Nellie Escobedo Plasencio
February 27, 1925 - November 2, 2014
Eulogy – Friday, November 7, 2014
Compassionate. Intelligent. Giving. Spiritual. Caring. Wise. Professional. These are the words that come to mind when I think of my Nina Nellie, my special Godmother. My second mother, mentor, role model and the best cheerleader anyone could have. She was a source of inspiration, a woman I wanted to emulate. Her words of kindness, concern and career advice shaped me into the woman I am today. Every person should have a Nina like mine. Her brilliance, sense of humor, work ethic and her role as servant leader are what I admired about her.
She and my Mom have been the two must dynamic forces in my life. Together they were magical, classy ladies who enjoyed life and constantly shared love and affection with family and friends.
In 2010, Nina Nellie was selected to be a Corn Mother. Corn Mother in Hopi tradition is the person who gives life, she is earth mother and one who nurtures. My Nina exemplified this and passed it on to others. The Corn Mother Multi-cultural, Multi-generational Photo Journalist Exhibit, where she was honored, was held at Arizona State University’s Museum of Anthropology in October 2010. I was excited to write and submit her bio, her philosophy of life and the story about her Corn Mother, Petra Escobedo. During that process, I too was asked to be a Corn Mother. The Director of the Corn Mother project, Dr. Renee Fajardo, thought it would be special to have a Godmother and Goddaughter in the same exhibit. This was a blessing and a special moment for both of us.
I cannot say enough about her goodness and the joy she brought to all of us. So I leave you with the words she shared about her philosophy of life.
“Think before speaking. It is better to be cautious with your words than to be sorry later.”
“When complimenting other don’t pour syrup all over them. It can be interpreted as insincere.”
“Our talents, skills and education cannot replace good character.”
And the words she shared that will stay with me throughout my life are: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”
In closing, I leave you with a prayer that I took the liberty of personalizing for this occasion. It is from the book Illuminata: A Return to Prayer by Marianne Williamson. It goes like this:
We pray for the spirit of Nellie Plasencio, our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend.
Take her into Your arms, dear Lord and bring peace to her soul. May her transition be sweet. We see at this time all the beloved people who mourn her.
And we watch as a glorious angel of God now ties the golden cord of eternal life at one end to Nellie’s heart and at the other end to the heart of everyone who so receives her.
And now the angel places his hands on this cord, signaling the power of God, which blesses and sustains us, and holds firm our relationships, through life and through death.
We receive into our hearts the truth of God’s eternal life.
Through the glory of God and the mercy of God and the majesty of God may love still live forever and forever. Please uphold us through this sorrow and this loss, as we grieve and release this one we loved and shall so sorely miss.Dearly beloved God, be our strength at this time, that we might yet see the truth of the world as You created it. That there is no death, that Nellie still lives, and in You we will live with her.
Nellie Escobedo Plasencio was born in Solomonville, AZ on February 27, 1925, to the late Julio and Petra Escobedo and was one of seven children. Nellie attended grade school in Solomon and graduated from Safford High School in 1943. She would later be the first Hispanic woman to graduate with an Associate’s Degree in Business from the Gila College, now known as Eastern Arizona College, in 1945.
In 1949, Nellie married Mike Plasencio and to this union four children were born. She raised her family in Safford, AZ. Nellie and Mike were very involved in their church. They enjoyed dancing, family gatherings, camping in Alpine and on Mt. Graham, and devoted much of their time to their grandchildren.
Nellie was passionate about work and education. At the young age of 17, she began working for the County Attorney Max Layton and worked at the Graham County Courthouse for 12 years. She then began working for Emil Crockett. She referred to him as her favorite employer. She worked for Emil Crockett Insurance Company for 33 years.
After retiring from Crockett Insurance, Nellie ran for and was elected to the Office of the Treasurer of Graham County and served three terms. Mike, her children, and grandchildren enjoyed campaigning with her. Nellie was very patriotic and held fast to her Democratic beliefs. She finally retired at the age of 75. Nellie was very proud to be the first Mexican-American elected to that position here in Graham County.
Nellie was an active, dedicated member of her community and served in many different capacities. She was a lifetime member of the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, a member of The Catholic Daughters of the Americas, and was a Cursillista. She was a past member of the Safford School Board, Eastern Arizona Alumni Board and the Graham County Association for Children with Disabilities Board. She was the President of the Democratic Women’s Club from 1987-1989 and served on the Foster Care Review Board as a volunteer from 1979-2000. Nellie was also an honorary life member of the DECA and FBLA programs at Safford High School. Staying active was very important to Nellie and she held many dear friendships throughout her lifetime.
Nellie is preceded in death by her husband, Mike Plasencio, her parents, Julio and Petra Escobedo, her sister Romana Forsyth, her brother Julio Escobedo Jr., and her baby sister Socorro.
She is survived by her four children, Joe Plasencio of Safford, Mikki Farley, Lisa Montgomery (Jeff), and Jim Plasencio all of Phoenix. She was a proud grandmother of six grandchildren and six great grandchildren. She was expecting her first great great grandchild in May.
Nellie will be greatly missed by her family and friends. Her wisdom, strength, dedication, love, and compassion will forever remain in her family’s hearts.
Viewing will be from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, November 7, 2014 at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. Rosary will be at 7 p.m.
Mass of a Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 8, 2014 at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, with Rev. Father Robert Rodriguez as celebrant.
In Lieu of flowers, family suggests donations be made to one of the following organizations that were very important to Nellie:
Alzheimer’s Association, Parkinson’s disease Association, Mt. Graham Hospice, Graham County Association of Children with Disabilities in Safford, St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, St. Rose of Lima Catholic Daughters of the Americas or St. Rose of Lima Messengers of Mary.
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