BROWNSVILLE, TX. – Ophelia Fuentes Rios passed away Monday, the 25th of October, 2021 in Brownsville, Texas at one hundred years of age.
Ophelia was born in Corpus Christi, Texas on the 4th of July 1921 to Josefina Barrera Fuentes and Antonio Rodriguez Fuentes. Ophelia married her high school sweetheart, Desiderio Falcon Rios, on December 20, 1944 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Desi finished his military service in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged on September 21, 1945. They lived in Ontario, California where Desi used his machinist skills he acquired in the military. After their son David was born, they returned to Corpus Christi to continue their education. They moved to Brownsville, Texas in 1954 where Desi took a job with the Brownsville School District teaching Industrial Arts. They were dedicated to the idea of getting an education. Desi commuted to Texas A&I at Kingsville and earned his degree in Industrial Arts. He continued his studies at Texas A&M and earned a Master's Degree. Ophelia raised their six children while Desi was completing his education. It was now Ophelia’s turn to complete her education. She commuted to Pan American College in Edinburg where she received her degree in education graduating Magna Cum Laude. She began teaching at Putegnat Elementary in Brownsville. She was a dedicated educator and continued for 19 years until her retirement. She loved seeing children learn and frequently bought school supplies for them herself. This intense desire to educate made a difference in the lives of many thousands of people. She loved seeing her former students in town who always remembered her and spoke very highly of their time in her class. She and Desi were well known in the community for their kindness and compassion.
As parents they insisted that their six children all receive an education in order to contribute to the community and earn a living. She lived a life of faith and service which has been an inspiration for her children and grandchildren. She received much joy from her husband, children, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She always told them how much she loved them and how proud she was of them.
Ophelia and Desi had six children: Dr. David N. Rios (Mary), Claudia Sander (Michael H.), Dr. Rolando Rios (Ella), Reynaldo Rios, Norma Wilcox (Dr. Rex), and Robert Anthony Rios (Karen Flannigan).
They had eighteen grandchildren: Dr. David Rios (Jennifer+), Daniel Rios, Carlos R. Rios (Natasha), Robert Rios, Dr. Michael D. Sander (Jennifer E.), Dr. Patrick W. Sander (Alma), Dr. James C. Sander, Dr. Jennifer Sander Walt (Michael J.), Carlos Rios, Elyssa Rios, Dr. Melissa Wilcox Blasko (Sean), Christina Wilcox Bennett (Josh), Rex Wilcox, Amanda Wilcox, James Wilcox, Robert T. Rios, Ryan Rios (Jaione), and Sarah Rios.
They had seventeen great-grandchildren: Mia Rios, Eve Rios, Lea Rios, Luke Rios, Reagan Rios, Makenna Rios, Henry Sander, George Sander, Charlotte Sander, William Sander, Wesley Sander, Amanda Sander, Sophia Sander, Alan Sander, Iris Madeline Bennett, Remy West Blasko, and John Allan Walt.
It is hard to summarize a lifetime in a few sentences. Ophelia (Nena) was a consummate homemaker, a loving mother, a true life’s partner for her husband, and a dedicated and loving educator. Nena and Desi have left a long lasting legacy as parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and educators. May she rest in peace.
Ophelia is preceded in death by her parents, Antonio and Josefina Fuentes; her loving husband of 53 years, Desiderio Falcon Rios; her brothers, Ruben Fuentes (Corine) and Dr. Antonio Fuentes (Lita); and by her sister, Carmen Freant (Robert). She is survived by her sister, Mercedes Peck (Richard+) of San Diego California; her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews and extended family members.
Visiting hours will be held on Tuesday, the 2nd of November 2021 between the hours of five o’clock in the evening and nine o’clock at night, with the recitation of the holy rosary to begin at seven o’clock Tuesday evening within the East Chapel of Darling-Mouser Funeral Home.
The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at ten o’clock in the morning on Wednesday, the 3rd of November 2021 at The Lord of Divine Mercy Catholic Church, 650 E. Alton Gloor Boulevard, Brownsville. Entombment will follow, via an escorted procession, at Buena Vista Burial Park Mausoleum, 5 McDavitt Boulevard, Brownsville.
Honored to serve as her pallbearers are Dr. David A. Rios, Daniel Rios, Carlos R. Rios, Dr. Patrick Sander, Dr. James Sander, Robert T. Rios, Ryan D. Rios, and Carlos Rios.
The family would like to give special thanks to her caregivers Lupe, Lydia, and Angelica for their many years of devoted care.
In lieu of floral arrangements and customary remembrances, the family suggests that donations be made in her name to The Lord of Divine Mercy Catholic Church, 650 E. Alton Gloor Boulevard, Brownsville, Texas, 78526, www.osvonlinegiving.com/432, (956) 544-2112.
Memories of Ophelia may be shared at www.darlingmouser.com.
Personalized funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Darling-Mouser Funeral Home at 945 Palm Boulevard in Brownsville, Texas 78520, (956) 546-7111.
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