Obituary for Jimari

As a former participant of our Youth Employment program, Jimari was the example of a youth who strived to do what was right and make something of himself. It was his personality and willingness to participate that brought him into the work of The Puerto Rican Cultural Center. Having been a part of the UrbanTheater Company and its performances last summer, Jimari brought so much positivity in a time when most of us were dealing with the ills of the pandemic by simple improv street performances on Paseo Boricua. Having been one of the only African American youth participating in the company he never shied away from being himself and gave his audience something beautiful about who he was to a community outside of his own. Having been a longtime resident of Bronzeville, where he lived, worked, and had friends and family, he was unfortunately a victim of violence as he was on his way to work from home. His life was cut short one month before walking the stage for his high school graduation. An honor roll student and active youth with big dreams was tragically taken from us like so many youth here in Chicago. Although his life was short lived his effect on those around him will forever be an imprint of his positivity and resilience.

Obituary for Matlide Montañez

On June 1, 2021 my mom, Matilde Montañez Flores (a.k.a. Doña Mato), passed away.  For over the last 5 years she had been dealing with Dementia, and on May 24, 2021, she suffered a severe stroke.  She passed away peacefully and comfortably at her home surrounded by immediate family and friends – who deeply CARED & LOVED for the matriarch of our family.

“Doña Mato”, along with her late husband (“Charlie”), leaves behind a wonderful family legacy in Chicago’s Puerto Rican community, by not only raising her own family, but also opening our home as a “safe haven” for many foster children.  She was born and raised in the San Lorenzo – Patillas area in Puerto Rico, and arrived in Chicago in the mid-1950s with her husband, and three (3) of their five children.

She did not receive a formal education, but this lady was one of the strongest, courageous, smartest people I have ever met, who dedicated her life protecting, loving, and raising her family.  Being raised in poverty in Puerto Rico, she was always open to helping others in need, and that was the one lesson that she taught her family – always treat others with respect, and never turn your back on them.  That lesson was well learned, adopted, and applied by her children/grandchildren. She was also a very feisty person who would not allow anyone to disrespect her or her family.

I am so proud of my sisters (Mirna, Carmen, Rosa, my late sister Elizabeth, and my brother Rafael), for ensuring that Doña Mato was cared for and LOVED until her last breath in her own home surroundings.  A promise made and kept to my late father.

Doña Mato, I am so proud and grateful that you had the opportunity to visualize and experience the success you and your husband had in raising a successful family that included sons/daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, foster children, as well as acquaintances and strangers. 

You can finally rest, and I am so glad you experienced the LOVE your family had for you.  I am also glad that the entire family was able to spend their last Sunday with you, just this past weekend.  So sorry if we were a little too loud, but that is the way our family rolls – just the way you taught us! JOB WELL DONE, Y SE ME CUIDA!!!!

Carlos Flores

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