Maria B. Estrello of Nederland and former resident of Port Arthur died Friday, April 5, 2013 at Harbor Hospice House in Beaumont.
A native of San Luis Potosi, Mexico she was a Port Arthur resident since the age of 3.
She was a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church where she was a lector for many years. She was also President of the Altar Society. Maria was a longtime member of the Damas de Gaudalupanas, and was the oldest and longest member of the church.
She was the first Spanish speaking girl to graduate from the Port Arthur Independent School system in June, 1934. She was a member of the National Honor Society and while attending Junior High received the American Legion Award, and was inducted in the Junior National Society and in High School the Senior National Honor Society. Received a 3 year Scholarship from Drake University.
She was president of the late Pear Ridge Demonstration Club at the time of its change. She is a member of the HBEC of Beaumont, has been Historian and Secretary of the Mexican Heritage Society of Port Arthur, has held all offices in the Jolly Circle Dance Club and has been an appointed officer in the GTS and RDA for many years; historian, chaplain, etc.
She was Secretary/Treasurer of the Elvira Estrello School of Dance. Many students will remember her for the costumes she designed and made for them while they were attending the Florence Coleman School of Dance or the Elvira Estrello School of Dance.
She also volunteered in Voter registration, translated literature from English to Spanish for the Arts Museum and the Catholic Grieving Center. She was on call at St. Mary Hospital for patients who did not speak English. Also at the Port Arthur Public Schools to speak on her Mexican Heritage. On Sept. 15th, 1990 she was recognized for her volunteer work and given an award. Her favorite quotation was “Learn the English where you live, but do not forget your native tongue”.
She was a volunteer teacher with the Port Arthur School District also for over 20 years and received numerous awards for her service. She also was awarded the Henry B. Gonzales Award, for pioneering women. She was also an avid member of the Friday Fun Bunch Bowling League for over 20 years.
She was preceded in death by her beloved son, Joseph Antonio Estrello, Jr. on Dec. 12, 1984 and her husband of 54 years, Antonio, Sr. on March 31, 1988 and her son-in-law, Lucian Dempsey Jones
Visitation will be on Sunday, April 7, 2013 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM with a Rosary to be prayed at 6:30 PM at Clayton Thompson Funeral Home in Groves. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 AM Monday, April 8, 2013 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church with Rev. T. R. Blanco serving as celebrant. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Memorial Park.
Survivors include her daughter, Elvira Estrello Jones of Nederland, seven grandchildren, Genina Broussard and Tara Foust (Darren) of Nederland, Samantha Wilson (Todd) of Port Neches, Jose Antonio Estrello, III, Robert Estrello, Esther Quintela, Tiffani Estrello along with 13 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren, her daughter-in-law, Aurora Estrello along with several great nieces and nephews in Guadalajara, Mexico as well as Uncles in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.