Maria Martinez Gaona, 93, passed away on February 18, 2021 in her home in Salem, Oregon, surrounded by family.
Maria was born on April 16, 1927 in Weslaco, Texas. She was the daughter of Guadalupe Rodriguez and Guadalupe Martinez from Mexico. As a child, Maria attended a boarding school because her dad was a soldier and was always being moved from place to place.
She married Felix Gaona Sr. in 1949. Maria was known by many people as “Grandma”. She had many hobbies throughout her life which included cooking for her family, going bowling, playing volleyball and watching basketball and wrestling on TV. She faithfully served at her church in many areas including directing the music, singing solos, bringing fresh flowers for the auditorium or cooking her famous enchiladas for church potlucks. She played Skee-Ball every year at the State Fair to win as many stuffed animals as she could which she then donated to the kids at her church at Christmas.
Her family will always remember her sitting in her favorite chair, knitting blankets for her loved ones while watching The Price Is Right.
Maria was preceded in death by her parents who passed away in 1958, her husband Felix Gaona Sr. in 2011 and her son Baleriano Gaona Sr. in 2020.
Maria is survived by her 8 children. Rev. John Gaona TX, Teresa Fuentes WA, Felix Gaona Jr., Andrea Gaona, Guadalupe Gaona, Marta Bedell, Marcus Gaona, and Mary Lou Urbano all from Salem. She also has 26 grandchildren, 39 great grandchildren, 6 great great grandchildren, in-laws and more babies on the way. Maria’s family includes over 100 people!
Guest Book Entries
I love you Great grandma we miss you so much.
Love you grandma! You brought so much light and love to everyone you met. I hope you are basking in as much love and light as you sent out to the world. Give grandpa, dad, and Luz a hug from us.