EDINBURG - Carlota was born in McAllen, Texas on January 5, 1918, to Jose Vela Cavazos and Maria Vela De La Vega, the youngest of five children. She was preceded in death by her parents and all of her beloved siblings: Ramon (Tommie, Aurora), Ernestina (Jorge Garza), Maria Christina (Gilbert De La Cruz), Lilia Vela, and a brother, Jose II who died at infancy.
After Carlota's father, Deputy Sheriff Jose Vela, was unexpectedly shot and killed in the line of duty, their widowed mother, Maria, moved her young family to Laguna Seca Ranch (15 miles north of Edinburg), the site where the first orange trees were planted in the Valley. The children attended elementary school at Laguna Seca. After several years, the family moved to Edinburg where they attended and graduated from Edinburg High School. After her high school graduation, Carlota went on to complete her B.A. in Education from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.
Carlota began her professional career at Sam Houston Elementary in Edinburg where she taught until she and her sister, Lilia, moved to San Antonio. She spent the remainder of her career teaching elementary school in San Antonio until she retired in 1978. In 1993, Carlota moved to Colorado Springs where she lived for 15 years with family, and later moved to Wilmette, IL until her passing 0n May 5, 2020.
Carlota loved living in San Antonio, a beautiful city filled with culture, fine dining, and performing arts. She and Lilia were excellent ambassadors for the city, and they made sure to introduce their many friends to all the latest sights and events that San Antonio had to offer. Besides showcasing their city, they enjoyed cooking delicious meals, hosting gatherings with other family members in the area.
The two aspects of Carlota's life for which there was no compromise were her dedication to and respect for her Catholic Faith and her strong love of family. Carlota, always elegant, had an inborn sense of propriety in dress, manners, and following traditions. She was generous, opening her heart, home, and, many times, her pocketbook to help others. She was a loyal fan of the Dallas Cowboys and San Antonio Spurs. She loved all holidays, but her favorite was Christmas; she decorated, baked assorted cookies especially her delicious pan de polvo, hosted holiday teas, and made her famous tamales for Christmas Eve. She was always ready for her next adventure, which included trips to Europe, South America, Mexico, Israel, Croatia, Canada, and most, if not all of the continental United States, as well as Alaska. At home, she could be found watching her novelas, doing needlepoint, or reading a good book.
Carlota was known by many names-Charlie, Calot, Mina, Tia, Atta-but by any name, and regardless of where she lived or traveled, Texas was always in her heart. Welcome home, dear Carlota!
Visitation will be held from 2 to 4 p.m., with a 3 p.m. rosary Sunday, May 31, 2020, at Memorial Funeral Home in Edinburg. Memorial service will take place at 11 a.m., Monday, June 1, 2020, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Edinburg. Interment of cremated remains will follow at Valley Memorial Gardens in Mission.
Funeral services are under the direction of Memorial Funeral Home in Edinburg.