Last Sunday, one of our family members passed away. She was an icon of the Hispanic community for all she did through her son, Ray Arvizu’s, agency, Arvizu Advertising. Most of all she was a very dear friend of my Nana’s and our family. Last night was the mass and viewing and I took Nana. My Nana is 88-years-old – she wore high heels and refused to bring her walker! She has so much energy, I hope I’m like her when I’m 88. Anyway, the mass was beautiful, but still it was heartbreaking because of the reason we were there. Throughout the night, Nana heard about some of her other friends who had recently been put in rest homes and she didn’t take the news lightly.
On the way home, Nana told me how she always wonders why so many of her friends who are much younger than her, have passed on or are in rest homes or are ill – and why she is still going strong. We both agreed it is because of the power of her prayers. OK, now for the Ditzy Kathy part. We were in such a deep conversation that I got lost driving her to her house! I’ve lived in this city ALL my life – and I freakin’ got lost!
The worst part is that I had us lost in the bad part of town. When I finally did get my sense of direction, I noticed the gas light was on full strength. I pulled into the closest station, 24th St and Van Buren (some call it “Hooker Row”) and noticed there are cars everywhere. I managed to squeeze my 4Runner into a sliver of a spot in between two scary looking guys chewing toothpicks. I hopped out and while pumping the gas saw a bunch of cop cars pulling in. I glanced down to the ground and there was a fresh body of a shirtless man who had been shot!!!!
I gasped, stopped pumping, got in the car and nodded when Nana said, “Oh, that poor man must have fallen down…”
I finally got Nana home safe. And me too. Today Theresa and Maya came with us to the rest of the services. Here is a cute conversation I overheard between Nana and her friend.
HIM (90-years-old): “Dori, I wish I could come see you, but I don’t got any wheels anymore!”
NANA (88-years-old): “Oh don’t worry, I understand. The only wheels I have these days are the ones on my walker…”
They both sigh and hug. This funeral was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. There were mariachis, an ongoing Power Point slide show on a big screen that featured pictures of Isabel all throughout her life with her family. Her casket was gilded in gold, just like a queen and there were more people than I’ve ever seen at a funeral. Isabel was truly repsected, admired and loved by everyone.
Isabel Gonzalez Arvizu passed away on Sunday, July 23, 2006 while in Las
Vegas with husband Raymundo, son Ray, daughter Rachel and immediate family. She suddenly became ill on Saturday with pulmonary complications causing heart to fail. Isabel was born on July 8, 1936 in Yuma, Arizona to Ynocent Zubia Gonzalez and Henrietta Velasco Gonzalez. She grew up in California with her four sisters. Isabel served her country in the Army Reserve in the early 1950’s. She met her loving husband Raymond Arvizu of 49 years in Phoenix. Loving surviving family are husband Raymundo, father Ynocent, son Ray Arvizu, daughter Rachel Peralta, daughter-in-law Ernestina Placencia Arvizu, son-in-law Anthony Peralta and grandsons, Raymundo, Jr., Andres, Robert and Daniel Arvizu; and Anthony Peralta, Jr.; sisters Ramona Inez (Higgins), Anita Alexandra (Verdugo), and Kathleen “Katie” Elena (Aguilar); nieces and nephews, Rose Higgins Crutcher, David Charles Higgins, Jr.; Robert Vincent Verdugo, Lorraine Elizabeth Dodge, Michael Henry Verdugo; Leia Elena Vernor, Jennifer Elizabeth Aguilar, Anthony Edward Aguilar, Laura Eileen Aguilar; as well as numerous grand nieces and grand nephews. Isabel helped establish Arvizu Advertising in the early 90’s by volunteering to answer phones, schedule projects, and kept the business on time and on budget. The two-person office evolved into what is now the number one advertising agency in Arizona. From organizing the company’s travel needs to lending her creative flair to corporate gifts and awards, Isabel’s kindness and genuine grace was admired by all. Isabel’s elegant spirit gained her respect within the community as well as recognition by the U.S Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Isabel was a great mentor, role model and inspiration to all. Kind, yet firm, was her mantra, and her spirit which will never be forgotten, will continue to dance in our hearts: La reina del Mundo. In lieu of flowers you may donate to the Arvizu Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Scholarship for Excellence Fund in the name of Isabel Arvizu. Send a note directing it to go to: Arvizu Hispanic Scholarship (A receipt will be sent for tax purposes Tax ID# is 20-4880222). Mail to: Chief University Relations Officer, Grand Canyon University, 3300 West Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85061-1097. Arrangements by Carr-Tenney Funeral Home, 2621 S. Rural Road, Tempe, AZ 85282 (480) 967-2104. Services to be at Church Of The Holy Spirit (also listed as Holy Spirit Catholic Church), 1800 E Libra Drive,
Tempe, AZ 85283 – 3216, (480) 838-7474, Friday, July 28, 2006 – Viewing 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. & Rosary at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, July 29, 2006 – Mass 10:00 a.m. Internment at Rest Haven Park Mortuary & Cemetery 4310 E Southern Ave, Phoenix, AZ (602) 437-0436.
Published in The Arizona Republic from 7/27/2006 – 7/29/2006.