Dora Marie Guerrero was born on April 1, 1926, the first born of Refugio and Juanita Guerrero.

Her sisters speak of her with great admiration and respect. She was the oldest of 8 children and from a very young age she cared for her siblings as if they were her own. Dora was the go-to person for her family and "essential personnel" to her parents; any purchase, any contract, any "official" correspondence from Social Security, Dora had the last word. "Halcela hay; ahorita viene Dorita" - it was Dora's blessing they all needed. Besides being the decision maker, she was also an excellent tortilla maker. I would venture a guess that the nasty cut my Aunt Vicky got on her leg when Dora caught her stealing one of those tortillas was well worth it and the burn my aunt Genevieve got was an unforgettable lesson in consequences. Dora worked hard outside the home as well. She and my aunt Mary Frances had jobs at a soda fountain after school. She also worked as a secretary for an encyclopedia salesman, ran the phone room at Arthur Murray, and as secretary for a facility that made chlorine bleach. Yes, Dora knew the formula for chlorine bleach and one day, in the absence of her boss, transformed from secretary to chemist. She and the other elder Guerrero siblings, Joe, Mary, and Vicky helped support their family and sacrificed so that their younger siblings could go to college and have a better life. And this selflessness left an indelible impression. My aunt Genevieve told me "Those of us who came later had it made." My aunt Mary Lou, the youngest added "It was a piece of cake and mine had frosting on it." My mother, Elisa, who was stubborn and a bit of a

diva, or so I'm told, always remembers fondly how Dora would push her to school each and every morning. My aunt was a very smart, curious person who was always looking to better herself. At a job at Stinson Field on the outskirts of San Antonio, an old boss taught her to drive. She would practice turns around the National Guard Barracks. And he told her that if she showed up for a year, he'd help her buy a car. She of course did more than show up and he stayed true to his word. Dora's final job was in the Family Life Center at St Mary's University. Here she continued her tradition of mentor and advisor. Several of the students from the Program are adamant that they could not have gotten through graduate school without Dora. It was during this time that my aunt took an interest in an undergraduate student at St. Mary's struggling with a newborn, relying on dorm mates to baby-sit, and balancing the demands of a newborn with a heavy class schedule. Dora stepped in and helped care for the baby who later became a regular at my Tias home. That baby is now 25 years old and when he heard she was dying, he wrote the following words to her, “I never took the time to realize it…Just how different my life would’ve been if you hadn’t stepped into it….You introduced me to a place where I could be a child. A place where I could have a childhood. You saved me from a different life and for that you’ll forever have my gratitude.” My aunt touched many lives. You'd think that someone burdened with so much responsibility at such a young age would seek to be unburdened, free of responsibility during retirement but not my aunt. She was soon actively

involved with a number of organizations; she manned a Suicide Crisis Line overnight, stood in the serving line for Meals on Wheels, and visited inmates as part of a jailhouse ministry. Because of her unending compassion she was chosen to run a class for the gay inmates who were often taunted and harassed in jail. During this time she also became involved with Providence Home, a place for orphaned children suffering from HIV Aids. There she met and cared for a toddler named Juanita. Juanita was known to be a handful but my aunt and her became fast friends. Dora would bring her to the house. She was curious and talkative and adorable, with jet black hair cut in the shape of a bowl. Juanita passed away but not before feeling the love and admiration my Aunt Dora showed her. Many faithful friends who stayed in regular contact with her for decades also loved Dora. Many of them are here today to say goodbye. She would always talk about Jerry, Dolores, Irv, and Ethel in South Carolina. She would run around Woodlawn Lake with Irv. And always looked forward to her regular lunches with the others at Marie Calendars. Throughout her life she always made friends, especially with those she could learn something new from. There was the group of Chinese students that came to cook a meal and had the kitchen filled with the sounds and exotic smells of their homeland, Dixon from Nigeria, and the Bahai couple; all were welcomed and all are remembered fondly. To us, her nieces and nephews, she was beautiful in her peplum dresses, fearless and independent. She was a role model for my sisters and me. And she also played counselor and advisor, especially to my cousin Gilbert who is now seeking a Masters degree in Social work and has found not only a

new career but a calling. During times of crisis, Dora was the one to calm you and provide comfort. Even towards the end when she was very sick and in ICU, my brother Michael said she always seemed unafraid, peaceful and confident. She was a human being so of course she had to have been anxious and concerned about her condition but what she chose to show was strength. “I don’t know if she did this for herself or if she was doing it for me,” he said, “But I always thought I’m not afraid of the outcome because she’s not afraid.” Many times in life you want to look in someone’s eyes and just feel true strength and the assurance that whatever comes your way you will be just fine because everything you need to survive is already there. This is how she made many of us feel all the time. And I think today, she would want all of us to feel strong and to celebrate her life because it was most certainly full and well lived. She’d want us to relish in the memories of her sitting at the dining room table reading the New York Times, her strong, capable hands slowly turning each page. Her endless generosity – up to the end she was sending money to a family in India, the fresh lemonade she would make with my nephew Warren. The thoughtful gifts she would buy for her great nieces and nephews who loving called her Ata. The effortless way she made menudo, buñuelos, chicken ala king, and fish croquettes during lent. We will all miss her no doubt. But she has left a deep impression on all of us here and we are all thankful to have known her. She will continue to live on in our hearts, minds and souls. We love you Aunt Dora and always will.