by her oldest Son, Miguel Vinaja:

Ana was born on July 26, 1926 in Bayard, Nebraska, a mostly agricultural community. Deciding to go back to Mexico, her parents Pablo and Carmen Guel took Ana and 3 of her brothers from Nebraska to San Luis Potosi, Mexico (the state where Ana’s father was born).

As the family grew, Ana assisted her mother in fulfilling all of the family needs. When she became old enough to work, she went to work in an ice cream parlor. It was at this ice cream parlor that she met Panfilo, her future husband. The parlor was owned by Panfilo’s uncle and Panfilo was known to like to hang around the parlor… to check out the help, I’m sure.

Having survived through her and her mother’s large family demands, Ana became what I always called a “strong cookie” character. She was both mentally and physically strong. She loved people and could be your best friend, but if you tangled with her family and her beliefs, you best consider a way to get out of her way.

After Ana’s marriage to Panfilo, her mother and father moved to Laredo, Mexico. The two oldest brothers (Juan and Luis) went to the U.S., eventually joining the military during the Korean War. Juan ended up in Chicago and Luis in California thus keeping the family connected to the U.S.

Panfilo became as successful jeweler eventually establishing his own jewelry shop. In San Luis, Panfilo’s and Ana’s family grew to 6 children (2 boys and 4 girls). Since Ana was a U.S. citizen, Panfilo had always dreamed of coming to the U.S. – the land of opportunities.

Luis, Ana’s brother living in California, facilitated the eventual move on September 16, 1955 to the U.S. (Luis was also instrumental in bringing his parents and his other siblings to California shortly after our move.) During this period of time, Ana was happy in San Luis and would have rather stayed in Mexico. But no, Panfilo had other thoughts and had to try his luck in the states. In California, Lucy, the 7th and Ana’s last child was born.

Panfilo soon found out that, in fact, money did not grow on the trees of the bay area. Since he had a very limited amount of capital, did not speak English, and his large family demands were many, the business never materialized. Available work was tough and demeaning for Panfilo. So he attempted to convince Ana that they should go back to Mexico. Although initially Ana wanted to stay in Mexico, she soon recognized the fact that a poor person in the U.S. was much better off than a middle class person living in Mexico. After many heated bouts, Ana convinced her husband that her and their children were better off in the U.S.

Ana was a strong believer that if you worked hard you would be rewarded at the end. She worked very hard to provide for her family and since Day One of her marriage, she was always there to help her husband, working side by side with her husband as traditionally required.

Ana was always a very happy person, as evidenced in all her pictures and videos today. She was always known to always greet you with a huge smile. She loved all types of Mexican music. To her last days, she moved to the sound of Cumbias. She was always fair in dealing with everyone, and was not known to ever take advantage of others. She had a strong belief in God with strong respect for other people’s beliefs. She not only talked the talk, but she also walked the walk.

She was a strong believer that success would come through education. She pushed all her children to work hard in school. With this strong belief, all of her children became High School graduates and her oldest son was one of the first college graduates in the family. She passed on this value to the rest of the family. Every year during the family reunion, education is still celebrated and recognized by the whole family.

She was the eldest sibling and is survived by her 8 brothers and 1 sister when she entered into rest to be reunited with her loving husband Fillio, son Juan Jose, brother Felix, and 2 sisters Rita and Juanita.

Ana is the matriarch of a large family that continues to grow, as evidenced by the continuing string of newborns attending the annual family reunion. She has been a loving mother to Miguel, Helen, Carmen, Ketta, Anita, and Luz. Her greatest joy in life was her FAMILIA and her 15 Grandchildren, 30 Great Grandchildren, and 5 Great Great Grandchildren, whom she loved so VERY much and left them the BEST memories.

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