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Gloria Martinez Vargas


1926 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Gloria Martinez Vargas Obituary
March 6, 1926 - December 22, 2016 The family of Gloria Martinez-Vargas is saddened to announce her passing from natural causes on December 22, 2016. She was 90 years old. Gloria was born in Superior, Arizona on March 6, 1926, the fifth of six daughters to Guadalupe Estrella-Valdez and Ismael Martinez who immigrated from Mexico a few years prior. Gloria was predeceased by her parents and her sisters Consuelo, Esperanza, Azucena, brother Ismael Jr. and ex-husband Armando Vargas Sr. In 1982 Gloria lost her second son Christopher in a work-related accident. At the age of 9, Gloria and her family moved to Los Angeles. In an autobiography written by her, she wrote about her elementary education being completed with great difficulty because she did not speak English. She applauds the dedication of two very sensitive teachers who tutored her after school. She learned English by the age of 10 and maintained her proficiency in Spanish with the ability to read and write it. Gloria went on to graduate from Lincoln High School in 1944. Because WWII was still raging after Gloria graduated, she went on to work in a factory to help fill in the jobs left by men who were serving and help support her family. Her father had passed away leaving her mother to support a family of eight. Despite having to work full-time in a factory Gloria never lost her passion for fashion design which was her dream career. She would spend most of her spare time drawing models and designing gowns, suits and playwear. Today, we enjoy going through her portfolios of her designs which would fit in today's market. If you knew Gloria she was always fashionably dressed and fully accessorized! She was always dressed "to the 9's" as they say. Gloria met her husband, the very handsome and suave Armando Vargas while in elementary school and went steady through high school. They married in 1949 and had four children, Armando Jr., Christopher, Elizabeth and Eric. The marriage ended after 18 years. Finding herself as a single Mom and working only at a part-time job in the Head Start Program, Gloria realized she needed to go back to school and earn her degree. She enrolled at PCC after a year she received two scholarships which helped her to transfer to Cal State Los Angeles and earned her B.A. in Sociology in 1974. Gloria states that these were the most difficult years of her life, working full-time and going to school full-time. It was a sacrifice that she and her children had to make so they could have a better future. Not forgetting her parents struggle to emigrate from Mexico to the U.S. for the welfare of their children, Gloria embarked on trying to advocate for the minority Latino Community. This passion to improve the quality of living for minorities placed Gloria on some important positions where she could make some changes. She joined various committees, served on boards and commissions. She stated that her most valuable experience was serving on the General Revenue County Committee and Health System Commission and appointment by then Supervisor Pete Schabarum. Gloria became a speaker at many forums such as Career Day, Hispanic Women's Day at various local colleges. She presented at workshops for parents at the California Association of Bilingual Education with conferences in L.A., San Francisco and Sacramento. She was an inspiration to many Latinos as she stressed the importance of higher education Gloria was a cancer survivor after being diagnosed in 1984 with breast cancer which ended that year with a mastectomy. She followed with half a year of chemo therapy and had been in remission ever since. Her last employment was with the Bassett Unified School District as Community Relations Specialist for the district. She loved what she did which was to improve the quality of services for students and their families in the La Puente area. Gloria is survived by her children and sisters Aurora Cameron and Sharon Magdaleno. She leaves behind her adoring nieces and nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was an inspiration to her family and many others she helped along her life's path. Services will be Thursday, January 5 at 1:00 p.m. at Calvary Chapel Golden Springs, 22324 Golden Springs Dr., Diamond Bar, CA 91765. If interested you may donate to the: Gloria Vargas Scholarship, c/o C.O.P.A., P. O. Box 70564, Pasadena, CA 91117.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Dec. 29 to Dec. 31, 2016
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