July 17, 1934 – January 9, 2021
Carmen Vasquez, 86, was called to her final transitus by our Lord on Saturday, January 9, 2021 after several years of illness and mobility complications. Her final forty days were spent at the Providence Memorial Hospital and the Nazareth Living Care Nursing Home in El Paso.
Born in El Paso to Jose Vasquez and Paula Esparza, Maria del Carmen had been the eldest surviving sibling in a family of twelve children. She is survived by one sister, seven brothers, and their spouses: Isabel V. Cortez, Jose (Carmen), Patricio (Maria), Ernesto, Arturo, Fidencio (Jackie), Javier (Cecilia), and Alejandro (Mary). She is also survived by twenty-five nieces and nephews, plus their spouses; twenty-nine grandnieces and grandnephews, and their spouses; and three great grandnieces. She is preceded in death by her parents, her oldest brother, Jose Carmen, her sisters, Sisters Caroline and Cecilia O.S.F., her in-laws, Luis Fernando Cortez, Brenda M. Vasquez, and Delia P. Vasquez, and nephew, Art Vasquez, Jr.
Carmen was born and raised in a Catholic faith-filled family in the Val Verde neighborhood of El Paso. She attended the original Burleson School and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from The University of Texas at El Paso, and a Master’s Degree in Education from Stephen F. Austin University, Nacogdoches, Texas. She was a pre-school and an English-as-a-Second-Language teacher in the El Paso and Ysleta School districts for nearly twenty years.
Carmen was a life-time member of Our Lady of the Light Catholic Church, where she received all her Sacraments, attended Mass and catechism classes, was an active Inezita as a pre-teen, a member of the Hijas de Maria Sodality as a teen to young adult, and a choir member. Later in life, she entered the Secular Third Order of Saint Francis, in association with the Franciscan friar community at Roger Bacon Theological College Seminary in El Paso.
Carmen loved to travel as a young girl with her Maternal Grandparents, gradually instilling a missionary spirit in her. Then as an adult with the Third Order, she completed several annual missionary trips into Mexico, and Central America.
True to her Catholic faith and upbringing, Carmen was generous in heart and spirit, unselfishly giving of her time, talents, and treasure. As the eldest sibling in a large family, she assisted her parents with small financial support with a genuine concern for her younger siblings during difficult times, especially at Christmas time. Carmen also loved to sew, tutored and inspired by her Mother, her Grandmothers and aunts. With high school home economics in her sewing bag and a steadfast determination, Carmen single handedly tailored from scratch, many brides’ maids’ dresses for the weddings of several of her siblings, relatives, and friends. The Franciscan Roger Bacon Seminary chapel also benefited from her charity. Carmen designed and produced many Church vestments, altar linens and cloths, and seasonal tapestries at her own expense.
The family wishes to thank her in-home-care providers over the past seven years, including Teresa Cortez, her eldest niece and administrator, Judy Simpson, her primary care giver, Jayme Gavina Vasquez, and “Baby” Charlotte Anguiano, her “essential support” companion and Great-Grandniece. The family is also grateful to Dr. Syed Yusoof, M.D., who cared for Carmen over a twenty-five year period to improve her health and quality of life.
Funeral services will be limited to the immediate family and is pending with Hillcrest Funeral Home, 1060 North Carolina Drive, El Paso, Texas. Interment will eventually be at Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family invites those interested, to consider dedicating a Mass at their local parish for the repose of the soul of our sister Carmen Vasquez.