Ofelia Sira Hernández Expósito

OfeliaHernandez-1 Ofelia Sira Hernández Expósito was born in Vueltas, Las Villas Province, Cuba, on November 20, 1919. She was the youngest of 4 sisters and 4 brothers – hence her nickname “Nena” (baby girl). She grew up in a rural tobacco-growing area in Cuba. When Ofelia’s father died, during the Great Depression, her widowed mother made extra money to help her family by selling home-made soap to her neighbors. Growing up at school, she loved to perform and sing in school events.

Ofelia met and married Leoncio Pérez Flores in her hometown. She gave birth to her firstborn son, Jose Miguel, in 1944, in Las Villas Province. Later on, the family moved to Havana. Around the 1950’s, Leoncio became the President of the Tobacco Producers’ Association. In 1954, while living in Havana, Ofelia gave birth to her daughter, Ofelita. Her and Leoncio loved to travel back to their hometown San Antonio de la Vueltas for the town festivals.

Jose Miguel moved to Venezuela in 1961. In 1968, Ofelia and her daughter went to live with Jose Miguel and his family in Valencia and Caracas, Venezuela. It was difficult to emigrate from Cuba and Leoncio could only join the family in Venezuela in 1975 – 7 years after enduring time apart as a family. In 1982, Ofelia and Leoncio moved to the US, Virginia, to live with Ofelita and her family. In 1985, Leoncio, Ofelia’s husband, passed away at the age of eighty. Ofelia continued living with her daughter and, in 2016, Jose Miguel, who had been living in Puerto Rico, joined his mother and sister in Virginia.

Ofelia is the much loved grandmother of 4, and great-grandmother to 6. Through the years, she has enjoyed taking care of her grandchildren. She was an amazing seamstress and also loved to embroider, crochet, and cook for family and friends. She earned the loving nicknames of “Gordi” from her grandkids and “Bis” from 2 of her great-granddaughters. Ofelia made the wedding dresses for her daughter Ofelita (in 1972), and for her granddaughter, Alba (in 1999).

Lynn Camero de Lomer, Jose Miguel’s ex-wife recently wrote the following to her family after her passing, which epitomizes the blessing that she was to all she touched: “I admire her for her level-headedness in life, unconditional love for her family, for the clarity with which she faced vicissitudes without losing her good humor, for her interest in keeping up with everything around her … She was wise, with marvelous working hands, ready to serve everyone and without the slightest complaint. God rewarded her with allowing her to have her family next to her, to see her granddaughters grow up, to be able to live to see six great-grandchildren, and to live many good times in life, in full lucidity. For you – her children and grandchildren – what a relief it must have been to know that you were able to give her your love and company until the last moment – a priceless gift nowadays. I would like to be lucky to have such affection when it is time for me to leave.”

Ofelia passed away peacefully at home in Alexandria, VA on the morning of February 8th 2017 after being in homecare hospice where she was surrounded by her loved ones, amazing hospice and nursing staff who kept her comfortable during her final days on this earth. She is survived by her daughter, Ofelita, son, Jose Miguel, 4 grandchildren, Adriana Perez Smith, Jose Miguel Perez, Alba Cid & Carolina Cid, and 6 great grandchildren, Adriana Carolina Perez Salas, Miguel Perez Salas, Rocio Perez Salas, Ana Isabel Torres, Maya and Anya Tittel.

Friends may call at  Advent Funeral Services 7211 Lee Hwy, Falls Church, Va. on Wednesday, February  15,2017 from 6:00 pm till 8:00 pm. Mass of christian burial will be offered on Thursday, February 16, at 10:00 am at St Anthony’s Catholic Church. 3305 Glen Carlyn Road Falls Church,Va. Interment, Columbia Gardens Cemetery.

OfeliaHernandez-2 Ofelia Sira Hernández Expósito nació en Vueltas, provincia de Las Villas, Cuba, el 20 de noviembre de 1919. Fue la menor de 4 hermanas y 4 hermanos, de ahí su apodo de “Nena”. Ella creció en una zona rural de cultivo de tabaco en Cuba. Cuando el padre de Ofelia murió, durante la Gran Depresión, su madre viuda hizo dinero extra para ayudar a su familia vendiendo jabón casero a sus vecinos. Le encantaba cantar y actuar en los eventos escolares.
Ofelia conoció y se casó con Leoncio Pérez Flores en su ciudad natal. Ella dio a luz a su hijo primogénito, José Miguel, en 1944, en la provincia de Las Villas. Posteriormente, la familia se trasladó a La Habana. Alrededor de la década de 1950, Leoncio se convirtió en el Presidente de la Asociación de Productores de Tabaco. En 1954, mientras vivía en La Habana, Ofelia dio a luz a su hija, Ofelita. A ella y a Leoncio les encantaba viajar de regreso a su ciudad natal San Antonio de la Vueltas para los festivales del pueblo.
José Miguel se trasladó a Venezuela en 1961. En 1968, Ofelia y Ofelita fueron a vivir con José Miguel y su familia en Valencia y Caracas, Venezuela. Era difícil emigrar de Cuba y Leoncio sólo pudo reunirse con el resto de la familia en 1975 – siete años después de la separación. En 1982, Ofelia y Leoncio se trasladaron a los Estados Unidos, Virginia, para vivir con Ofelita y su familia. En 1985, Leoncio, esposo de Ofelia, falleció a la edad de ochenta años. Ofelia continuó viviendo con su hija y, en 2016, José Miguel, que había estado viviendo en Puerto Rico, se unió a su madre y hermana en Virginia.
Ofelia es la amorosa abuela de cuatro, y bisabuela de seis. A través de los años, ella ha disfrutado cuidando de sus nietos. Tenía una habilidad asombrosa como costurera; también amó bordar y tejer a crochet; cocinó para sus seres queridos. Ella ganó los amables apodos de “Gordi” de sus nietos y “Bis” de 2 de sus bisnietas. Ofelia hizo los vestidos de novia para su hija Ofelita (en 1972), y para su nieta, Alba (en 1999).
Después del fallecimiento de Ofelia, Lynn Camero de Lomer, la ex esposa de José Miguel, escribió unas palabras que resumen la bendición que fue Ofelia para todos aquellos que recibieron su luz: “La admiré por su temple en la vida, por su amor incondicional hacia su familia, por su claridad ante los avatares sin perder el buen humor, por su interés de mantenerse al día en todo lo que le rodeaba…fue sabia, con unas manos maravillosas prestas a servir a todos y sin la menor queja.  Dios la recompensó  en tener a su familia junto a ella, ver crecer a sus nietas, ver a sus bisnietos y vivir buenos  momentos en plena lucidez. Para ustedes – sus hijos y nietos – es un consuelo que pudieran darle amor y compañía hasta el último instante; es algo que no tiene precio hoy en día. Ya quisiera yo, tener esos afectos cuando me llegue el momento de partir.”
Ofelia falleció pacíficamente en su casa en Alexandria, VA, en la mañana del 8 de febrero de 2017, después de estar bajo cuidados paliativos en su casa, donde estuvo rodeada por sus seres queridos y las tiernas atenciones del personal de cuidados en el hogar y la enfermera de cuidados paliativos, quienes la mantuvieron cómoda durante sus últimos días en esta tierra. Los deudos de Ofelia son: su hija, Ofelita, su hijo, José Miguel; 4 nietos: Adriana Pérez Smith, José Miguel Pérez, Alba Cid y Carolina Cid; también 6 bisnietos: Adriana Carolina Pérez Salas, Miguel Pérez Salas, Rocío Pérez Salas, Ana Isabel Torres, MayaTittel y Anya Tittel.

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4 Responses to Ofelia Sira Hernández Expósito

  1. Eugenio Cid says:

    Ofelia amó entreñablemente a toda su familia: sus padres, hermanos, sus hijos, nietos y bisniet0s. Mis hijas, Alba y Carolina, tuvieron la dicha de convivir con ella desde su niñez y fueron bendecidas con el regalo de su amor incondicional. El recuerdo de todos los momentos compartidos con su abuela las acompañará siempre y será un poderoso aliciente para hacer el bien en su recorrido por la vida. Dios la bendiga.

  2. Susan Yohe says:

    To the family of our beloved Ofelia:
    We will always remember all the good times we had together–especially at the Annandale Center with our 2 Ophelia’s!!
    You are in our thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time of the loss of your mother.
    We were so fortunate to have her with us in the Annandale and Lincolnia Center. She will be missed.
    Thinking of you, Staff and Participants at Lincolnia Adult Day Care Center.

  3. Silvia González Koch says:

    Dear Ofelia and family,
    Through our professional collegiality I met your dear mother, Ofelia several times. Her positive disposition and vibrant personality were evident. Her love and care for you and all her family were without equal. I admired your mutual love, companionship, and support. I often marveled at doña Ofelia’s ability to endure life’s challenges and overcome them, even late in life; I thought she was blessed with special gifts that she passed on to her family – so much so, that at times I referred to her, respectfully, as doña Milagros. She has gifted her family with love, support, and care during her life. The gift of her immeasurable love, and of her great model to her family are her gifts forever. May you find peace and consolation in her legacy of love.
    With love,
    Silvia

  4. Silvia González Koch says:

    Dear Ofelia,

    Your dear mother, Ofelia, leaves a wonderful, loving memory as a model of love for her family.

    I had the privilege of meeting doña Ofelia, and appreciated her gracefulness, intelligence, and good humor.

    Please accept my sincere condolences and my prayers for your dear mother, you, and her family.

    Enjoy her wonderful legacy and her loving memory.

    With sincere sympathy,
    Silvia

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