San Diego Chicano Activist to Be Laid to Rest – Tina Was on the Front Lines of Chicano Rights; She Walked Farmworkers’ Union Picket Lines in High Heels
By Vincent deBaca
Tina C. de Baca (mother, friend, sister, and compañera) is now at peace and she sits happily with our ancestors in heaven where the world cannot hurt her. She requested the sacraments to the end and she knew God’s love, patience, and forgiveness. Compounding other illnesses, Tina fell into unconsciousness after suffering two strokes on October 3rd and she passed away peacefully on Sunday, October 14, 2012.
She was born Celestina Maria Marquez at the family ranchito in Anton Chico, New Mexico. Family teased her as “The Slick Chick from Anton Chic.” She was the only woman ever seen walking UFW picket-lines in the 1960s dressed stylishly “to the 9s” in high heels. A stunning beauty, Tina possessed a great sense of humor and a strong dedication to human rights in good and bad times.
In public life, Tina was a life member of MECHA at Mesa College, the Chicano Federation board of directors, the San Diego Regional Advisory Board, the San Diego Spanish Speaking Diocesan Council, the Committee on Chicano Rights, the Comisíon Femenil, the San Diego Women’s Bank, and a founding investor in La Prensa de San Diego. She supported many organizations and marched in demonstrations against all wars and any form of discrimination. She gave time, money, and her heart to many causes.
Tina’s father, Bonifacio “Boni” Marquez-Garcia, preceded her in death. Her mother, Petronila “Nila” Sanchez-Lucero, died last year at the age of 99-years old surrounded by Tina and generations of her San Diego descendants. Tina’s sister Gloria and her brother Luis also preceded her. In 1973, her husband, John Herman C. de Baca, passed away at an early age and Tina raised her youngest daughters and a grand-daughter largely alone. Last year, Tina deeply mourned the loss of her friend Emma Creel and her concuña Berta Maese-Valdez.
Her father Boni Marquez was a New Mexico delegate to the 1944 Democrat Convention. While her husband’s family was related to the first Latino elected United States governor in 1916, Democrat Ezequiel Cabeza de Baca of New Mexico. A life-long Democrat, Tina lived to mail her absentee ballot to re-elect President Barak Obama and elect future Mayor Bob Filner. It was her last wish that family and friends would do likewise in her memory.
Tina is survived by her sister, Ms. Pearl Marquez-Jorgensen of Salt Lake City, UT and her two brother-in-laws: James Valdez of Lubbock, TX and Justin Valdez of Mora, NM. She was mother to son Vincent (Rosario) of Denver, CO; Claire of Bellingham, WA; Letty of Aurora, CO; Angel of North San Diego County; and Dolores of San Diego. Tina had 14 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
She enjoyed the company of a large extended family. Paul Justin Valdez, Melba Valdez-Jones, Michael Branch, Michael Drown-C. de Baca, Rosa Ortiz-Hogan, Esteban Cabeza de Baca, and Jett Cabeza de Baca were her dear God children. Tina had countless friends and Enrique Iglesias Fan Club friends who spoke to regularly. She is greatly missed by her fellow “Golden Girls” including Frances Smith-Cabeza de Baca, Catalina Branch, Jerri Trambley, Diane Cabeza de Baca-Gonzalves, and a recent inductee, her daughter Dolores. Uncle Antonio Cabeza de Baca and grandson Jett Cabeza de Baca often joined the girls for their regular birthday lunches. Although concentrated primarily in the Southwest, Tina’s friends live all around the U.S., Mexico, Latin America, and Europe.
Following Tina’s wishes, Bishop Chavez will celebrate mass at 10:00AM on Monday, October 22, 2012 at Holy Family Church [Linda Vista parish]. Following the mass, a reception will be held at Chicano Park in Barrio Logan. It was also her wish to be cremated so Tina’s and Nila’s inurnment will occur in the Catholic cemetery of Anton Chico, NM at a later date to be determined. People may contribute time or money to Catholic Charities in her name or the Obama campaign [http://www.ofa.com].