Thursday, July 18, 2024

Dolores Irene Martinez

| January 13, 2022 1:00 AM

March 29, 1939 – January 6, 2022

Dolores Irene Martinez, 82, of Warden, died in her sleep on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, following a short bout with cancer.

Dolores Hernandez was born March 29, 1939, in Santa Monica, California. She was one of six children born to Lauro and Ascencion Hernandez, who moved to the greater Los Angeles area from Chihuahua, Mexico. Dolores graduated from St. Monica Catholic High School; she took classes at a local beauty college, learning skills that she would put to use later when she would cut her own children’s hair.

Dolores adored her older brothers Henry, Cruz,and Angel, as well as younger siblings Eddie and Angie. In later years, when mild dementia robbed her of recent memories, she could easily recount stories of her childhood growing up in Santa Monica with her brothers and the spirited Castro sisters who lived on the same street. Her memories were vivid and vibrant, with extended family – aunts, uncles and countless cousins – always part of her easily accessible memory bank.

When Dolores was a teenager, her father’s lung issues resulted in the family moving to the dry, desert air of the Coachella Valley on the advice of doctors. It was there that Dolores met Herculano Martinez, while both were at the National Date Festival in Indio, California in 1960. Family legend has it that Herculano initially thought she was Hawaiian and Dolores thought he was from the Middle East. Regardless of their presumed origins, they were both smitten.

The couple married shortly after and moved to Washington, where Herculano, along with his brothers and extended family, found plentiful work as a farmworker. They soon began their own family, raising six children – three boys and three girls – in Warden. Dolores and Herculano were married for 57 years until his death in 2017.

Dolores was a stay-at-home mom for roughly a dozen years, taking her little chicks with her wherever she went. Her children recall many memories of Mom loading us all up in the family station wagon and driving us wherever she went, including our annual trips to Southern California to visit her mom and extended family. There were also the school clothes-shopping trips to Spokane and the Tri-Cities. One thing we all agree on is that the woman could stretch a dime.

In 1974, Dolores got a job working for the Warden School District, a career that spanned 33 years. Her job was migrant records clerk, but her unofficial capacity was as social worker to Warden’s poorest families. She was their champion, providing answers that went beyond her role for the school district. She was good at it, and she loved it.

In her last years, retirement and serious health issues robbed Dolores of her mobility and her social inclinations. She withdrew but maintained fond memories of her family and good friends, including Marge Schoessler, Lupe Resendez, Ed and Rita Gordon and Pat and Maureen McPartland.

Dolores was preceded in death by her husband, parents and four brothers. She is survived by her six children Benjamin (Norma), Jose (Gloria), Marina, Martha (DeAngelo), Deanna and Marco (Noemi); grandchildren Benjamin Jr. (Camille), Rebecca (Darold), Roman, Neil (Tabitha), Andrea, Raquel and Gabriela; great-grandchildren Seth, Theo, Chase, Odin and Della; and her sister, Angie Zamora. Dolores’ children and grandchildren would like to express their deepest gratitude to Marina Martinez, our sister and our aunt, for taking good care of Dolores in her last years.

Viewing will take place from noon to 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 14, at Kayser’s Chapel, 831 S. Pioneer Way in Moses Lake. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, at Queen of All Saints Church in Warden, followed by burial at Sunset Memorial Gardens cemetery just south of Warden. A reception will follow at the church.