September 29, 1920 – October 14, 2020
Angelina was born on September, 29, 1920. Angelina was born in Puerto Rico during a time of hardship to her mother Tomasa and father Jose. Her highest level of education was elementary school. Having always been a devout Catholic, she used to volunteer at her church in Old San Juan through much of her young life. Angelina had two daughters, Carmen (1944) and Angelica (1946) to whom she devoted all her efforts of trying to provide a better life for them. She struggled through a lot, having raised her daughters mainly on her own, sometimes not knowing where a next meal would come from. Angelina fought hard and eventually found her way to New York in the 1950’s. In searching through her items, I found a very worn out Spanish to English dictionary that I could tell was well used by her for many years. She would eventually become fluent in English as well. It was here in NY that she began work as a seamstress in the factories of NY for the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, one of the largest labor unions in the United States, one of the first U.S. unions to have a primarily female membership, and a key player in the labor history of the 1920s and 1930s. Angelina would also sew out of her apartment for extra money. Her talent knew no bounds and she would sew anything from a simple hem to an elaborate wedding dress, copying the designs of major designers and making them affordable for those who came to her. She was a whiz with numbers and accounting and managed to support her children. She always pushed for their education, having wanted them to do better with the opportunities given to them.
As her own children grew and married she always remained a major part of her her families lives. As her own mother became elderly and suffered with dementia, she cared for her until the end, never having resorted to placing her in anyone else’s care but her own. She loved her brothers, Regino and Julio dearly and her half-sister Pietra. She remained close to her brothers and spoke to them weekly until their respective deaths in 2014 and 2020.
We were lucky as grandchildren to have our grandmother be involved and present in our daily lives. My grandmother lived with us during the weekdays and cooked, cleaned and upheld our household to allow my parents the opportunity to work and support us. Without my grandmother helping my parents we would not have been able to attend the schools that we did or have the home cooked meals each day and a loving family member to greet us at home each day after school. She disciplined us and loved us just as much. I thank both my mother and my grandmother for giving us this family oriented life. My grandmother still would let her seamstress talents shine and would take me to Woolworth’s on Jamaica Ave. to buy patterns and material to make me dresses, Halloween costumes and many other wonderful keepsakes. Her and my mother always made sure we had our necessities, no matter how hard we struggled as a family.
Nana was a very smart woman and had her wits about her almost to the end. I was lucky enough to visit the church where she was baptized a few years ago in Old San Juan. My grandmother, already in her 90’s, told me exactly how to get to the church, what it looked like and all her experiences there. She always cared about where we were and what we were doing and told me to watch out for the crazy people on the street and to not overwork myself. Always ending our phone calls or visits with “God Bless you” or “Dios te bendiga”. She remained relatively healthy for 98 years of her life, having her first hospital stay at 98 years old. God called on me and Ramon during this time and we were blessed to have cared for her daily from 2019 until now. I got to know her all over again as an adult and I am blessed to have had that time. Although she couldn’t walk, we would dance many nights before her bedtime to Marc Anthony, a man she believed was just unlucky with love. 😆
Nana survived the Great Depression, countless Presidents and survived pandemics, including the current one we now face. She prayed every day and made it through her 100th birthday. She declared that she would now start the timer again and begin with “1” for her next birthday.
Nana came close to dying in July 2019 and claimed to see her brothers and our family in heaven having a party. She was told by Jesus and her family that her time here was not over and that she needed to come back because we needed her. And Jesus was right and granted us more time with her. Nothing delighted her more than meeting her last born great grandson Riley in September 2019 and being able to hold him and grant her blessings on him. Being able to hold her hand after my mother passed on 9/26/20 gave us all the comfort we needed during an impossible time.
Nana is survived by her daughter Carmen, her grandchildren, many nieces and nephews and many great grandchildren. A true centenarian.
I know that my grandmother and mother are now in heaven together, along with her beloved brothers and sisters and her mother. I love you dearly mommy and Nana. Please continue to rain down your blessings on us.
We will be having a private funeral service. She will then be laid to rest at St. Raymond’s in the Bronx with her mother, Tomasa.