December 31, 1943 – May 15, 2018
December 31, 1943 – May 15, 2018
This is the story of Hector Adame Ramirez, who passed in peace at his home in McAllen, TX on May 15, 2018. He was a world-traveler known as “Papa” by his grandchildren, “Papi” by his daughters, and “Don Hector” by most of the people who knew him. His life story spanned two countries that he loved with all of his heart.
Hector’s story starts on a chilly New Years Eve in 1943 at Rancho Orozco, Tamaulipas, Mexico. He was the first child of 9 children born to Roman Adame and Ana Ramirez de Adame. Hector spent his early childhood days at his father’s ranch riding horses, milking cows, and growing corn along with his brothers, while his sisters helped their mother with the house. At age sixteen, he was employed by the local government to teach the children of Rancho Orozco in a one-room schoolhouse. Most of his students were his siblings and cousins!
Because Roman worked on the rancho all day long, Hector became a father-figure and mentor to his brothers and sisters. He was meticulously protective of his younger siblings. Until the end of his life, they often sought his advice, opinion, and wisdom.
After Hector graduated from “secundaria”, the equivalent of high school in Mexico, he went to work for Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), where he started his career in the drilling rigs. In his twenties, he met a young woman from Valle Hermoso named Guadalupe “Lupita” Partida. After a four-year long courtship, they were married in Matamoros in 1973.
In their early years of marriage, Hector and Lupita lived in Ebano, San Luis Potisi, but moved to TX upon the birth of their daughters to live with Lupita’s mother, Simona, after she became a widow.
Hector and Lupita had four daughters during their 45-year long marriage: Noemi, Araceli, Norma, and Abigale. When the girls were little, Hector would commute from McAllen to Reynosa as he continued to work for PEMEX. He had transferred from the drilling rigs to a safer desk job by that point.
Upon the devaluation of the peso in the 1980’s, Hector’s income from PEMEX took a significant hit. To support his family, he would moonlight five times per week in a produce packing warehouse until midnight. In the mid-90’s, Hector retired from PEMEX and took a risk to start a small business. El Venado Charcoal was a staple in many local grocery stores in the mid-90’s to until he retired fully 2002. The charcoal was sourced from the mesquite trees that studded Rancho Orozco.
Hector’s first love was the rancho. He bought a patch of land close to his family’s homestead in Mexico. Every weekend, despite his exhaustion from working an 80-hour week, he would pack his daughters and a slew of nieces and nephews in the back of his pick-up truck (this was the 1980’s after all!) and drive across the border to spend the weekend in the rancho. He loved hunting deer and javalina. He loved riding horses. He created so many beautiful childhood memories for his children, nieces, and nephews in the rancho. One of his favorite nieces once said, “He was a father to so many of us. He made a wonderful childhood for me.”
Though Hector felt a strong connection to the land of his birth, he loved the United States. He often said, “America is the best country in the world!” He became a naturalized US citizen in 2007.
Hector was a talented writer. As a young man, he wrote a story called “El Nano y El Puma” about a teenage boy who lived in a nearby in Rancho Orozco who bravely stoned a cougar to death in order to protect his family’s livestock and chickens.
Wanderlust coursed through Hector’s veins. In addition to traveling through out the USA and Mexico, he travelled to Canada, Costa Rica, and Europe. He made two pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Israel. One of his favorite trips took place in 2017 when he, Lupita, and their four daughters spent a week in Cuba.
Despite his wanderlust, Hector’s favorite moments were spent at home with Lupita and his family. He loved having people at the house. Until he became ill, Hector and Lupita hosted family BBQ’s every week in their McAllen home, where family and friends were welcome. Hector spent the day grilling meat while Lupita took care of everything else. He said that he was so fortunate to have married such a wonderful woman like Lupita.
Hector often said that his greatest accomplishment were his daughters. Noemi (Adame) Gamel is a pediatrician in rural Indiana with two children. Araceli (Adame) Grunkemeyer postponed her career as a dentist to home school her four children in northern Kentucky. Norma (Adame) Salazar is a guidance counselor in Sharyland with three children. Abigale (Adame) Perez trained as a bilingual education teacher but put her career on hold to care for her three children in San Antonio.
Hector’s grandchildren thought he was the greatest man in the world. He was a chauffer, baby-sitter, butterfly kisser, sand castle maker, piggy-back rider, and the most awesome swing pusher to all of his 12 grandchildren.
So the story goes of an immigrant from Mexico whose legacy makes the country he loved a better place. We love you Papa! Lo queremos Papa!