Edinburg—Maria Rita Garza Leal, 83, entered eternal rest on Friday, June 16, 2023 Rita, as she was affectionately called, was born in La Puerta Ranch east of Rio Grande City in Starr County, Texas on September 14, 1939, to Ventura and Braulia Garza and was raised in La Puerta. Mom was named after her grandmother. As a child, she worked with her family as a migrant farmworker throughout the state of Texas. Mom was an excellent student and graduated from Rio Grande City High School in 1959 at a time when very few migrant Hispanic women completed high school. Mom was very proud of this accomplishment and instilled in us the value of an education. Her strongest goal was for all her children to have a college education. She accomplished that goal, and we thank her for the sacrifices she made for us. Our mom met our dad, Raul Leal, at her sister’s wedding reception when she was 24. They fell in love and got married on January 12, 1964, in Rio Grande City. The family lived primarily in Weslaco and then later in Edinburg. Mom was a homemaker and the center of our family. She enjoyed cooking, baking, sewing, crocheting, embroidery, and most of all she enjoyed reading. Reading for mom was her passion. Mom was a devout Catholic who prayed the rosary every day, attended Mass every Sunday, and went to confession often.
Rita is survived by her four children Raquel L. Martinez (Javier), Eduardo “Eddie” Leal (Diana), Maria Rita “Mary” Nevares (Ruben), and Raul, Jr. “Jay” Leal (Kristina); seven grandchildren, Calista Nevares, Michael Nevares, Alainna Nevares, Caroline Leal, Christine Leal, Catherine Leal, and Luke Leal; her siblings, Olga Garcia, Roberto Garza, and Isai Garza. Mrs. Leal was preceded in death are her husband, Raul M. Leal, her parents, Ventura and Braulia Garza, her siblings, Silvestra “Beta” Sendejo, Margarito Garza, Esteban Garza, and Jo Elda Garza.
Visitation is scheduled for Monday, June 19, 2023, from 5:00 PM to 9:00 pm with a 7 p.m. rosary at Legacy Chapels 4610 South Jackson Road in Edinburg. A private Mass and burial of her cremated remains will be held at a later date. The family is grateful for the loving care of Barcelona Assisted Living in McAllen.
Funeral services are under the direction of Legacy Chapels in Edinburg.