Obituary Notices and Memorials


BARRAZA, Carmen H. April 13, 1927~ May 28, 2011 After gracing us with her kindness and warmth for 84 years, our beloved Carmen is with her Lord Jesus Christ and reunited with her son, Michael, mother Victoria, brother Robert, and sister Pat. Carmen's story begins in the small railroad town of Winfield, Kansas, where she was born to Antonio Hilario and Victoria Amandor Hilario on April 13, 1927. She was raised in a small and humble setting of rural Kansas with 3 brothers Richard, Robert and Tony and sister Pat. Although life was simple, the love and laughter from her parents and siblings left Carmen with lasting fond memories. Then in 1942, a change would come about that would destine Carmen's life as we know it. Victoria packed up the kids and headed to California to join her sister Aurora Villegas. Carmen attended Theodore Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights where she excelled academically and participated in the school's Drill Team and Sport's Club. Later she earned a School Letter that she proudly wore on her letterman's sweater. Carmen had to keep busy and do her part to help the family so she took a summer job at the local Woolworths Department Store. Along this time she also gained 4 more sisters, Betty Jane, Linda, Maharia and Irene that continue to live in Kansas and Texas, and brother Greg in Oklahoma. Little did Carmen know that a young fellow student Peter Barraza was keeping an eye out for her in the classroom at Roosevelt High and Woolworths where he also worked. And this is when their 5-year courtship began. It's been told that during their courtship while walking past a cemetery in East Los Angeles Pete commented to Carmen that 'One day we will be buried there.' Carmen replied, 'Pete, why would we marry in a cemetery?' Apparently she already had plans to marry her man. In early 1951, Carmen and Pete vowed to love and adore each other in a ceremony at St. Isabel Church in East Los Angeles. What ensued was a union blossoming into a blissful 60 year marriage. After their marriage, Pete and Carmen Barraza moved to Pacoima in 1954, to start their family and their careers. Early on, Carmen worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District as a clerk stenographer and later as the secretary in the Superintendent's office. In 1954, they moved to Pacoima where she took a job at Pacoima Jr. High School. It wasn't long thereafter when she became a mother to Steve and Michael Barraza. Till the very end, Carmen's love for her children was endearing and unconditionalÉ And yet she had more to give. Carmen set out to make a difference in our world. She witnessed many young people who needed guidance. Her desire to help those in need motivated her to get her teaching credential in 1965. For the next 26 years, she taught at the North Valley Occupational Center and educated her students with gentleness and earnest to see her students succeed in life. As a testament to her work, many of her students continued to stay in contact, even decades later, to let her know of their accomplishmentsÉ And yet she had more to give. Carmen's compassion to help those less fortunate led her to frequently travel to Hollywood where she recorded many books on tape so that blind people had the opportunity to enjoy literary works of art. As a member of LACA (Latin American Civic Association), Carmen was instrumental in starting the first Head Start program in the San Fernando Valley to help young mothers and their children participate in pre-school when they may not be able to afford it... And yet she had more to give. Carmen was an active member of MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity). MEND is a volunteer organization that serves as many as 31,000 individuals per month. It is the largest, most efficient and most comprehensive poverty-relief organization in the San Fernando Valley that sprouted its roots in Pacoima where Carmen was compelled to give back to her community. After all, she felt God blessed her with a wonderful marriage, family and work. In 1988, Carmen and Pete transitioned to their next phase in life, retirement. They moved to the Antelope Valley in 1988, where Carmen was excited to continue God's workÉ because she had more to give. She remained active in her community and Blessed Junipero Serra Parish for the next 22 years. In 1989, Carmen volunteered in the Catholic Archdiocese Detention Ministry program to teach religion to numerous boys and girls at the Challenger Camp in Lancaster. She stood in as a sponsor or Godmother to more than two dozen boys and girls over a 15 year period to help them meet their religious sacraments. Carmen H. Barraza touched the lives of all those she came in contact with. She was a remarkable woman who was kind, warmhearted, treated everyone with respect and never held a grudge. You wanted to be around her to see her gracefulness, feel her compassion and share her love. She will be missed tremendously by family and friends but her memory and legacy will continue to live in all of us. On May 28, 2011, our Lord Jesus Christ told Carmen that her work was done hereÉ there was no more for her to give. So the angels lifted her spirit and soul and took her home. For those of us who are still here, we will see Carmen on the other side. Till then we will miss you Carmen. Memorial services celebrating her life will be held for family and friends at 8 a.m., Saturday, June 11, 2011, at Mary Immaculate Church located at 10390 Remick Ave in Pacoima, Calif.

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