Mother, Grandmother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Neighbor and Friend.
Maria Esparza returned to God’s arms on May 16, 2017. Maria was a devout Catholic and loved life and her family. She was born in Clifton, Arizona and lived most of her life in the mining town, leaving to the next largest mining town, Morenci (a big four miles away) when she married Zacarias Esparza in 1957. She was the oldest sister in a family of seven children and helped raise her younger siblings. The youngest, Clara, said that she would go to her older sister whenever she really needed something. Their mother was willing, but the economics of the family sometimes left her unable to grant everybody what they wanted. Somehow Maria provided, usually out of her own earnings.
After nineteen years of employment at Phelps Dodge Mercantile Store, Maria quit work when she found out she was going to have a baby. She was devoted to her family, her husband and son, as well as her siblings. She never missed Sunday mass and taught Religious Education in Morenci at Holy Cross Church. When the mine expanded to the area in which she lived, she and her family moved back to Clifton to help take care of her mother. She survived the Clifton floods of 1972 and 1983 in which her house was flooded, and worked to repair it to a livable condition in each year. She moved to Tucson in 1995 to be close to her son and family. She loved her grandchildren and served them tostadas and other goodies after school when they were dropped off by the bus at her house. Once she attended “Grandparents Day” at her granddaughter’s pre-school and read the children a book. When she was about to leave, Sofia didn’t want her to, so she stayed the whole day just to keep Sofi happy. She also made the best enchiladas in the world (with Cinnamon and Cloves!).
Maria had a loving heart and was friendly to everybody she knew and met. Parishioners at Most Holy Trinity Church in Tucson always greeted her and she had a kind word for all. She knew all of her neighbors and they continued to ask about her after she moved to the Rose of Sharon Family Home in Tucson.
Maria is survived by her son Marcos (Elizabeth), grandchildren, Marcos Jr., Sofia and Nicolas, and her sister Clara (Tony) Lara.
Maria was preceded in death by her husband Zacarias, parents, Maria and Geronimo, and her siblings, Mauro, Al, Frank, Jose and Carmen.
Visitation will be at Most Holy Trinity Parish in Tucson, Arizona on Friday, May 26th at 9:30 a.m. with Mass to follow at 10:30 a.m. Burial will be at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Morenci, Arizona on Saturday May 27th at 11:00 a.m.
Arrangements are under the direction of McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel & Gila Valley Crematory. Online condolences may be extended at www.caldwellfuneralchapel.com.