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Margaret’ was a mother figure to all

Margarita Rivas died on April 10. Her funeral was held at Holy Cross RC Church, Santa Cruz on April 20. Richard Lezama did the following eulogy. It has been edited for length.

The seed that blossomed into a 106-year-old tree. This title represents the celebration of the life of Margarita ‘Margaret’ Rivas, who was born to Manuel and Nobelta Lezama.

Margaret was the first Lezama seed to be sown, that started our legacy. While not much information was given about her early childhood, but in an early interview with the last surviving of the first set of Lezama—Virginia aka ‘Tanty Virgin’, a lot of information was shared.

Margaret, as everyone knew her, was born on July 20, 1918 (honestly this is what the ID stated) as back then they took long to register births and so placed the date registered as the date of birth.

Nonetheless, she was here as the first Lezama child in Santa Cruz, followed by Manuelta (‘TI’), Sylvia, Else, Elsa and Christopher. As a child, (from what I remembered from my conversation with her last year) she was always full of energy and a little bossy as the first and she loved her siblings, no matter what.

TI and Margaret could not get along because TI was the fighter and she was not, (you know how sibling rivalry goes) but the one she clung to the most was her only brother, Christopher. Just like TI, Christopher was the one who kept all their secrets, and so did they when he would ‘run his racket.’

When the family moved to Mission Road, Margaret was already married to the love of her life, Ignacio Rivas. Margaret had no biological children of her own but was a mother figure to all her nieces and nephews. She took the role of mother later down the road when she took in Else’s first child, Mary, and with Ignacio raised her as their own until Mary married Mervin Nicholas and had three children (Barry, Penny, and Elizabeth).

Margaret raised these three children as her own grand, along with others (Jaime, Kadane and Mario) who came along later. Her other nieces and nephews would come for the holidays and Margaret would cook and have them do chores and have fun.

Margaret also opened her home to Ignacio’s nephews and nieces, especially Edwin Mondezie Sr, aka Romeo, who basically spent all his time with them as a son rather than a nephew.

Margaret was a stalwart of Holy Cross RC Santa Cruz as she devoted her life to God and the Church, especially ensuring that the church harvest would go smoothly as well as being the big chef.  Her roti was soft, and she loved to cook. Anyone visiting Margaret would be held in a conversation about family and back in the days when she was young, and if you wanted to know about family history, she was the one to go to.

Margaret used to offer either a snack or something to drink to every child that passed by her.

In 2021, Margaret went to live with Romeo and Lydia where she was taken care of until the time of her death. May she rest in peace.