survived by her cousins (Mana Fraga and Eugenio Erquiaga), nieces and nephews (Irene Silva and husband Rolando, Alfonso Fernandez-Fraga and wife Ana, Aya Fernandez-Fraga and husband Patrick Krug, and Beatriz Davidson and husband Marvin), god-children, and many grand and great-grandnieces and nephews. She will be greatly missed by all of them and also by all the children she influenced and inspired throughout her many years in education. Viewing will be at Memorial Plan Funeral Home, 9800 SW 24 Street Miami, FL 33165 on Friday, Aug. 5, from 8-10PM and a funeral mass will be held at St. Hugh Catholic Church, 3460 Royal Road, Coconut Grove, FL 33133 on Saturday, Aug. 6, at 1:00 PM, with burial immediately afterwards.
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Funeraria Memorial Plan Westchester
9800 SW 24th Street
Miami, FL 33165
(305) 227-3333
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Published in the Miami Herald on Aug. 5, 2016
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