Dr. Anita Torres Smith of Uvalde passed away on August 19, 2021 at her residence at the age of 93. She was born on May 1, 1928 in Uvalde to Telesforo Torres and Praxedis Mata.
Anita lived most of her life in Uvalde. She started teaching in 1954 and was the third Mexican American teacher to teach in the public schools in Uvalde. She started teaching at West Garden School, when it was only one of two schools for Mexican children. Anita graduated from Uvalde High School in 1947 and received her Associate Degree from Southwest Texas Junior College in 1949. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1961 and a Master’s degree in 1975 in Counseling and Guidance from Sul Ross State University at Alpine. She received her Doctor of Education degree in 1981 in curriculum and instruction in bilingual education from Texas A&M University at Kingsville. Anita taught at Sul Ross University and Rio Grande College in Uvalde. In addition to teaching, she contributed many articles to local newspapers some of which have been published in the Journal of Big Bend Studies. She helped raise funds for the building of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Sacred Heart Catholic School and served as a delegate of the church to the Segundo Encuentro Nacional Hispano in Washington, D.C. Anita taught religious education classes at the church and served in the Pro-Encuento Committee for the Diocese of San Antonio. She was a charter member of the Christian Counselors of Texas in 1981 and league of United Latin American Citizen, Chapter 4515. She served as secretary for CCT from 1990 thru 1994 and LULAC for 5 consecutive terms. Anita was named Dies y Seis Parade Marshal in 1987. She also received appointments to the Uvalde County Historical Commission and to the City of Uvalde Tree Board in 1989. In 1991 she was named Who’s Who of American Women. Anita was involved with the Henry de Osso Family Project and was a Uvalde Consolidated Independent School Board member. She also served as coordinator of the Sacred Heart Church Senior’s Crafts and assisted with volunteer services at the Uvalde Nutrition Center. Anita was a loving woman who honored and revered education and carried on that legacy for her family and community
She is survived by her daughter, Fatima Cruz and husband, Joe of Batesville, Texas; sons, Federico Castro and wife, Jana of Brackettville, Texas and Celso Alejandro Castro of Waco, Texas; grandchildren, Deanna Denise Martinez, and Jennifer Rose Castro; great grandchildren, Ray Cruz and wife, Cassandra, Katie Alysse and husband, Gabriel Garcia, Joshua Charles Dunn; great-great grandchildren, Nora Jo Cruz, Margo Elizabeth Cruz and Quinn Elise Cruz and Liam Adam Garcia and numerous nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her parents; siblings, Carolina Torres, Zanona Reyes, Margarita Maron, Leocardo Torres, Telesforo Torres, Apolonia Rodriguez, Carmen Sanchez, Celso Mata Torres, Valeriano Torres; and grandson, Adam Cruz.
Visitation will begin on Thursday, August 26, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. followed by a rosary at 7:00 p.m. at Rushing-Estes-Knowles Mortuary. A funeral mass will be held on Friday, August 27, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Interment will follow at Uvalde Catholic Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Ray Cruz, Joshua Dunn, Martin Ybarra, Jessie Suarez, Henry Sanchez, Jr., and Albert Ybarra.