McAllen ~ Juan Manuel Saenz, was born in El Rancho El Refugio in Camargo, Tamaulipas, Mexico to Juan Saenz and Eduvijes Villarreal. He was the 10th of 11 children. He is preceded in death by his parents and all 10 of his siblings: Timoteo, Cruz Maria, Jose Maria, Otila (1), Anastacio, Otila (II), Maria Cristina, Florinda, Eustolia and Marina. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Avelina Medina Saenz and daughters: Irma Saenz Schmidt (John K. Schmidt) and Lorena Saenz Gonzalez (Vicente Gonzalez Jr.) and grandchildren: John Scott Schmidt, Brittney Lamar Schmidt and Karl Hans Schmidt. He is also survived by numerous nephews, nieces and a few cousins.
Juan lost his father at the young age of 11. As a widow, his mother moved her family to the nearby village of “El Azucar” which was located directly across the San Juan River from the family ranch. Juan attended elementary school in “El Azucar” and eventually in Camargo. Having ancestral roots in Starr County, Texas, the Saenz Villarreal family then decided to move to the U.S. Juan was still a teen when he and his family members settled in McAllen, Texas during the early 1940’s. Juan and some of his siblings migrated between McAllen, California and Utah to do warehouse and farm work.
Juan was introduced to his beloved wife, Avelina, by his sister, Cruz Maria in McAllen, Tx. They dated for 5 years before marrying on March 8, 1965. After their first child was born, the couple decided to discontinue migrant work. Juan then started maintenance work with First Baptist Church in McAllen. Juan often worked second and third jobs, while keeping his main job with the church from where he retired in 1995.
Juan was an exceptional son and brother. As the youngest of the boys and even before the subsequent passing of his brothers, he was very devoted to his mother and sisters. He was very giving and always at the center of the family, assisting in every which way he could. He took diligent and compassionate care of them till their passing.
Juan was an exemplary husband and father. He was an extremely responsible, hard-working and faithful husband. As a couple, Juan and Avelina instilled high morals and deep traditional family values in their daughters. Juan was loving, honest, kind and good-natured. He worked hard and earnestly to make certain his family never lacked food, shelter and clothing. Juan advocated for education and engrained this in his daughters, as he encouraged and was very supportive of them attaining a higher education. But, most importantly, Juan steered his family in the ways of God and always lead by example.
Juan loved his grandchildren dearly and was very proud of them. He joyfully attended their school and extra-curricular activities (concerts, plays, games, etc.) every time he could. Juan loved his nephews and nieces greatly and unknowingly was a role model to them. He welcomed his sons-in-law into the family with open arms and without reserve. He was also very well liked and loved by his in-law family, as well as extended family.
Above being a family man, Juan was first and foremost a Man of God. His life revolved around the word of the Lord. He became one of the first members of La Iglesia Sinai Aliansa y Misionera which was founded in 1972 in McAllen. Juan was a faithful servant of God and whole-heartedly believed in Jesus Christ. He took every opportunity he could to share the word of God with family, friends, neighbors and strangers. It was not uncommon to see him praying over someone. Juan inspired way more than a few to follow in God’s ways.
Although not having had the opportunity to continue school as a youngster or pursue higher education, Juan had a love of learning and was a self-taught scholar. He thoroughly enjoyed reading after a hard day’s work. He loved books about history, science (biology and anatomy/physiology) and geography. He studied the Bible daily, having read it fully at least 3-4 times in his lifetime. Juan learned some English through English night-school. He also enjoyed having hearty and informed conversations about the subjects he learned, as well as news and current events.
Juan loved music and singing, especially church hymns. He was a handyman and always offered a helping hand. He touched many lives in a memorable and positive way. His love of God, humble heart, compassion and gentle demeaner sewed much love, respect and admiration from all who got to know him. He was simply a good human being and steward of God.
Juan took his last breath on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 surrounded by family. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends; however, we take solace in knowing he is now at home with Our Lord walking the streets of gold and rejoicing with the angels.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and keeping with social distancing orders, all necessary restrictions will be observed in order to protect the health and safety of those in attendance. Wear face coverings while inside building. Continue to practice social distancing while inside the funeral home chapel. We continue to ask that those at risk or those not feeling well stay home and reach out to the family through our obituary page.
Due to the pandemic, we are limiting in-person visitation to family only. Your participation via Zoom is appreciated.
You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Nov 17, 2020 06:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Juan Manuel Saenz Memorial & Celebration of Life
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +13462487799,,82801585627# or +16699006833,,82801585627#
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
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Webinar ID: 828 0158 5627
International numbers available: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/keCY9laYqM
A limited gathering of family and friends will be Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at Rivera Funeral Home,1901 Pecan Blvd. from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm with a prayer service at 6:00 pm followed by the recital of the Holy Rosary at 7:00 pm. Funeral mass being officiated by Monsignor Juan Nicolau will be celebrated on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 10:00 am at Our Lady of Perpetual Catholic Church of McAllen. Interment will follow to Valley Memorial Gardens in Mission.
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