On August 19, 2016, Beatriz Ortega de León, age 90, died peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family after a valiant fight with cancer. Beatriz was born to the late Jacobo S. Ortega and Emma Castro de Ortega in August of 1926 in Allende, Coahuila, Mexico.
Beatriz attended the Taft School for Girls in Taft, Texas, a wonderful boarding school popular with young ladies from Northern Mexico and South Texas. It was here that Beatriz and her sisters forged friendships with other young ladies that would last a lifetime. She continued her education at Texas A&I in Kingsville, TX, receiving a Bachelor's degree in Education. While on campus, Beatriz caught the eye of Ernest F. De León, a handsome young man from Bishop, Texas, who shared a class with her. The two courted and were married on August 24, 1958, in Allende, Coah., Mexico as well as in Corpus Christi, Texas.
This was the beginning of a tender love story, bringing them to the Rio Grande Valley, where both were hired as educators in the Edcouch/Elsa Independent School District. The newlyweds began their family, raising four young daughters, all the while continuing their education at Pan American University and Texas A&I University, earning a Master's in Education and an MBA. Eventually, a decision to move to Brownsville took place, where Beatriz continued her career as an elementary classroom teacher at Sharp Elementary and Ernest began his insurance and real estate agency. Beatriz continued her education, acquiring certificates for counseling, elementary and secondary education, and bilingual education. She worked for the Brownsville Independent School District for many years as one of the original bilingual education supervisors until her retirement in 1998.
Beatriz was raised in a loving environment firmly steeped in education and a strong faith in God. She taught her daughters and grandchildren the importance of faith, hope, and love.
Beatriz was a member of the El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church and of the First United Methodist Church, both of Brownsville, Texas. She was a member of the Lamp Lighters of the FUMC as well as the Brownsville Association of Retired Educators. She was a member of the West Brownsville Lions, serving as their newsletter editor. She was a voracious reader, loved classical music and gardening. Beatriz was a master of 1000 piece puzzles as well as crossword and mathematical puzzles. Beatriz was very efficient in front of her computer, able to keep up with grandchildren in all things technical. She even had a Facebook page, much to the amusement of her daughters and grandchildren. She was the disciplinarian in the family, giving the much dreaded look or church pew pinch when necessary; but she was always ready to embrace her family with loving arms whether to console, admire, support or just plain love.
Beatriz is preceded in death by her parents, Jacobo and Emma Ortega, as well as her brothers, Jose and Abel Ortega; her sisters, Antonia Ortega, Maria O. de Figueroa, Jovita Ortega, and Emma O. de Guajardo.
Beatriz is survived by her husband, Ernest F. De León; her daughters: Sylvia D. (Ygnacio) Garza, Edna De León, Selma D. (Daniel) Yznaga, and Nelda D. (David) Garza. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Mariza Garza, Cassandra G. (Nicholas) Cowen, Jacqueline Tamayo, Jacob Tamayo, Joseph Tamayo, Karla Garza, Kelli Garza, Emma Yznaga, Daniel Yznaga II, and a great-granddaughter, Charlotte Cowen. She is also survived by her brother, Dr. Jacobo Ortega from Edinburg and a sister, Irene O. Bullard from Madison, MS along with numerous nieces, nephews, and other extended family members, including Olivia Mayan, who so lovingly cared for her during her illness.
Beatriz's family will begin to greet friends on Monday, August 22, 2016, starting at 2:00 p.m. and continuing until 6:00 p.m. when a Memorial Service celebrating her life is scheduled to begin in the East Chapel at Darling-Mouser Funeral Home.
Beatriz's grandsons, Jacob Tamayo, Joseph Tamayo, and Daniel Yznaga II; as well as her sons-in-law: Ygnacio Garza, Joseph Tamayo, Daniel Yznaga, and David R. Garza; a nephew, Guillermo E. Guajardo, and her brothers-in-law, Arnold F. De León and Andres F. De León Jr. are honored to be serving as Beatriz's pallbearers.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts in Beatriz's name may be made to the West Brownsville Lions Club, c/o 263 Creekbend Drive, Brownsville, Texas 78521.