Beloved wife and our mother, Olivia Quintanilla Lopez, a long time resident of Edinburg passed away on March 23, 2010. The hallmark of her character was a willingness to never give up in the face of adversity. She put up a valiant fight against the cancer that invaded her body, never giving up hope, and always believing in the power of prayer and the miracle of modern medicine.
Mom was born October 22, 1924 to Eufemia and Maximo Quintanilla of Tilden, Texas. Mom always loved learning and as her school mate Tommy Shelton recalled, “she was the only girl in the class and always ahead of the class,” in 1943 she graduated from Tilden High School as the Valedictorian.
Using her Valedictory Scholarship she moved to San Antonio where she enrolled in Draughms Business College. Mom aspired to do more in her life and in 1946 she enrolled in South Texas Teachers College now known as Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. During the summer she attended summer school and she was able to teach during the school year without a degree due to the shortage of teachers. The year 1947 was a big year for Mom because not only had she become a full time college student, she also met the love of her life, Andres G. Lopez, back from the war and now a college student attending college on the G. I. Bill. Mom and Dad dated for four years and married January 22nd 1949. As Mom often recalled, “they had no money but they had lots of love.” Shortly after their marriage they took a job in the Rio Grande Valley and made their first home in a four room school house named Sam Lane. Mom taught 1st, 2nd 3rd grade and Dad taught 4th, 5th, 6th and-7th grades. They simply opened a door and they would be standing in their living room. Those were wonderful years for Mom and Dad. Their first child Andres Lopez Jr. was born in 1951 and lived there with them in the school house. Mom and Dad made life long friends in the Sam Lane community and always looked back fondly on a community that had opened their arms to a very young couple. Mom and Dad were and are ever indebted to the children and families of that school. Years later Mom would often encounter former students from Sam Lane and was always able to recognize them and call them by name.
In 1953 their second child, Linda Lopez, was born. At that time Mom and Dad moved into Edinburg and bought a home on 5th Street. Mom and Dad spent wonderful years on 5th street raising their family. That was a time when neighbors were truly neighbors. Neighbors knocked on each others doors to share a cup of coffee or borrow a cup of sugar. Children were made to resolve their disagreements and sides were never taken by the adults. They all cared about one another and looked out for each other and for each other’s children. In 1968 my parents and the following couples formed the Allegro Club. The club was made up of Arturo and Christina Flores, Gilbert and Isaura Villarreal, Raul and Bertha Garza, Henry and Elia Domian, Sonny and Estella Garza, and Bobby and Lilia Rutledge. They held many social events, dances, and enjoyed monthly dinners in each other’s homes.
Mom’s life had purpose, commitment, and was centered on service to others. She taught at Sam Houston Elementary School for five years and then for twenty five years at Robert E. Lee Elementary School. In 1982 Mom retired from education but retirement opened up a whole new chapter of her life. Mom was a member of the Edinburg Regional Hospital Auxiliary of Volunteers, The Roe Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, and the Pan American Round Table holding different positions in each organization.
Mom is survived by her husband of sixty-one years, Andres G. Lopez and her children, son Andy (Anna) Lopez, and daughter Linda Lopez Marsh both of San Antonio, Texas. In addition, she is survived by three grandchildren, Major Richie (Rachel) Marsh, United States Air Force, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, Andres Lopez III, Laura Lopez, San Antonio, Texas and their mother Rosy DeWulf, Houston, Texas, and two great grand children, Diego and Joaquin Marsh. She is survived by sisters, Josephine Buitron, Fort Worth, Texas, Frances Moya, Jourdanton, Texas, and Teresa Kendrick, Charlotte, Texas, and numerous nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by brothers Matias, Juan, and Luis Quintanilla, Tilden, Texas, sisters Dolores Gonzalez, Pensacola , Florida and Guadalupe Rios of San Antonio, Texas. Our family would like to thank the Edinburg Regional Hospital 4th floor staff, The Solara Hospitals of Edinburg, and McAllen for their kindness and attention displayed at all times during mother’s illness.
Mom was a true Texas girl, full of sassiness and spirit. She is greatly missed by all of us!
Family received friends yesterday, March 24, 2010 from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. with a rosary recited at 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Peace at Ceballos-Diaz Funeral Home in Edinburg. Christian mass was held on Friday, March 26, 2010 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Tilden, Texas. Christian burial followed to Hill Top Cemetery in Tilden, Texas. Funeral services have been entrusted to Ceballos-Diaz Funeral Home in Edinburg.