Enjoys family visits, sweeping her front porch

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

Maria E. Ruiz, 100, enjoys the small things of life, such as sweeping her front porch and visiting with family and friends.

"She is a really nice person," said Maria Rivera, who is married to Ruiz's nephew. "She is in very good health."

Ruiz celebrated a century of living on Jan. 13. She was born in Realitos and was raised by her uncle and aunt.

After her sister, Carmen, passed away, she raised her sister's three sons, Carlos Rivera from Ben Bolt, Pedro Rivera from Corpus Christi and Ramiro Rivera from Benavides.

She took care of her uncle and aunt until they died.

Ruiz celebrated her recent birthday with a birthday cake and good food with about 50 nieces, nephews, family members and friends from Realitos, Benavides, Corpus Christi, Houston and the Rio Grande Valley.

According to family members, Ma Ruiz, as family members know her, is in great health.

She enjoys family visits, talking on the phone and still does house chores like sweeping the front porch.

Most importantly, Ma Ruiz enjoys being surrounded by her family and friends every day.

Maria Rivera said her aunt has a bright mind.

"Her mind is very sharp and she remembers everything," she said.

In the late 1980s, Ruiz moved from Realitos to Ben Bolt with her nephew, Carlos Rivera, and his wife, Maria Rivera, who take care of her.

Family members said they think Ruiz's secret to her longevity has been that she takes good care of herself.

"She never smoked or drank, that's what kept her going," Maria Rivera said.