Virginia C. Ornelas
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Virginia C. Ornelas
  • October 4, 1929 - December 4, 2017
  • Yuma, Arizona

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Virginia was born in Yuma, Arizona on the fourth of October 1929. Virginia's mother and father immigrated to the United States from Mexico living for a time in El Paso, Texas before moving to Arizona where they started a family.
Virginia had three sisters and two brothers. She was the second child born to Jose Cardenas and Isabel Torres. Virginia has one surviving Sister Socorro. She is preceded in death by both parents and her sisters Trinidad, Lydia and both brothers Raymond and Daniel.
As a child Virginia lived happily with her family in a small house on tenth avenue between 4th and 5th streets in old Yuma. She attended schools in the Yuma Area and was proud to have known Elisabeth Post and Alice Byrne for whom schools were named after. Virginia's father, a hard working man, traveled to wherever he could find work during the "great depression" which made school attendance difficult and like so many others, her formal education was limited.
Virginia traveled with her family to the Los Angeles, California area in search of work and met a man whom she married. Shortly thereafter she gave birth to a little girl but tragically her husband died leaving her a young widow with a baby girl.
Virginia returned to Yuma living with her mother and father and working to support herself and her baby girl. It was during this time that she met her lifelong mate Miguel ( Mike) Perez Ornelas. Mike knew only hard work and was well aware of the harsh realities of life. He fell in love with Virginia married her and they soon began a happy life together that would span more than sixty-seven years.
Virginia and Mike were life partners working together to build their own family. Mike secured a job at the Yuma Proving Grounds while Virginia an excellent cook, worked as a housewife making sure Mike and the children were well fed. She also worked during the citrus harvest in packing sheds as a Tally girl counting the thousands of boxes packed and shipped from Yuma.
They both worked and saved until they could afford to have a house built. Virginia loved her house and would live there for the rest of her life raising her children. Virginia and Mike raised a family of five in their three bedroom two bath little house. They had three girls, Linda, Nellie, Jenny and two boys Michael and Danny. They sadly suffered the loss of a baby girl, Gloria, who passed away as an infant.
Virginia was up early. every day to make fresh tortillas, pack Mike's lunch, make breakfast for the family get the kids ready for school and then hurry off to work. She was a very good housekeeper returning from work to make more tortillas, dinner, housecleaning and supervising the boys planting and caring for all her plants and flowers.
When the children were grown and Mike retired from YPG they traveled all over Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Colorado. Mike continued working driving a lettuce truck and Virginia took up housekeeping in their fifth wheel trailer.
When Mike was disabled by diabetes Virginia stayed by his side, a constant companion, caring for him and seeing to all his needs. She herself had medical problems beginning with a back injury in mid-life that would cause her life-long pain. She endured multiple surgeries in attempts to heal her medical condition. During this time she took little time for herself continuing to care for her husband even as she convalesced. Virginia was strong of mind and body but age and failing health was too much for her weakened heart. Virginia passed away holding Mike's hand, surrounded by her family on December 4, 2017.