Genoveva Avelar Hernandez

Honored by Geena Clonan, her friend

Born in rural Mexico, one of three sisters and six brothers, brushed early on by the thorns of human greed when her father was killed while working a wealthy landowner’s stables, Genoveva received a third-grade education and then was put to long, hard days working the fields for the family’s food. Yet these fields were not the only fertile soil in her life: an inspirational mother, strong family solidarity and, beside the rustic family compound, a beautiful rose garden sprouting amidst an array of coffee tin planters that nurtured an extensive variety of tropical flowers from the many states of her querido Mexico.

She came to us by way of her sister Esperenza. It was as if an angel had stepped into our family lavishing gifts of kindness, integrity, humility, wisdom, faith, grace, and charm. She stayed for twenty years, through good times and bad, through homes and neighborhoods on different coasts and in different countries. All the while, taking advantage of long-awaited opportunities to learn to read and to write in her native tongue and in ours, to become an extraordinary chef, an exquisite gardener, a well-dressed woman of impeccable taste, a caring mother, and a best friend.

She dedicated her life to family, the one she was born into and the one she adopted. She witnessed children’s births and children’s deaths, shared holidays in joy and in grief. She nursed the sick, the injured, and the elderly back to health or soothed them in their final days. She stayed strong for us in our weakest moments and stayed strong through her life’s greatest tragedies and challenges.

She continues to do all this and more back on her family ranch, humming as she moves amongst the soil, thorn, and blossom of her carefully tended rose garden.