Weslaco--Carmela C. Cárdenas, 76, entered into eternal rest on Friday, March 29, 2019, after a lengthy illness.
Carmela was born on December 8th, 1942, to Arturo García and Elvira Caballero García in Mercedes, Texas, where she grew up with her sisters, Norma and Elvira, and her brother, Noel.
Soon after graduating from high school, Carmela wandered into the Weslaco Drug Store, where, upon her sister's insistence, she introduced herself to Rubén Cárdenas, a hard-working young man who would become her future husband. About a year later, on October 20, 1962, they married and continued their studies at Pan American College in Edinburg.
After graduating college, Carmela began her life-long career in education. While teaching 2nd grade ESL, she entered graduate school, earning a Master's Degree in Bilingual Education, as well as a Master's Degree in Administration and Supervision. Her passion for and dedication to ESL students made her a valuable asset throughout the Mercedes and Weslaco school districts. After sixteen years in Weslaco, she returned to Mercedes, her hometown, where she taught kindergarten and became vice-principal at West Elementary School. Carmela retired in 2000, having taught and loved thousands of students, and having made sure their handwriting was legible because Carmela was passionate about good penmanship. After devoting her entire life to education, Carmela remained active in the Rio Grande Valley Retired Teachers Association. She served as the chapter leader for the Texas State Teacher Association, where she was committed to advocating for teacher pay and benefits. Always generous with her time and energy, she also volunteered for many years at Knapp Medical Center and the Weslaco Museum.
Carmela was able to balance her career and education while she and Rubén raised four sons. In 1972, Rubén opened his State Farm Agency and was no longer able to take long summer vacations. However, that did not stop Carmela from taking the boys all over the country--visiting relatives, watching Astros games, spending the day at Astroworld, and enjoying Outdoor Resorts. She made sure her children soaked in every ray of sunshine during those fun summers. Carmela and Rubén shared some amazing trips, visiting Austria, Germany, Spain, Canada, Alaska, Colorado, and Las Vegas, to name a few. Traveling with both her sisters through the years resulted in their having a very strong bond of sisterhood.
Carmela had many talents and interests. She, an excellent homemaker, loved to cook and was very good at it. Among her specialties were carne guisada, chili, fideo, and calabaza con pollo. Shopping or catching a good movie with her sisters and friends was a regular part of her routine. A devoted educator, a loving sister, a person who traveled far and wide, a dedicated volunteer, an accomplished homemaker, wife, and mother describe a woman who lived life to the fullest. Carmela was able to do and be all this because of the power that drove her--her faith, her love of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. She was a member of many prayer groups. She and her Cenacle Sisters were dear friends and faithful servants to the Lord. They spent countless hours praying for those in need, helping others, and spending time pondering The Word.
Carmela is preceded in death by her parents, Arturo and Elvira García; brother, Noel García; sisters, Norma Rodriguez (Edward+) and Elvira Gracia; brothers-in-law, Charles Cárdenas, Jr., Gilbert Cárdenas (Anita+), and Joe Silva.
She is survived by her loving husband of fifty-seven years, Rubén Cárdenas, Sr.; sons, Rubén Cárdenas, Jr. from Boerne, TX; COL (Ret.) Noel J. Cárdenas (Cristi) from Kingwood, TX; COL Michael A Cárdenas (Ida) from Lithia, FL and Jorge A. Cárdenas from Laredo, TX; grandchildren, Samantha, Jordan, Andrew, Kristian, Noah, Lauren, Jonah, and Alizée Cárdenas; sisters-in-law, Wanda García, Emma Silva, Emelia Riojas (Reynaldo), Esmeralda Martinez (Alfredo), Amparo Cárdenas; brothers-in-law, Alonzo Gracia and Wilbert Cárdenas (Mary).
The family would like to thank Paz García and Crystal Gonzalez for their excellent, compassionate care.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, from 2-9 pm, with a Rosary at 7 pm at McCaleb Funeral Home. Mass will be celebrated by Father Francisco Solis at 10 am on Wednesday, April 3rd, at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Weslaco. Burial will follow at Highland Memorial Park.
Serving as pallbearers will be Andrew, Noah, and Jonah Cárdenas, Arturo García, Pedro Riojas, and Marc Gracia.
In lieu of flowers, friends and family can donate to the Liver Foundation and St Jude.
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My Tia Carmela was a bright star 🌟 while here with us and will be an even brighter light with her Lord Jesus! While being missed very much I am thankful for her love, devotion and encouragement always to me and the whole family’s! She has left a fabulous legacy! Thanks Tia for all the burger and ice cream trips when I was little! 😘
Carmela and Ruben and their boys have been in our thoughts for awhile. Due to, have been planning a high school reunion, and due to, we have 2 children, same ages, which is how we began a pleasing friendship! All our thoughts of Carmela, Ruben and family are good thoughts! Life seems really short sometimes, with our thoughts and hopes of having more time together always there. Am thankful to read of all the good times family and Carmela have had together. She truly lived a full and good Life. One to be remembered with love and respect. We will remember her and her family in our prayers and you have our prayers for continued peace and love. Bonnie and Leon Nunn, and daughter Wendy and son Craig
I’m saddened to hear about her passing. Carmela was a sweet person, it was a pleasure to have met her and worked with her. My condolences to the Cardenas Family. May she rest in Peace.
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