Beloved by her family and the countless students whose lives she touched, Dr. Maria Eudelia Martinez Morales, Ph.D., passed on to eternal life on July 10, 2017. She is survived by her devoted husband of fifty years, Dr. Guadalupe Y. Morales of Robstown, Texas, her cherished children, David Steven Morales (Mary) of Austin, Texas, and Cynthia Ann Morales of Cedar Park, Texas, her six lovely granddaughters, Elizabeth Regina Villanueva of Cedar Park, Texas, and Sydney Elizabeth Morales, Teresa Benedicta Rae Morales, Clare Margaret Morales, Marjorie Rose Morales, and Bonnie Marie Bernadette Morales of Austin, Texas. She is also survived by her sister, Jane Rodriguez (Felipe) of San Antonio, Texas, and numerous nephews, nieces, grand-nephews, and grand-nieces. She was predeceased by her parents, Candelario Martinez and Brijida Villarreal, her brothers, Candelario Martinez, Jr., and Felix Martinez, and her sisters, Leonor Ramirez, Rebecca Silva, Susana Carrejo, Anita Cuellar, Beatrice Martinez, and Brijida (Micaela) Sanchez.
Born on August 9, 1930, Delia, as she was known to her family, had two great ambitions in her life—to have a family and to become a college professor. At a time when societal expectations and opportunities for Mexican-American women of modest means were severely limited, her dedication to her dreams led her to earning an Associate of Arts from Laredo Junior College, a Bachelor of Science from Texas Women’s College (now Texas Women’s University), a Master of Science from Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University-Kingsville), and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin. Sharing her talents, knowledge, and wisdom with her colleagues and students, she was first an elementary school teacher for thirteen years, and later a university professor at Texas A&M University-Kingsville in the Education Department, teaching there for more than 35 years. She was honored by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents with the title Professor Emeritus in 2010.
While a professor at TAMUK, Dr. Morales taught and mentored undergraduate and graduate students, always encouraging them to set higher and further goals and challenging them to not set limits on their dreams. She also helped them learn leadership skills through the Texas Association for Students in Bilingual Education (TASBE) which she founded in 1975—the first organization of students in bilingual education in the nation. She also authored and presented papers nationwide at education conferences and published extensively in academic journals. Her second academic love was history, in which she minored at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s level, and she authored and presented historical papers on South Texas history in academic journals and at historical conferences.
But she would have said that her greatest achievement was her children and husband. Her great love, support, and encouragement helped all three not only fulfill their own professional dreams, but, more importantly, inspired them to imitate her great kindness, charity, solid Catholic faith, and devotion to family. She made us want to be better people—to be more like her. She was devoted also to the Catholic Church, serving in numerous Catholic organizations on the parish, diocesan, and state level, was a member of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and served the poor, the sick, and the elderly in her community.
Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., on Thursday, July 13, 2017, at Seaside Funeral Home Chapel with a Rosary to be recited at 7:00 p.m. that same evening. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, July 14, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. at Corpus Christi Cathedral, with interment to follow at Seaside Memorial Park.
A scholarship for aspiring teachers has been established in her honor at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Those wishing to make memorial contributions may send a check made to Texas A&M University-Kingsville Foundation, at P. O, Box 2202, Kingsville, Texas, 78363, and note the Dr. Maria E. Morales Endowed Scholarship in the memo line of the check.