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Carmen Z. Barrera

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August 17, 1924 - February 22, 2015
In 1923 Ana Barocio and Jose Erasmo Zendejas of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico decided to visit family in San Antonio, Texas. They paid the required 5 cent fee to cross the border and while here, they discovered the fruits and opportunities offered at the Cementville factory where the wage of $3.50 per week enticed them to stay. Ana resigned her position as a teacher in their hometown of Piedras Negras, to work as a seamstress for Finesilver Manufacturing Company and Jose went to work for the Cementville Company as a machinist.

Maria del Carmen Zendejas was born on August 17, 1924 to Ana Barocio and Jose Erasmo Zendejas in the municipality of Cementville, Texas - now more popularly known as the Quarry Shopping Center, a first generation American of immigrant parents. She had three younger siblings, Bertha Tellez and Celia Alaniz (deceased) of San Antonio and Robert Zendejas of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Carmen attended Hawthorn Junior High and graduated from San Antonio Tech High School in 1943. She became engaged to her high school sweetheart Roy Barrera, Sr. (Former Texas Secretary of State - 1968) on Halloween Night in 1947. She attended San Antonio College, St. Mary's University and UTSA, giving up her educational aspirations to care for her mother Ana in her last years.

Carmen and Roy celebrated their 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries at their home among family and friends - riding in their 1929 Dodge Roadster to San Fernando Cathedral where they renewed their marriage promises to each other. September 2014 marked their 66 years of marriage.

Carmen enjoyed many charitable, social and civic memberships over the years but held Pan American League and Wolf Trail Kids Kamp near and dear to her heart for over 40 years. She worked tirelessly to stock and assist Dentists at the free clinic providing young children with the very necessary dental work they needed to keep a healthy and beautiful smile. She also gathered used eyeglasses to help the aged reduce the cost on their new prescriptions at the eye clinic. Though both of those clinics are now closed and sold, she was one of the major decision makers over where the funds from the sale of the two clinics would go which we all know was to the San Fernando Cathedral Civic center - one million dollars, all told.

For over 40 years, while she worked with the Pan American League toward their fundraising goals and charitable works, she joined the Wolf Trail Kids Kamp as a board member, invited by founder and executive director of the Tranchese Foundation, Father James H. McCown of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in the inner city. She proved to be a dedicated board member and served as its President for several years, when Fr. McCown figured the only way to keep her was to promote her to Executive Director - the position she held until her retirement at age 83. Over the course of 40 years, through serious fund raising efforts on her part and on the part of the Board of Directors, Wolf Trail Kids Kamp hosted thousands of inner city children to a week long summer camp experience, [in a safe and healthy environment not ordinarily enjoyed by inner city children] free of charge and complete with hot noontime meals and healthy snacks.

Other memberships include the PTA's of Mount Sacred Heart, Ursuline Academy and Antonian High School, San Antonio Bar Auxiliary [past president], El Patronato, Sembradores de Amistad [sowers of friendship], The Texas State Officials Auxiliary and Archbishop Flores's Telethon Navideno [collection for food and heating costs each November]. Carmen's attentions have always been children, their heath, education and welfare.

For many years, Carmen participated in Social Club to maintain her lifelong friendships. She played cards and bunco with the Club Capri, and enjoyed music, arts and philanthropy with the Ladies 12. Her compadres, Richard & Lena Erlich Cordova, Edgar & Lucy Casillas Ramos, Eddie Garza &Thelma Morales, H.F. "Hippo" Garcia & Caroline Harvey and Anthony & Virginia Nicholas stood as Godparents to her children at Baptism.

In her spare time, Carmen visited the European countries of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Italy and Spain, the Asian countries of China and Russia, the African countries of Chad, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the South American countries of Brazil, Argentina, Chili and Uruguay and she set foot on the continent of Antarctica. She was a White House dinner guest of two Presidents of the United States, President Ronald Reagan and President Lyndon Baines Johnson, telling us that the second dinner was as memorable as the first, both "high lights" of her life.

Carmen is survived by her husband of 66 years, Roy, Sr. and her 5 children, Yolanda Arellano, Roy, Jr. and wife Sally, Gilbert, Carmen Alice and husband Rick Ramirez, Bobby and wife Karen. She is also survived by her 12 grandchildren, Roy R. Barrera, III and wife Jamie, Andrea Arellano, Mark Barrera & wife Abril, Marissa Ann and husband Lawrence Morales, Robert Arellano, Margo Ramirez, Monica Ramirez and husband David Khirallah, Ana Benita Arellano, Maricarmen Ramirez, Mia Ramirez, Olivia Barrera and Erik Barrera and her 9 great-grandchildren - Roy R. Barrera IV, Ava Rose Barrera, Blake Barrera, Sofia Morales, Lyla Morales, Felicia Morales, Emma & Elena Barrera and David Khirallah, Jr. Predeceasing Carmen are two great grandchildren, Elisa Barrera and Daniel Khirallah.

In 2008 Carmen was honored by "San Antonio Can" as "Mother of the Year". Their focus is on helping disadvantaged students to finish school, by removing the barriers that impede their success and honored as mother of Outstanding Hispanic Family of the Year.

Travel, shopping, cooking for family gatherings and special events, music and live theater, shopping, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and shopping - were just a few of her favorite things to do. San Antonio was her only home, Roy was her only love, heart and soul, her children were her life and her grandchildren & great grandchildren, her pride and joy!

SERVICES

ROSARY
7:30 PM MONDAY, MARCH 2, 2015
ST. MATTHEW CATHOLIC CHURCH
10703 WURZBACH ROAD

MASS
10:00 AM TUESDAY, MARCH 3, 2015
ST. MATTHEW CATHOLIC CHURCH
10703 WURZBACH ROAD

PROCESSION TO THE BARRERA FAMILY CEMETERY TO FOLLOW

You may sign the online guestbook at www.missionparks.com under the obituary section.

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Published in Express-News on Feb. 26, 2015
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