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Carmen Betancourt

1935 - 2020
Carmen Betancourt Notice
Carmen Paz Betancourt, 84 passed away on March 15, 2020.

Carmen (affectionately known as Carmelina to her family and friends, Mami to her sons and Aba to her granddaughters), was born on September 3, 1935 to father Roman Paz and mother Amelia Gonzalez in Regla, a town just east of Havana, Cuba.

The fourth of Roman and Amelia's five children, Carmen from an early age displayed trend-setting traits for all to see. A traveler, she enjoyed spending time in New York City with older siblings Ofelia and Angel. Always eager to learn, she studied English and took classes to be a keypunch operator at New York University in the late 1950s. A dancer, she frequented the clubs from Newark, NJ to Regla and Havana in which the Guaracha genre of music was popular. She danced in many of Havana's Carnivals as a Guarachera de Regla. Always well-dressed and classy, she wore the latest fashions during those times.

It was in 1964 that she would marry her lifelong husband, Jose Betancourt. They started a family and she desperately longed for the life she briefly experienced in the U.S. With the help of family, the young couple and their son were part of the Freedom Flights program. June 15, 1971 is a day she would celebrate year after year. It was the day she would return, this time with her husband and son. While it was difficult leaving her homeland, she was quite the visionary who sought to compose a different narrative for her life outside of Cuba. After arriving in Orlando, Florida, she worked as a keypunch operator and seamstress.

A second son arrived in 1975 and Carmen would become a professional mom that over the years would compile hall of fame credentials. To her sons she passed along a sense of fierce determination and was forever their most passionate supporter. Whether in the stands at band concerts or a baseball game, you can be sure her voice would be heard. It was an affection she would come to share with her granddaughters, whom she loved with every ounce of her soul.

Carmen will be lovingly remembered as a woman of profound strength and outspoken courage; a protector and advocate for her family; and an amazing cook of all things Cuban. Her model for righteousness and speaking out for what is right continues to be passed on.

She reunites with Jose, her loving husband of 55 years, who preceded her in death by a mere seventy days. She is survived by sons Jose Angel Betancourt (Rebecca) of Huntsville, AL and George Alexander Betancourt (Melissa) of Charlotte, NC, granddaughters Amelia, Becca Grace, Grey and Charlotte, sister Alicia Temes of Orlando, FL and brother Carlos Paz of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.

A private burial ceremony will be held on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at Chapel Hill Cemetery in Orlando, FL. A Celebration of Life for family and friends will be planned for future dates in Charlotte, NC and Orlando, FL.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Memory & Movement Charlotte. It is a life changing organization that provides a family-focused approach to Alzheimer's, Parkinsons and other memory and movement disorders in Charlotte, NC.

Online condolences may be shared at www.mcewenpinevillechapel.com.
Published in the Orlando Sentinel from Mar. 17 to Mar. 18, 2020
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