Felisiana Herrera Almaraz

Felisiana Herrera Almaraz Felisiana Herrera Almaraz, former long-time resident of Ridgecrest, went to be with her beloved husband, Julian, in the arms of the Lord on Friday, April 26, 2013, at Odyssey Hospice in Las Vegas, Nev., at the age of 87.

A celebration of her life was held on May 4 in Las Vegas. Private cremation followed. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 18, at 10:30 a.m. at Saint Ann’s Catholic Church, 446 W. Church St., Ridgecrest. Rev. Paul Kado will officiate. Inurnment will follow at Desert Memorial Park.

Felisiana was born to Pedro and Josefa (Gonzales) Herrera on Aug. 10, 1925, in Rotan, Texas. She spent her early years working with her sisters and brother on her parents’ farm, attending local schools between planting and harvesting, as was normal for a farming family at that time. She learned a lot from her mother and grandmother and was always an industrious and thrifty person. Following her mother’s death in 1938, Felisiana moved with her grandparents, Eligio and Gonzala Gonzales, to Bakersfield in 1939, where she met her future husband.

In the years just prior to World War II, Felisiana worked with other family members harvesting crops throughout the Central Valley. During the war years, she sang on live radio with her sisters.

Felisiana married her childhood sweetheart, Julian S. Almaraz, on March 17, 1947, in Bakersfield and they welcomed their first four children. In 1952, Julian presented Felisiana with the keys to her new home in Ridgecrest. Four more children were born, and life stayed very busy.

Most of Felisiana’s education was in Spanish, but she taught herself to read and write in English, with a dictionary by her side, in order to help her children with their school work.

Felisiana supported her children and husband in their many activities. She was an assistant scout leader for the Girl Scouts, assistant archery instructor for the Ridgecrest Junior Archers, den mother for the Cub Scouts, costume maker for the Wayne Grey Dance Studio, helper for the Quarter Midget Association, member of the Altar Society of Saint Ann’s Catholic Church and, in later years with her husband, camp host at Silver Creek in the Sierra Nevadas.

Felisiana enjoyed camping, hiking, gardening and archery. She loved to sew and crochet, making many beautiful items of clothing and home décor. Felisiana also loved to dance and sing. She had a beautiful voice that filled her home with music, and it will be sorely missed. Her home was her work, and her family was her life.

Felisiana is survived by her eight children, Maria Almaraz of Las Vegas; Virginia Torres and husband Albert of Valley Center, Calif.; Julian Almaraz Jr. and wife Beverley of Ridgecrest; Gloria Merjil and husband Jose of Placerville, Calif.; Sara Brown and husband Bob of Ridgecrest; Julia Almaraz of Elk Grove, Calif.; Joe Almaraz and wife Brenda and Flora Almaraz of Ridgecrest, More survivors are her sisters, Macaria Collado and Maria De La Luc Hernandez, both of Stockton, Calif.; brothers Pete and Ray Herrera and uncle Andy Gonzales of Bakersfield; 19 grandchildren; 25 great grandchildren; five great-great grandchildren and her puppy, Angel, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Julian S. Almaraz; parents Pedro and Josefa Herrera; brother Martin Herrera and sister Maria Louisa Saldana.

Felisiana was the loving matriarch of a large extended family, and she will be greatly missed.

Submitted by the family of Felisiana Herrera Almaraz

Story First Published: 2013-05-08