Florencia “Flora” Medellín was reunited with the love of her life, Anastacio “Tacho” Medellín, in heaven on January 13, 2016, surrounded by her children, grandson, and son-in-law at Methodist Hospital West in Houston, TX. She was born November 5, 1930 to Jesus Serna and María Teran Serna in her beloved home town, Crystal City, Texas.
She grew up in Crystal City, traveling as a migrant worker, with her family, to the cherry orchards of Wisconsin, the tomato fields of Indiana, and the agri-fields of Texas and North Dakota. In the summer of 1949, her family pulled up their Texas roots and relocated to Decatur, IN, in search of a better life. While living in Indiana, she worked as a chicken plucker in a poultry processing plant, steam-press operator in a dry cleaning shop, and even considered training as a nurse in neighboring Illinois. Alas, her mother’s tears stopped her from pursuing her dream of becoming a healthcare worker.
In the Spring of 1959, while she was visiting relatives in Crystal City, she reconnected with her childhood friend and neighbor, Tacho Medellín. It was a whirlwind romance, with them spending entire days at the Popeye Baseball Tournament, at a carnival (where he won so many stuffed animals for her she had to give many of them away), and driving around Crystal City—with his sisters, Mary and Concepcion, acting as chaperones. As promised, he traveled to Indiana to ask for her hand in marriage and make plans for the wedding. They were married October 17, 1959 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Decatur, Indiana.
They returned to Crystal City where they raised their children, were active in the community, and were co-owners of Medellin’s Texaco for over 30 years. Aside from running their business and raising their kids, Flora and Tacho were avid sports enthusiasts, often willing to travel throughout south Texas to support the Crystal City Javalinas at football and baseball games—a hobby they traced back to their courtship.
After her husband’s untimely death in 1990, she lived with her children, Sylvia and Tacho Jr. in Austin, then moved to Fort Worth with Toni, Ben and Benny. During the twenty one years she lived with the Briseños, helping to raise her grandson, she lived in Philadelphia, Tulsa, Kingwood (Houston), Denton, and Cypress, where she made lifelong friends along the way.
Once she had the opportunity to travel, she took full advantage, visiting family in Decatur and Fort Wayne, Indiana several times and took a road trip through the Smokey Mountains.
During her time in Pennsylvania, she enjoyed hiking through the snow at Valley Forge Park, visiting all of Philly’s wonderful museums (the Ben Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Museum of Art were her favorites). Touring Pennsylvania Amish Country, visiting Hershey Park (where she ate all the chocolate bars she could get her hands on), and visiting Atlantic City, NJ were all items that she was able to scratch off her bucket list.
While residing in Oklahoma she enjoyed visiting several reservations, the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, attended PowWows, and picnicked at Lake Tenkiller. Taking a trip to Cheyenne Frontier Days and attending the Daddy of ’Em All Rodeo was one of her favorite western road trips.
On her many trips to New Mexico to visit her grandson at college, she visited Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and made a pilgrimage to El Santuario at Chimayo. In a life filled with highlights, watching Benny graduate from college, perform at the Greer Garson Theatre, and sing with the Santa Fe Opera were amongst her proudest moments.
When she could still travel, she also enjoyed visiting friends and family in Crystal City and San Antonio.
Flora was an active and committed Democrat, working through social media to “Flo the Vote.” She loved holding court at political events, attending Senate District and State conventions, and staying up late on election night to watch the returns. She and her family hosted political fundraisers for various candidates for public office (even some Republicans attended and donated just so they could have some of her famous tortillas). Casting her ballot by mail every election was a priority—even when she was being wheeled in to surgery or recovering from a serious illness. As she grew older and more frail, she would remind her kids to order her ballot by mail as soon as she could because she wanted to cast her ballot and have it counted in case she “didn’t make it” to Election Day. She was an active member of the Kingwood Area Democrats, Democratic Women of Denton County, Stonewall Democrats of Denton County, ROADwomen, and South Denton County Democratic Club (SoDeCo).
In 2012, she embarked on a new adventure in Assisted Living where she made many new friends, took up new hobbies like oil painting, jewelry making, and pokeno, and enjoyed her new found independence. Her final residence was at Solera at West Houston where she loved the crafting, gaming, sing-a-longs and therapy pet visits.
Left to mourn her passing and celebrate her life are her children, Anastacio Medellín Jr., Sylvia Medellín, Maria Antonia “Toni” Medellin; son-in-law Benjamín A. Briseño (all of Houston); her grandson, Benjamín Alejos “Benny” Briseño and her great-grand-cat, Beatrice of Los Angeles, CA; adopted daughters, Veronica Gamez and Charlene Valda Tanner; adopted granddaughters, Ariadna “Ari Hayek” Orozco and Andrea Ramos; brothers Jesus Serna, Louis Cerna, and Hector Serna (Karen) of Decatur, IN; sisters Maria de Jesus Serna Espinola, Guadalupe Serna Garza, and Herminia Montalvo (Jose) of Fort Wayne; brothers-in-law Manuel Medellin Jr (Beatriz) and Manuel Cerna (Regina); her aunt Virginia Teran of Crystal City; her best friend Elena “Nena” Puente of Crystal City; her comadre Maria Ana “Nena” Vera Guzman of Corpus Christi; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, godchildren, and fellow DWDC alum Judith Banks Ford and Jan Marie Goode. She also leaves behind friends from coast to coast, numerous Bingo Buddies, and Crafting Comadres at Solera and at Seven Acres Jewish Senior Care.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Jesus and Maria Serna; her beloved husband, Anastacio Reyes Medellin; adopted son, Mike Kelley; sisters Aurora “Lolly” Serna and María “Maruka” Serna Ortiz; brothers Rodolfo Garcia, Elias Casiano, Eriberto “Beto/Bob” Serna, and Jose Z. Serna; beloved sisters-in-law Consuelo “Connie” Serna, Tomasa “Tommy” Mendez Serna, Olivia Coronado Serna, Mary Medellin Juarez, and Concepcion Medellin Garcia; brothers-in-law Olegario Medellin and Joaquin Medellin; pets Poochie, Lobo, Precious, Chico, Sugar, Chato, Steven, Guero, Gertie, and Jackie.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that memorial donations be made to the following, or to your favorite progressive organization, in her honor:
Because Flora never could stand to see anyone hungry: The Houston Food Bank 535 Portwall Street Houston, Texas 77029 713-223-3700 HoustonFoodBank.org
Because Flora believed that everyone deserved to live the American Dream: FIEL Houston 6610 Harwin #214 Houston, TX 77036 fielhouston.org
Because Flora was convinced that they key to success for women was the ability to understand and control their reproductive system: Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Inc. Promotoras Program (community health workers) 4600 Gulf Freeway Houston, TX 77023 713.522.6363 ppgulfcoast.org
Because Flora wanted to see a Democratic President supported by a Democratic Congress: James Cargas for Congress Cargas for Congress 2450 Louisiana #400-777 Houston, TX 77065 713 581 0072 jamescargas.com