"Though she was small, she was fierce"
Oralia Saldana Cavazos, 78, passed away peacefully Thursday, February 25, 2021 at Retama Manor Nursing Center in Edinburg, TX. She was born May 19, 1942 in Hualahuises, Nuevo Leon Mexico. Oralia is survived by her daughter Jessica "Jeco" (David) Brown of Westland, Michigan, and her son Javier T. (Angelica) Chapa of Mercedes, Texas. She is also survived by her precious grandchildren, Arnold "Mijito" Rodriguez, Priscilla (Marcelo) Chapa Campos, Nicholas Chapa, and Sophia Chapa; and her precious great-grandchild Gavin Morales Rodriguez, his mother Melissa Morales, and siblings, Juanita (†Jose) Navarro of Edinburg TX, Jacobo (Norene) Saldana of Seattle, WA, and Rosalia (Jimmy) Carroll of Seattle, WA. Also surviving are her precious nephews and nieces whom she loved as her own children, also known to each one as Tia Lala / Aunt Lala; each one has a memory of her that each holds dear to them. She is preceded in death by her husband, Virgilio N. "Pilo" Cavazos aka "White Cloud"; her parents, Jacobo Saldana and Casimira Maria "Little Granny" Gutierrez; her sisters, Josefina Saldana and Margarita Saldana Ramirez.
Oralia graduated from Edinburg High School in 1963, graduated from Pan American University College with a degree in Social Work, and was a devoted church member of Holy Family Church in Edinburg, TX. Mrs. Cavazos was co-founder of LULAC Council 4591. On October 21, 2001 she was honored by the same council members as Woman of The Year for her untiring commitment to youth education. In accepting this honor, she said, "Education is the only ticket to compete in good paying positions; plus, it provides stable employment." Oralia served on several boards: Former President of the League of Women Voters; former Vice Chair of the Hidalgo County Women's Political Caucus; former President of the Hidalgo County Planned Parenthood; served on the first Hidalgo County Juvenile Court (volunteering, and training members in 1986); served on the first board coalition of Literacy Services Inc. She was the first graduate of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class (May 31, 1990); served on the Edinburg Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; served on the Adult Day Cares Association of Texas; and she was named Who's Who in the Executives and Professionals (1996-1997).
One of our mom's passions was public service, especially advocating for those who she felt had no voice, los mas necesitados. She advocated for United Farm Workers, as a member of Mujers Unidas, LULAC, and also served with Valley Interfaith; and she was very active in serving her community by serving on countless boards. The other passion she had was advocating for and increasing voter participation and informing as many citizens as she could about where candidates stood on the issues facing her community and getting the vote out. She was a long-time politiquera; some could say she was a "pillar of the community." She did all this as a single parent, raising two children, and holding two or three jobs to provide for her family. She provided us with the best education at the time at St. Joseph’s Catholic School. She was a very self-sacrificing individual, all the while attending college to better herself so she could provide a better life for her family. One of her greatest achievements aside from motherhood, was opening her own Adult Day Care. Era una luchadora.
The name Oralia Saldana Cavazos, when mentioned in the community of Edinburg, TX to her high school classmates, friends, local judges, lawyers, school board members, business owners, Whataburger on Closner where "everybody knew her" and Plains Capital Bank where she banked, have said since of her passing, "She will be missed dearly, she loved God so much, she lived the American Dream.”
In closing, the best way to describe our mother was, "Though she was small, she was fierce". “En paz descanse Ama, you left your mark on this world and left it better than how you found it.” Javier T. Chapa (Son) “The love you gave will ALWAYS live here y mas alla del sol; en paz descanse Mi Querida Madre.” Jessica Brown (Daughter)
Cremation will be held at a later date. Cardoza Funeral Home from Edcouch is in charge of arrangements.
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