Christina (Masuca) Sanchez, 95, passed away peacefully on February 16, 2021, surrounded by family. Born on December 15, 1925, Christina’s unwavering faith was her guide and her salvation as she overcame life’s difficult moments. No matter her other responsibilities, Mom’s main priority was her family. She always was by her husband’s side making sure his needs were met until he passed away in 1985. She spent most of her life taking care of him as well as taking care of their eight children, grandchildren, friends and anyone she met along the way.
Like many other migrant families Mom, Dad and eight kids worked alongside each other harvesting various crops throughout the country. Mom started every morning before the break of dawn rolling up and cooking fresh flour tortillas filled with chorizo, eggs and fried beans, and gingerly placing them onto a clean dish towel and wrapping them ready to take along for a breakfast break later on. We all huddled together during the drive, keeping each other warm, as we tried to become more awake before heading into the fields of whatever crop we were scheduled to work on that day. And so, Mom worked alongside her family: in generous fields of sugar beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes and cotton. All day long, in hot summer days, walking, hauling heavy boxes of produce, and encouraging her youngest children throughout the day. Mom didn’t falter but kept going until the end of our eight-, nine- or even ten-hour days on the field until we returned home. She then prepared dinner as we all took our mandatory night baths. Finally, everyone fed and ready for bed we tried not to think of how we would repeat the day tomorrow.
Gracious, loving, accepting. That was our Mom! In winter she loved the outdoors especially when she could throw snowballs at her unsuspecting children and grandkids, and in hot weather she would sneak up on us with the hose in her hands and had us dripping wet before we knew it. Pretty soon, our excited voices were challenging each other: “Get Mom!” and “Grandma! I’m coming after you!” Her favorite pastimes were cooking, baking, knitting, sewing and quilting. Weeks before Christmas she would be bustling around in the kitchen baking hundreds of Christmas cookies of every kind, and then carefully packing them in boxes to have us mail to family as if they had no access to those holiday treats. (She continued this tradition long after all us kids had grown up) Only one year was she late in sending them before Christmas so she received calls from sons and daughters wondering why she didn’t do any baking! And, when our oldest brother was sent to Viet Nam, she mailed countless cookies making sure he had more than enough to share with other Marines. Another time-consuming labor of love: Dozen of tamales would be piled up ready for steaming as Mom prepared for Christmas feasting and of course expected all her kids to roll up their sleeves and help spread the masa on the corn husks while she added the meat. Like the cookies, the tamales were not just for her immediate family. She always had extras for us to take to our friends. (Many therapists, doctors and secretaries benefitted from our mom’s generosity; that’s the way she was with everyone she met.) We never left our parents’ house empty-handed as Mom always made sure to pack leftovers, cookies, blankets, etc., for us to take back home.
We can’t forget to mention the blankets that continue to keep us warm even after her passing on: She crocheted blankets and sewed quilts for her us (her adult children), her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, and even our friends. Once she heard someone, anyone, was having a baby, she would make sure to welcome that little newborn with his or her own baby blanket. We would pass on extra blankets to whoever needed them as our closets had a habit of magically overflowing with blankets. (When Mom had to give up living alone and moved into senior living, she brought in her sewing machine so she could continue sewing; unfortunately, when she could no longer thread her own needle she had to give up her love of making quilts.) It is our parents’ generosity, especially Mom’s that benefited us the most. We are who we are as a result of Mom and Dad. Thank you both. May you truly rest in peace, Mom. You deserve it.
Preceeded in death by husband, Jose S. Sanchez, infant son, two sisters and a brother, and most recently, her youngest daughter, Christina Morales. (It is comforting to know that Mom is not alone and has loved ones waiting to welcome her with open arms.)
Those of us lucky to have had her in our lives, were touched by Mom’s loving heart, sense of humor, and industrious composition. Mom will be missed by her devoted family and friends, including the following children living in California: Juan, Ignacio, Apolonia (Jose Valladares), Natividad (Isabel), grandson Steve (Deborah) whom she raised as if he was her own son, and in Wisconsin: Marianita (Prudencio Oyarbide), Santiago, and Maria del Refugio (Rolando Rodriguez) and Isidro Morales. She also will be lovingly missed by her three nieces and two nephews, 32 grandchildren and 57 (at last count) great- grandchildren!
For two years Mom resided at the Wild Rose Manor (Wild Rose, WI) where she had a daily stream of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other family and friends visiting with her, playing Chinese Checkers (She always had a way of winning especially against son Santiago!), constructing jigsaw puzzles, listening to Catholic Mass and engaging in playful banter with her sons and daughters. Her playfulness included a flyswatter within her reach; she used it to swat at whoever she thought deserved it! Last year, due to the closing of the Manor, Mom was moved to the Omro Center (Omro, WI). Unfortunately, shortly after Mom’s move, COVID19 concerns put a stop to our visits there. It was at this point that Mom’s health started to deteriorate.
Visitation will be held at 10AM on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Wautoma followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 12PM (NOON). Interment will follow at Calvary Cemetery. Leikness Funeral Home, Wautoma is assisting the family with arrangements. www.leiknessfuneralhome.com
As was her warm and generous style in all interactions with others, we would like to end with her usual responses: “You’re so nice. Thank you.” And, “I’m ok.”