Rodolfo Antonio Vasquez Mercado (Tony) March 14, 1921-February 7, 2015 and Maria Pilar Vasquez Ramirez, October 12, 1920- May 25, 2015.
As in life, Tony and Maria, would not be separated by death. Tony passed away from heart failure at the age of 93, in Olathe, Kansas, with his daughter and wife by his side. A little over 3 months later, Maria, 94 years old, suffered a heart attack. On May 25th, following a challenging 3 hours, his wife of 58 years, joined her beloved in eternal rest. She transitioned peacefully, surrounded by 3 of her children, son -in- law and 2 grandchildren. Maria had been in remarkably good health until Antonio’s death; she had had no previous heart health issues. The couple promised each other that the one would follow the other to heaven’s gate in short order, and they did.
Tony was born in Mexico City, the son of Antonio Vasquez and Angela Mercado. He is predeceased by four siblings. Tony came to the U.S. as part of the the railroad bracero program which supplied U.S. railroads with workers for railroad track maintenance to address labor shortages during World War II. He remained a train model enthusiast and collector throughout his life. At the end of the program, Tony settled in Chicago, a city he loved and called home for nearly 60 years. He was passionate about and earned the title of “maestro”—teacher, by his colleagues for expertise as a crane operator for Ryerson Steel where he worked for 30+ years until retiring at the age of 65. Tony is remembered as a fearless man of determination and will with an indelible work ethic. He once had a cataract removed and had to be sent home when he showed up ready to operate his crane with a patch on his eye. He held up to 3 jobs at a time to provide for his family. He lived the American Dream! Tony worked hard and played hard. He loved big band and jazz and was a star dancer. He liked cars and motorcycles and the word “idle” was not in his vocabulary. He loved creatures of all sorts and would often bring a variety of animal’s home (to Maria’s dismay), including, at one point, a small monkey. He was a loving father, husband, grandfather, mentor and loyal friend to many.
Maria was the second of ten children born to Antonio Ramirez and Josefa Ruvalcaba in Yahualica, Jalisco. She is survived by 4 sisters. Maria was a social worker in Mexico. She had a heart for the marginalized, and would lovingly care for other children. She is remembered for her sense of humor, her wisdom and sage advice, her love of gardening, and adoration of birds. She embraced the challenges of puzzles and would win nearly every family card game. At 93, she began using a tablet and posting on facebook! She was a loving mother, loyal wife, and raised a family that made her proud. Her last days were marked by her bravery and strength; she did not waver in her faith.
Tony met Maria in Guadalajara, Jalisco; they wed on July 21, 1956. Four children were born into their marriage, Guadalupe Vasquez Jimenez (Eduardo), Rodolfo Antonio Vasquez (Lynn), Socorro Williamson (Jeff), and Patricia Vasquez. The couple had 8 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Antonio had two sons, the late Angelo Vasquez (1999), and Antonio Vasquez.
This world was made a better place because of these two incredible people whose legacy of love, laughter, work ethic, and passion for helping others in need, will live on for generations. They were model parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors, brother and sister. They will be missed. A memorial service will be held in Chicago. The couple will be interred at Resurrection Cemetery in 7201 Archer Rd, Justice, IL 60458.