Mary "Natie" Guerra
January 9, 1938 – October 24, 2018
Mary “Natie” Guerra, 80, of Kansas City, MO passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family on Wednesday, October 24, 2018. Visitation will be 6-8 pm Monday, October 29 at the McGilley Midtown Chapel, 20 W. Linwood Blvd., where the rosary will be prayed at 7:00 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:00 am Tuesday, October 30 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, 901 Avenida Cesar E. Chavez, Kansas City, MO 64108. Burial will follow in White Chapel Cemetery, Gladstone, MO. In lieu of flowers, the family request contributions to either the St. Luke's Hospice or Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine. Mary “Natie” was born January 9, 1938 in Kansas City, MO to Martin S. Perez and Florentina Velasquez Perez. She graduated from Redemptorist High School in 1955. Mary retired from KCPL after 28 years. She was a parishioner of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. She was a member of the Secret Pal Club. Mary was preceded in death by her parents, brothers, Frank and Raymond Perez, an infant daughter, Maria; a daughter Veronica and son Anthony. Mary is survived by her children, Mary Louise ‘Lulu” Guerra (Paul Landucci), Anita Cornejo-Lawrey (Alan) and Janice Panis (Tom); four grandchildren and four great grandchildren; her brother, Louis “Leto” Perez (Jeanne); sister-in-law Laurie Perez as well a niece, nephews and many other family members, good friends and her dog Rocco.
Eulogy given by son-in-law Ted Panis On behalf of the family, we want to sincerely thank everyone for all your support, love and prayers that have been extended to all of us at this time of need. It has been a blessing to all of us. We gather here today to grieve, reflect and celebrate on the life of a truly wonderful, beautiful and kind soul. Mary Natalie Guerra- known to most as Natie, to us kids she’s mom and momma -to her grandkids she’s grandma and to her great grandkids she’s Nana- Natie was born here in Kansas City –grew up on the Westside across the street from Guadalupe Church, attended Guadalupe Grade School, graduated from Redemptorist High School and maintained ties to the west side community her entire life. Natie was a devout Catholic and attended church regularly at Redemptorist Church, St. James Church in Liberty and whenever possible here at the Guadalupe Shrine that she loved so much. She lived 50 years in a beautiful home in the Coleman Highlands. Proud of her roots and thoroughly enjoyed everything associated with it. She worked for 28 years at the Kansas City Power and Light as chief clerk in the accounting department until she retired. She made it a point to let everyone know she was chief clerk in her department and it became a funny family saying and we would kid her about it. We’d always say, “and momma, you were chief clerk” and she’d say, “that’s right, I was chief clerk.” She would tell us story after story of her upbringing and the fun times she shared with family and friends. As a little girl she would dance in the fiestas. She loved coming to all the fiestas year after year to watch the dancers and listen to the Mexican music. I think she was, in her heart, always back on stage dancing. She told us of how she and her friends would sit out on the front porch and sing late into the night. It was fun to see her take herself back to that time because it would bring the biggest smile on her face. Once, when she was just a young girl Natie and a couple of her friends went to sing on a radio station and ended up at this Bar to sing on stage instead- and her Mom- known as ‘Momma Lueata’ heard on the radio where the girls would be singing - went down to the bar to go get her out of there. She said they were singing on stage when one of her friends says to her hey I think that’s your mom. She said she ran off stage to the back but there was nowhere to go. Momma Lueata drug her out of there and that was the end of Trio Del Rio, as they had called themselves. She loved to tell this story and we loved to see the fun and joy she had in telling it. For many years she belonged to an organization called Secret Pals with all her Commadres. They would have a Mexican dance every year. We had the privilege of always being her escorts to the dance and she would always take some special dish to share for her contribution. Everyone would come over to see what she brought. She took pride in her dishes. We loved taking her to this event as it was always a good time and she enjoyed the music, dancing and socializing. She loved her Mexican music and has quite a collection of albums, cassettes and cd’s that she would love to play on the weekend or while she was cleaning or cooking. It would be blaring as she moved about the house singing in Spanish. She made quite a few cassette tapes that she recorded from the radio on portable cassette recorder. On some of them you can hear her say ‘Darn it’ or some other colorful word as she forgot to stop it when the song was over. We laughed about this with her. This is a great family memory that we truly treasure. And now in her memory we will play her Mexican music as we clean the house or just sitting on the deck. Momma will still be with us as we listen to her music. We would kid her about talking on the phone with her friends as she would be speaking in Spanish and then all of a sudden she would say, “Well I’ll be darn”. She just laughed when we would tell her this. And we can see it like it was just yesterday. She loved cooking and was the best at cooking Mexican dishes hands down. Best sopa of any kind. Best menudo- best pork meat with beans and sopa with hand-made tortilla’s- best tacos- best beans mixed with chorizo for tostados- homemade tortillas – tortas and tamales. We haven’t found any restaurant yet to match her cooking. Making tamales and menudo at Christmas had become a family tradition for so many years with everyone pitching in. Everybody had a job to do. The little ones would clean the hojas- others would mix the masa or would be spreaders, or fillers and others would keep the cheese and sauces coming and bag up the tamales. We would drive her all over the place getting all the food items needed. We’d go to Taquito off Central to get hoja’s - masa and chile’s for the tamales. We’d go to Bicklemeyer’s for the menudo and then to Price Chopper for the hominy and tortillas. We loved Christmas time at Momma’s house. Those memories are truly etched in our hearts. She worked so hard to make this time so special for all of us. And it was and always will be. She loved cooking for her daughter Veronica and her friends when they would all be together at her beautiful house as they had become part of the extended family. She had such a joy in cooking and taking care of them, sometimes well into the night. They loved her tacos and her door was always open to them. We have a good size and very close knit family with all the uncles and cousins. And we all get along with each other so well and this always made Natie very happy to be able to get together with everyone and the fun we always have. Years back we would all get together at her Brother Louie’s house every weekend to play volleyball. He had two houses side by side and we would play in one and party in the other all day well into the night. They were separated by a fence. So Every time the ball would go over the fence on Momma’s side we would yell at her, “Natie –ball”- and she would go get the ball for us. So we made shirts for everyone with nicknames. Her shirt had the nickname BALL on the back, since she was the ball retriever. We would reminisce about these wonderful days as she cherished those memories and laugh about our nicknames and the crazy and funny things people would do. Momma always loved getting together with her brother’s Mon and Louie. She loved all the family get togethers especially out at Louie’s place in Oak Grove, swimming, relaxing and listening to music. The Mariachi’s would come out and play on special occasions and this was truly some of the most enjoyable moments for her. The mariachis played for her one last time at our house before she passed. This will be a special memory. After 50 years Natie sold her beautiful home on Coleman Road and moved in with Ted and Janice. It was a sad time to have to leave such a beautiful place we all called home, but we had the privilege to have her with is for the rest of her time and enjoy her company. I happened to be the driver mostly whenever we went out most of the time and we had a standing joke between the three of us. She would call me Hoke. Hoke was the name of the driver Morgan Freeman played in the movie “Driving Miss Daisy”. Momma would tell me, “Okay Hoke, take me home” or “Hoke take me to the casino” or wherever she needed or wanted to go. We got the biggest kick out of this and I will miss this small banter from her and remember it always and just smile. One of Natie’s pass times was going to the Casino to play the slots. She was the luckiest person I ever knew. We’d drop her off and go pick her up a couple hours later. She’d get In the car and I’d ask her, “Momma did you win?” and most of the time she’d reply, “Oh, just a little bit”. Well that little bit seem to last her for quite a while. So when she would say, “oh, just a little bit” we knew it was more than just a little bit but she would never say. She just always smiled after she would say it knowing all along she hit it big. Fun memory. She also loved to play a dice game with the family- called “Left, Right, Center”. We played this with the great-grandkids and the rest of the family. She had a knack of always winning this game and we played for money to make it more interesting. Just a few dollars, but she would roll the dice in her special way and win the majority of the time. We played this for hours. She won so much at this game that her great-grandson Brock accused her of cheating. This became a funny memory that we would laugh about. So much fun. She enjoyed this game and also playing Monopoly with the grandkids and great grandkids. She saw how happy they were playing it and it made her happy to play along. Once playing Monopoly her great grandson Dillan wiped her out and took all her money. So instead she became his accountant in the game. She made an error with his money so he fired her as his accountant. We laughed and told her she was no longer chief clerk. This was one of the funniest times we had playing this game and Momma just loved these memories with her grandkids. Nana loved to go to watch the boys baseball games and see them play. She loved to watch her Great Grand daughter Alexandria dance and have her paint her nails. She got to see her youngest great-grandson Reece learn how to walk. He could say Nana before she passed.She treasured these times with her special little ones. Nana loved them so much and adored them with all her heart. Natie enjoyed watching the Royals on TV and college basketball and sometimes the NBA finals. She liked “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Voice”. Momma had certain programs during the day she would watch every day during the week. She liked “Good Morning America”, “The View”, “The Price is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal”. When I would get home from work at the end of the day Momma would be watching Steve Harvey on the “Family Feud” and I’d sit down and watch it with her. She liked the “One Hundred Thousand Dollar Pyramid”. She watched the news over and over. She enjoyed doing word search on a regular basis to keep her mind sharp. She got into crocheting blankets and she made 22 blankets for family and friends. These are very special as she gave much thought into the color of the blanket for each person. These blankets are true treasures that we will hold so close as they hug us and keep us warm with her love. She was meticulous at keeping records of everything she had done to her house and her checkbook would come out to the penny. She amazed me how good of records she kept of everything. She loved to chew gum and had some with her at all times. Someone would always buy her gum as a present for her birthday or Christmas. She loved eating out especially with family. Breakfast was her favorite meal. Momma enjoyed going to Empanada on the Boulevard with her daughter Anita. It was their special time together. She enjoyed sitting and talking with her daughter Lulu, especially in the final months. It meant so much to her. There are so many more memories we share and keep close and I know everyone that was touched by her life has some fond special memory of her. These memories and the love she shared are part of her legacy left to us in our hearts. This beautiful- wonderful and special lady will be missed so much- and we take solace knowing that she passed on at peace with herself and with God at her side. She made an indelible mark on each and every one that she touched and we are all truly better people for knowing her. That is her gift to us. Thank you to everyone who she called as a friend because you made her life memorable and fun. Momma we love you- we miss you so very much and we cherish every moment and memory we share with you. Rest in peace with your Veronica and Anthony- God bless your loving soul and one day with the Grace of God we will all be together again.
- Visitation Monday, October 29, 2018
- Mass of Christian Burial Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Mary "Natie" Guerra
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