On Tuesday, March 26, 2013 surrounded by her loving family our beloved mother, Beatriz F. Villanueva, 78, of Sunnyside went peacefully into the arms of her Savior.
She was born Oct. 5, 1934 in Odem, Texas to Reymundo and Josefa (Zepeda) Farias. She spent her early years in Texas, where she received her education.
She met and married the love of her life José Alonzo Villanueva Sr. in 1949, settling in Yakima County, and finally making their home in Sunnyside.
Beatriz was a dedicated wife, mother and homemaker first. She also engaged in many endeavors in order to help support her family. She was a migrant farm worker, cake maker, a volunteer for Blue Birds, nursing assistant and entrepreneur. She was best known as owner and operator of La Fiesta Restaurant in Sunnyside, along with her husband, José.
In 1962 Beatriz and José, along with two other longtime members of St. Joseph Parish in Sunnyside lobbied the legislature to establish and operate a state- owned daytime childcare and educational center for migrant farm employees. In 2002 Beatriz, Jose and others were recognized for their childcare efforts and were designated Grand Marshals for the 2002 Cinco de Mayo parade in Sunnyside. The center stands today in the same location under private ownership serving the community.
With the support of her husband, José, she established Ministerio Nueva Vida servicing the Latino Catholic community. As part of this ministry, they helped found the annual Congreso Carismático held in Yakima and were recently honored for these founding efforts.
She was a lifetime Catholic and on her 57th wedding anniversary, she received the Apostolic Blessing in 2006 from Pope Benedict XVI.
She is survived by her 11 children, Maria (Armando) Sanchez of Gridley Calif., Mario (Jane) of Olympia, Mary Jane Allen (Steve) of Sunnyside, Frank (Vena) of Lacey, Chris (Ester) of Bellevue, John (Marti) of Grandview, Suzi (Greg) Carpino of Sunnyside, Maria Nena Kresse of Kennewick, Joe (Godeleva) of Spanaway, Lisa (Paul) Erickson of Kennewick and Maria Bea (Louis) Scudiero of Pullman; 35 grandchildren; 51 great-grandchildren; two half-brothers and two half-sisters; and numerous nieces and nephews,
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, José Alonzo; three brothers; two sisters; son-in-law, Steve Allen; grandson, José Armando Sanchez; granddaughter, Lily Joy Erickson; great-granddaughter, Angel Allen; and great-grandchildren Atalia and Luke Nyce.
She was a woman of great faith, who loved her God and enjoyed sharing God's love with everyone she met.
The Villanueva family would like to express their heartfelt thanks to the staff at Prestige Care who became an extension of our family by providing our mother with the love and care she deserved.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Joseph Bereavement Committee, 907 S. Sixth St. in Sunnyside, and Lower Valley Hospice, 3920 Outlook Rd. in Sunnyside.
Viewing and visitation will be held Tuesday, April 2, 2013, from 4 to 8 p.m., with recitation of the Holy Rosary at 6 p.m. at Smith Funeral Home Chapel in Sunnyside. Mass of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Sunnyside, with burial to follow at Lower Valley Memorial Gardens in Sunnyside.
Those wishing to sign Beatriz's on-line memorial book may do so at www.funeralhomesmith.com.
Smith Funeral Homes Ltd. and Crematory in Sunnyside is in charge of arrangements.