Petra Reyes Melendrez, 88, of Sunnyside went to be in the arms of her Heavenly Father Wednesday, June 21, 2006, from her home, surrounded by her family.

Petra was born on Jan. 18, 1918 in Tamaulipas, Mexico, the daughter of Pedro and Virginia (Luera) Reyes. She came to the U.S., when she was three months old and spent her early years in west Texas. On March 21, 1938 Petra married Alfonso P. Melendrez in Crystal City, Texas. Soon after, the couple moved to Carrizo Springs, Texas to begin their family.

The Melendrez family would travel to Ohio, Oregon, California, Minnesota, Wyoming and Montana as seasonal migrant workers. In 1950, Petra and her family first came to Washington state to work at the Yakima Chief Ranch in Mabton and Hulbert Farms in Mt. Vernon.

In 1965, Alfonso and Petra bought a permanent home in Sunnyside. However, they continued to work on a seasonal basis in Mt. Vernon and San Ramon, Calif. until 1974.

Mom stopped working and became a full time housewife. Petra was a caring, loving individual who loved to be surrounded by her family. She took great pride in caring for her numerous rose bushes and in her Mexican cooking. Her home was a welcoming place for her family to come together for coffee before work and after church on Sundays. Petra was a life-time member of St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Petra will always be remembered for her immense love of her family and intriguing stories about her early life experiences as a migrant worker. Her family will remember her as their mother, ama, grandma, abuelita, ama grande and the world’s best cook.

She is survived by 10 daughters, Aurora (Jose) Escobar, Angela Melendrez, Abelia (Juan) Ramirez, Maria (Jim) Moser, Dominga/PeeWee (Juan) Cortez, Cruz (Fidel) Amaro, Carmen Reyes and Santa (Nicholas) Myers, all of Sunnyside, Rosa (Ricardo) Garza of Spokane and Julia Melendrez of Mt. Vernon; three sons, Ramiro (Anita) Melendrez, Nicolas Melendrez and Ricardo (Maria) Melendrez, all of Sunnyside; 62 grandchildren, 115 great-grandchildren and 14 great-great-grandchildren; a special sister-in-law, Petra (Damacio) Melendrez; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Alfonso Melendrez; two sons, Alberto Melendrez and Vidal Antonio Melendrez; two grandchildren, Carmen Uvalle and Ricardo (Dickie) Garza; two great-granddaughters, Stephanie N. DeLeon and Sara T. Garza; and one nephew, she raised as her own from a very young age, Raul (Pablo) Ramos.

Viewing and visitation will be held Thursday, June 22, 2006, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a Rosary to be recited at 6 p.m. at Smith Funeral Home, Sunnyside. Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, June 23, 2006, at 1 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Sunnyside, with burial to follow at Lower Valley Memorial Gardens. Smith Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


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