Efigenia “Minnie” Irizarry Smith, 90, was born April 26, 1925 on a tropical mountaintop near Penuelas, Puerto Rico.
She was the eldest of 12 children. She was preceded in death by her father Eusebio Lugo Loyola, mother Herminia Vargas Santiago, brother Lincoln Lugo, sister Selene Lugo, first husband Constante Irizarry, and second husband Grant Pershing Smith.
Her surviving brothers are Elidio, Tonin and Jose Lugo. Her surviving sisters are Rosa, Loles, Carmen, Deden, Laden and Glades.
Minnie worked hard caring for her eleven brothers and sisters until her marriage to Constante Irizarry. Her children include Gloria, Balvino (Kathleen), Domingo (Rosario), Wilson, Constante Jr., Rosa (Rich), Annette, Noel (Rhonda), Ellis, and Roy. The family left Puerto Rico in 1953 and settled in the Valley. She retired from the Louis Rich Processing Plant after raising her children. She began to pursue a lifelong dream of going to school. She earned a high school diploma and attended many classes at Modesto Junior College. Her passion for learning continued throughout her life. Minnie’s tenacity, drive and determination earned her numerous awards and certificates. In 1990 she received the Stanislaus County Woman of the Year Award for Education and Youth Services from the Minority Women’s Network of Stanislaus County.
In 1993 she married her second husband, Grant Smith, and remained with him in Turlock until his death in 2005.
She became active in the Bonsai Club, Turlock Garden Club and Senior Citizens group where she attended art classes.
She was hard working and loved to tend to her garden where she created potions and cures for various physical ailments.
Minnie will always be remembered for her devotion to family and friends. She was an inspiration to her children, grandchildren and all who knew her. Her generous nature and love of life made her many friends.
She is survived by her ten children, twenty-five grandchildren and twenty great grand children. She will be greatly missed.
Visitation will be at Allen Mortuary, 247 N. Broadway in Turlock on Thursday, Feb. 4th from 3:00 to 6:00 pm.
A memorial service will be on Friday, Feb. 5th, at 11:00 at Sacred Heart Church, 1301 Cooper Ave, Turlock. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to Disabled American Veterans or a children’s charity of your choice.