Juanita Ruiz Rodriguez
June 2, 1932 – November 24, 2019
Juanita Ruiz-Rodriguez was born Juana Ruiz on June 2nd, 1932, in Las Marias, Puerto Rico. She was born to the late Dolores Rodriguez-Rodriguez and late Juan Ruiz-Palao; raised by her paternal grandmother-by-marriage, the late Nicolasa Ruiz, and her biological grandfather the late Manuel Ruiz. She grew up on a large Finca farmland of sugarcane and coffee beans.
In her late teens, she caught the eye of a construction excavator- and her future husband- the late Humberto Rodriguez-Santos (1919-1990). It was love at first sight for Humberto, who was attracted to Juanita’s long dark hair and witty humor. Juanita and Humberto were married for 38 years and enjoyed their nine children; Amelia (1952), Humberto Jr. (1953), Susana (1955), Myra Antonia (1957-2010), Elena (1960), Judith (1962), Jennie Ann (1963), Samuel Augustine(1964) and Dianna Luz 1969).
Juanita raised her family as devout Catholics on the southwest side of Chicago and attended Presentation Parish for 15+ years. With the help of her dear friend Rosemary, Juanita’s dream came true in 1972 when she and her husband bought a house on Chicago’s north side in the DePaul area. The family’s children continued their religious sacraments at St. Bonaventure Parish and attended Prescott the neighborhood school.
With her children grown and her youngest child off to college, Juanita, with her husband, decided to move back to Puerto Rico. They lived there happily for several years before Humberto fell ill and passed away in September of 1990. Juanita traveled to the states and back visiting her children and inviting friends over to the island. She enjoyed every moment in the home she and her late husband purchased in Arroyo, Puerto Rico, and was sad when she had to leave in December of 2005 due to her declining health. Juanita moved in with her daughter Judith and lived in Campbell, California, until her death.
Juanita was genuinely a clever woman, quick on her feet, and a quicker tongue to match. These traits, combined with secretarial classes, gave her an edge up in her time. However, having only received schooling up to the 9th grade, Juanita truly wanted her children and grandchildren to go further with their education than she did because she knew this would better position them for success. A note to how intelligent Juanita was, she received her GED without ever attending any classes. And as a result, she later became a certified teacher’s assistant. Juanita participated in the PTA (Parent Teachers Association), and was quite involved in her community and politics, the latter by volunteering to work at the election polls for many years in Wrightwood Park. She even learned how to drive at the age of 55, which goes to show you, that you can never be too old to learn something new.
One of the more well-known facts about Juanita is that she was a rather remarkable seamstress. Over the years, she created clothes and trinkets for all of her children and grandchildren and could crochet her way around just about anyone. Juanita also enjoyed cooking. especially recipes from her beloved Puerto Rico. She also loved to dance and sing in the kitchen while cooking. She often welcomed her children’s friends to her home and made sure that no one left the table hungry, always making enough to feed all who came by the house.
Juanita was also a lover of animals, a trait that many of her children and grandchildren adopted. She loved cats, birds, dogs, and could always be seen saving some little furry friend.
Juanita loved all of her grandchildren and was happy that she was able to care for many of them during their early years. Her 15 grandchildren include Davina G Morgan, Octavus Morgan Jr., Lydia N Morgan, Pedro J Guzman, Andres H Rodriguez, Susette Rodriguez-Stewart, Alexia J Lloyd, Alyssia A Lloyd-Escobar, Leslie A Lloyd-Rodriguez, Savannah V Gonzalez, Josue H Rodriguez-Gonzalez, Dominique N Rodriguez, Lisette Rodriguez, Karena F Rodriguez, Liliana H Rodriguez-Benedetto, as well as 12 great-grandchildren.
If you were to ask people to describe Juanita, there would be a myriad of responses. Some would say she was a dancer, a singer, a great domino player, or an artisan. She absolutely loved Marc Anthony, or that her cooking could make you feel like you’ve come home when you didn’t know you were gone. You could say that she was funny, and quick-witted, or that she was too lucky considering how many times she’s won at dominoes. Juanita is all of those things and more;
She will be greatly missed and adored by those she left behind and remembered for all that she sacrificed for the benefit of her family and friends.
- Funeral Service Tuesday, December 3, 2019
- Visitation Tuesday, December 3, 2019
- Final Viewing Prayers Wednesday, December 4, 2019
- Committal & Interment Service Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Juanita Ruiz Rodriguez
December 2, 2019
My deepest condolence to all.
You raised an awesome son, Sam.
RIP sweet lady. Sleep Gently.
December 1, 2019
To Juanita's Family ❤️
We have lot's of memories all together when we were kids the Gaudin Family and Feliciano Family especially on the holidays I always called her my Titi and you were my cousins love always RIP
December 1, 2019
Thank you mama Juanita for giving me my bestie, Judith. I will forever miss you. Rest in paradise. Until we meet again. All my love, Frances
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
Juanita Ruiz Rodriguez Eulogy - written by Daughter Dianna Rodriguez read by daughter Jennie Rodriguez
Our dear mother has left us. How does one say goodbye to the person of so much significance in your life, when you still have her voice in your ears? How do we cover a lifetime in few minutes?
It occurs to me that the content of a goodbye is often wrapped in gratitude. The act of giving thanks for the gifts a dear one has bestowed on one's life.
The gratitude we feel is full of the realization that without a person, your life would have been different. Isn't it particularly true about mothers? The impact that a mother has on ones life is multitudinous. Something difficult to grasp and harder still to articulate.
Our mother gifted us with a creative spirit, an appreciation for beauty, and the ability to conjure an idea and execute it with ones hands. Whether creating a beautiful dress, crocheting a magnificent table cloth, or whipping up a delicious Puerto Rican meal, mom made these things her work and her art, full of flavor and attention to detail. Her love for creating and sharing was evident in her work, and we were lucky to be her assistants, whether it be pinning a pattern or stirring the soup, mom included us and we carry those secrets in our hearts.
Mom was always learning, and she had hopes that we too would always want to learn. She was determined to provide us with opportunities that she had missed, and this inspired great bravery and sacrifice. Mom, you were brave leaving all you knew behind and venturing into this cold concrete city of so many buildings, so many streets and so many people. You turned your bus rides into adventures, and explored the city, taking us to museums, shopping, doctors appointments, and everywhere we needed to go, showing us what it looks like to do what you need to do to get what you need. While it was hard to let us kids have independence, you encouraged us to work hard, and to take advantage of the opportunity of the city.
If you know our mom, you know that she was a model of purpose. Mom was tremendously organized and goal oriented. If you're one of her children, you no doubt directly experienced her ability to plan and organize for your benefit. As a Puerto Rican mother, she might have even managed to get everyone involved while making sure you were the last to know!
When I think of our mom, I think of a woman who was always observant, with an intrigue and curiosity about learning that infiltrated her daily musings. She could sit quietly pondering the activity of a small animal, and turn her observations into a beautiful and enticing question for a child. She held the power of wonder in her soul, and that was exemplified in her studious mind, which was always reflecting on human behaviour, science and nature. She was eager to share and explore ideas, a quality she passed on to each one of her children and grandchildren.
Juanita, or Jennie, as so many called her, was a quiet person, but she had a gift with language and insight, often sharing her thoughts in moments of tranquility. Mom would often start a conversation by saying, "have you noticed?", "I was wondering", or "I was thinking", followed by a story full of descriptive language, that I can only imagine was born of a strong oral tradition she experienced in her early years.
Her stories are perhaps what I will hold in my heart the most. They were always accompanied by dramatic pauses where I could see her face reviewing the content of her memories while her rich language painted exacting pictures of her life. Her voice would be accompanied by her hands, and she would reach out with her hands and stretch her voice in wonder, sadness and joy. Mom would punctuate these stories with small chuckles, expressions of surprise, and nods of her head. I was always enraptured by the visions she would weave of a young girl crossing a river on stones, a young woman hand sewing leather gloves for extra income for her family, or farm hands gathered around for a meal and telling jokes after working the fields. Mom had a vocabulary that supplemented these stories perfectly, and I was invigorated by her agility with words, and impressed by this woman of humble beginnings who somehow could do everything, and apparently remembered exactly how to build a house!
My mom could do everything, and did. She loved her country, her homeland, her family and her friends with vigor, and she took care of us, and anyone who needed her. Somehow, she lived a life in which everyone else came first, and yet she remained such a unique and strong person. A memorable person, loving, proud, funny, intelligent, brilliant and ours.
Thank you mami for all of your blessings. I know you're right here.
I know that our mom lives with each of us in stories of our own. In her honor, I encourage everyone to think of a happy story with her in it, and to share your own stories with a friend or loved one on. I'll probably start mine with, "Have you noticed".
Thank you for coming to honor my mother today, I know she would be so grateful.