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Maria de Jesus Rodriguez
Dec. 21, 1924 - Sept. 14, 2009
Visitation for Maria Rodriguez, known as “Lela” by her family, will be held from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 20, followed by a recitation of the Rosary at 7 p.m. at Turlock Funeral Home, 425 N. Soderquist Road. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 21 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 1200 Lyons Avenue in Turlock. She will be laid to rest with her Husband, Salvador Rodriguez, following the Mass at Turlock Memorial Park. She passed away peacefully on the evening of September 14th, 2009, from natural causes at the age of 84. She was the matriarch of the family and will be missed tremendously.
Lela’s journey began in Zapotlanejo, Jalisco, Mexico, the daughter of Christino Camarena and Maria Torres. Unfortunately her father, mother and brother passed away when Lela was still a little girl, so she was raised by her godparents. As a teenager she worked in a hospital doing various jobs. It was at this time that her future husband began courting her by climbing the trees outside the hospital so he could talk to her while she sat on the roof.
Lela and Salvador Rodriguez were married on October 13th, 1942, in San Pedro Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico. In the following few years they celebrated the arrival of their two daughters, Maria de Jesus (Mary) and Carmen. The family immigrated to the United States in 1959, living first in Waterford, then Escalon, Winton, Ballico and finally Turlock. Wherever she lived she took great pride in keeping her home neat and clean. She also took particular pleasure in her songbirds and her garden, which had beautiful flowers throughout the year.
Beyond the birds and the plants, her greatest joy was her six grandchildren. Over the years she was like a second mom to all of us. She fed us, bathed us, took care of our bumps and bruises, and most importantly, loved us unconditionally.
A woman of amazing strength, she battled health problems starting in the mid 1970’s when she had her first open heart surgery, followed by several other procedures over the years. As her health declined she never complained, and almost always had a smile on her face, no matter what level of discomfort she was dealing with. Her sharp mind, sense of humor and good nature never left her.
She is survived by her two daughters, Mary Amézquita and Carmen Jones; two sons-in-law, Jose Amézquita and Karl Jones; six grandchildren, Lupe Amézquita, Caro Amézquita, Rosa Amézquita, Christina Santiago, Karl Jones Jr., and Laura Jones; and three great-granddaughters, Alexandria Santiago, Brittany Santiago, and Raquel Amézquita.