OBITUARY

Rita Esquivel

November 4, 1932May 9, 2019

Rita Esquivel was a trailblazer in every sense of the word. She was born in San Antonio's Westside in 1932, when the limits for Latinas far outnumbered the opportunities. She attended Blessed Sacrament School, Ursuline Academy, and a received Bachelor's, Masters and Doctor of Letters degrees from Our Lady of the Lake University. She began her teaching career at SAISD’s Storm Elementary in the 1950’s and went on to teach at the Edgewood ISD. She continued her education career in Los Angeles in 1963 as a teacher, then later as a counselor, principal and Assistant Superintendent for Education at the Santa Monica-Malibu USD. In 1989 she was appointed by the George H. W. Bush administration to be the Director of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs for the US Department of Education. She was, at the time, the highest-ranking Latina in the US Department of Education. In 1991 she was selected by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in America and in 1992 she was presented with the medal of “Orden del Merito Civil” by the Ambassador of Spain on behalf of King Juan Carlos of Spain for her work in the promotion of the Spanish language. But she said she felt the most pride in her work after returning to California from Washington. She was the founder and administrator of an adult education night school in Santa Monica, California, where hundreds of immigrants went to learn English, acquire a GED and continue their education. She recalled with delight how her former night school students would stop her in public places to thank her for helping them transition in a new country. After retiring from public education Rita lectured extensively throughout the country on Methodology of Second Language Acquisition, and the teaching of English to Non-English and Limited English speaking youngsters and adults. She translated 10 children’s books from English to Spanish. Throughout her career Rita touched thousands upon thousands of children and adults who remember her fondly - students, parents, and colleagues who received her instruction, guidance, and support. She was a dedicated friend who understood that true friendship required care and attention - her life-long friends, who are many, will miss the energy and affection that drew them to her. She was a devoted daughter, sister and aunt, preceded in death by her parents Juan and Juanita Esquivel, her sisters Celia Landa and Sarita Esquivel, her brother-in-law Daniel Landa and her niece Patricia Landa. She is survived by nephew's Daniel Landa, Victor and Becky Landa, Juan and Gabriela Landa, nieces Maite and Ana Landa-Gonzalez, and grand-nieces and nephews Veronica Landa Vargas and Arturo Vargas, Carlos Landa and Mayra Chapa, Daniela Landa-Gonzalez, Maya Landa-Gonzalez and Diego Landa. Visitation will be Thursday, May 30, 4-8 p.m. with a rosary at 7 at Sunset Funeral Home Northwest. Funeral mass will be on Friday, May 31, 10 a.m. at San Fernando Cathedral with burial to follow.

Services

30 May

Family Receiving Guests

4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Sunset Northwest Funeral Home

6321 Bandera Road
San Antonio, Texas

30 May

Rosary

7:00 pm

Sunset Northwest Funeral Home

6321 Bandera Road
San Antonio, Texas

31 May

Funeral Mass

10:00 am

San Fernando Cathedral

115 Main Plaza
San Antonio, Texas

31 May

Committal Service

San Fernando Cemetery II

746 Castroville Rd
San Antonio, Texas

Memories

Rita Esquivel

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Bill Remillard

May 21, 2019

My memories of Rita are forever etched as a kind and loving person. My brothers and I had always referred to her as "Aunt Rita" as she always treated us as her family through her unrequited love and support. She extended us kindness and support as only an Auntie could and did this without judgement or unrealistic expectation. I have so many fond memories of Aunt Rita that I could go on and on. One in particular is when she entrusted me to drive her new Mercedes out to Washington DC from her home in Marina Del Rey. I was in my early 20's and had the time of my life. Once I arrived in DC she hosted me for a few days before dropping me off at the airport to return to San Diego.
Aunt Rita attended my wedding in 1988 and I was always honored to introduce her as my Aunt Rita. She was so accomplished and was a beautiful woman through and through.
She will be missed but never forgotten.

Sal and Terry Zurita

May 19, 2019

Sal and myself had the privilege of knowing Dr Rita at Landon Ridge at Alamo Ranch. She shared with us how much she loves her family and her involvement in the ESL program in San Antonio and then in California. She was a great asset to the community. She will be greatly missed and we hold her in our prayers.

Deacon Jerry Campa

May 19, 2019

We were blessed to meet Dr Rita when she went to assisted living at The Isle at Watercrest/Landon Ridge. She was a regular attendee at Mass and/or Holy Communion services. She loved our Lord and was always thankful to receive Him in the Eucharist. I am sure that our Lord has a special place for her in heaven. Eternal rest grant unto her o Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. She will be missed.