Maria Lydia Ponce, age 74, passed away with her family at her bedside at Rio Grande Regional Hospital in McAllen on Thursday, February 26, 2009, after a short battle with breast and liver cancer.

She was born in Pharr on October 3, 1934, to Simon and Paula Rios. She was a lifelong resident of Edinburg and graduated from Edinburg High School and attended Pan American College. She worked many years with the Rio Grande Valley Gas Co. and recently retired after having proudly served the Edinburg School District for 38 years.

She was preceded in death by her parents and three sisters, Virginia Rios, Candelaria Guerra and Dalia Rios. She is survived by her loving husband and constant companion Albert Ponce, daughter, Marilanda (Ramiro) Caballero, son, Alberto Aaron (Claudia) Ponce, sisters, Carmen (Jeffrey) Zatorski of Houston, Susana Rios of Michigan, Catarina (Bill) Utz of Ohio, Alicia R. (George) Salinas of Michigan, brother, Jose Angel Rios of McAllen, grandchildren, Julian Andres Caballero, Daniel Aaron Caballero, Diego Luis Caballero, Kristina Murphy Ponce, Eva Lauren Ponce and future grandchild Ponce due in August.

Lydia was a devout Catholic and has served as a Eucharist Minister at Sacred Heart Parish and various other parishes. She also served on the first Parish Council of Holy Family Catholic Church, Edinburg, as well as an Election Clerk for many years. She was also an active member of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Court #1993.

The family would like to thank Dr. Billie Marek, Texas Oncology Group, Dr. Julian Gomes, the physicians of Hospital Doctors P.A., Dr. Olga Olivares-Herrera, Mr. Joey Ramon, Health Care Unlimited, Beyamar Hospice Services and the wonderful staff at Rio Grande Regional Hospital and McAllen Heart Hospital. Our deepest gratitude to family and friends who carried us through this journey in prayer including Msgr. Louis Brum and all the Brothers and Sisters of the ACTS Community.

Pallbearers were Homer Guerra, Hector Guerra, Bill Utz, George Salinas, Lupe Rios, Rene Saenz, Joel Gonzales, Al Flores, Richard Vela, Rene Guerra and Eddie Prado. Honorary pallbearers will be Arturo Ponce, Ruben Vasquez, Gilbert Tagle, Santiago Duque, Jesus Papo Saenz, Jose Valdez, Deacon Ruben Lopez, Vincent Estevis, Francisco Estevis and David Sanchez, Ernesto Cantu, SFC Albert Gonzalez and the Vela cousins from Pharr, Beto, Milo, Ray, Carlos and Jessie.

Visitations were held on Saturday, February 28 at Skinner Silva Funeral Chapel on West Samano in Edinburg. Visitation continued through Sunday, March 1 at the funeral home. A rosary will follow at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 2201 Martin Street in McAllen Funeral Mass will be celebrated Holy Spirit Catholic Church in McAllen with Msgr. Louis Brum officiating. Interment followed at the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery in Mission, Texas.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorials may be made to the Comfort House, 617 Dallas Ave, McAllen, TX 78501. Funeral services are entrusted to the care of Skinner Silva Funeral Home of Edinburg.