CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas Ė A host of angels and her beloved previously-deceased family members were sent by Our Lord to take Estefana G. Salinas, 88, to her heavenly home on April 20, 2008. She was escorted home by her loving husband, Alfredo Salinas, who preceded her in death when she was only 39. Also holding her hand was her much-loved daughter, Graciela Salinas Ramos, who died in a tragic accident 21 years ago, and her sweet grandson, Horacio Simplicio Barrera, formerly of Premont, Texas. Waiting at the Gates to receive her were her parents, Amado and Fulgencia Garcia, formerly of San Diego, Texas; and her brothers, Amado, Rafael, Pedro, Manuel, and her brother, Jesus, who died only three days before Esfefana.

Esfefana is survived by her grieving and devoted daughters: Sylvia (Joe) Mitchell, Carmen (Hubert) Barrera, and Sally Salinas of Corpus Christi, Texas; and Dora Montemayor (Ruben PeŮa) of Alice, Texas; as well as seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Other survivors include her sisters and sisters-in-law, Francisca Garcia and Delia (Horacio) Oliveira of Corpus Christi, Texas, Josefina Salinas of San Antonio, Texas, Idolina Rios and Marta Garcia of San Diego, Texas, and Lilia Benavides of Ramirez, Texas; as well as numerous nieces and nephews that she loved dearly and who loved her. Another loved member of her family was Elsa Rodriguez, her caregiver and friend for several years.

Estefana was a classy, intelligent, and prosperous woman, who began her life on February 22, 1920. She was senior class president and Valedictorian of her class in San Diego, Texas. She went on to graduate with a Bachelors degree from the University of Texas and a Masterís degree from Texas A & I University, both with summa cum laude honors.

Her love of gardening and the great outdoors was apparent, and she spent countless hours outside with her well-worn gloves creating beautiful gardens. She loved to watch every kind of sport from football to golf to tennis. She was a staunch Democrat and enjoyed discussing everything from politics to sports. Those that knew Estefana were blessed, and those that didnít know her missed out in witnessing her unbeatable strength in adversity, her determination, and her dedication to others. After her husband died, she raised her five daughters alone, who at the time ranged in ages from 12 to one year old. She never complained and never retreated from a problem. She was devoted to her children and grandchildren, and continuously proved it by her unselfish acts.

She took great pride in managing her land holdings in Duval County. What she didnít know, she learned, and what she learned, she shared. She passed on her love for education as a school teacher in South Texas for many years, and retired as a consultant with Corpus Christi ISD. She belonged to several professional organizations and sororities, and was also a member and officer of several religious organizations, including Catholic Daughters of America.

Her loss will be felt for many years to come, but her children know that she is finally resting in the arms of her husband that she loved so much. Although 48 years had passed since his death, her last words were of him; so while her family chokes back their tears of longing to see her, they delight in picturing them dancing on the clouds with a choir of angels providing the music.

The family would like to thank Dolly Broadus and all of the staff at Villa South, as well as the staff at Vista Care, who made Estefanaís last days comfortable and allowed her to pass into the next life with the same dignity and grace that she lived in this life. They also want to thank all of those who gave their time, patience, care and love to their mother.

Honorary pallbearers are Horacio Oliveira Sr. and her beloved nephew, Horacio Oliveira Jr. Pallbearers are her nephews, David Salinas, Julio Alfredo Benavides, Daniel O. Rios, Mark Oliveira, Michael Hernandez, Joe Gabriel Garcia, Patricio Garcia and Eulalio Salinas Jr.

Visitation will begin at 3 p.m. Friday, April 25, 2008 at Mauro P. Garcia Funeral Home in San Diego, Texas. A Rosary will follow at 7 p.m. The funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, April 26, at 11 a.m. at St. Francis de Paula Catholic Church in San Diego. Procession will follow to the family cemetery in Ramirez, Texas, where Estefana will be buried next to her beloved husband and daughter.

Arrangements entrusted to Mauro P. Garcia Funeral Homes Inc. Ė Paid Obituary