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Trinidad "Trini" Cruz

July 22, 1950 - July 2, 2016
Racine, WI

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Visitations


Monday, July 11, 2016
9:30 AM to 11:00 AM CDT
St. Rita Catholic Church
4339 Douglas Avenue
Racine, WI 53402

Services


Monday, July 11, 2016
11:00 AM CDT
St. Rita Catholic Church
4339 Douglas Avenue
Racine, WI 53402

Life Story / Obituary


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All who knew Trinidad Cruz would agree that she was an incredible blessing to everyone she met. She was a genuine nurturer with a kind heart and a gentle touch that reached to all who were near. Trini was all about family throughout her life, and she was completely selfless when it came to them, even when life was not always easy for her. Her strength, courage, and fighting spirit were such an inspiration, and through her work as a teacher she inspired countless students to be their very best simply by the example she set. Never one to let life get the best of her, Trini faced whatever came her way with a smile. Deeply loved, she will never be forgotten.

It seems only fitting that Trini’s journey began during the vibrant decade of the 1950s when television, rock n’ roll music, and James Dean on the silver screen were all part of what comprised the cultural fabric of our nation during this exciting time. It was on July 22, 1950, that Salvador and Angeline (Caravello) Gonzalez were blessed with the birth of the baby girl they named Trinidad in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was one of six girls to be raised in the family home at 40th and Howard in nearby Greenfield, joined in the Gonzales clan by her sisters, Gloria, Dolores “Lola,” Jeanne, Patricia, and Gail. Trini’s father worked in auto body repair while her mother was a nurse.

Life in the Gonzales home was always a bustle of activity. Trini and her sisters could often be found outside as they had woods, a railroad track, and a creek, which were their playground. The Gonzales girls also had plenty of other neighborhood girls to play around with, and both Trini and Lola spent many hours ice-skating at Jackson Park. The family spent two weeks every summer at the little red cottage on Lake Beulah. They also had lively holiday celebrations with their extended family with plenty of food, family, and laughter. Trini was always busy as well, and she was very social and outgoing. She attended Blessed Sacrament where she made lots of friends and also did well in her studies. Trini and Lola loved traveling with their Grandma Caravello when they were teenagers, and the girls also loved going out on double dates together. Trinidad graduated from Greenfield High School in 1968, and from there she attended Racine Dominican College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she received degrees in journalism and mass communications.

It was while at Racine Dominican College that Trini met the young man who would change the course of her life forever. His name was Domingo Cruz, and they began dating. With a desire to establish a life together, Trini and Domingo were later married. As a young woman she worked as a copy editor with the Racine Journal Times but she later made the decision to focus on her most important job - raising her family. Together Trini and Domingo welcomed four children, Domingo, Angelina, Pablo, and Carlos, into their hearts and home. Over the years the Cruz family owned a number of pets that were like family members including a Siberian husky named Ivan and their cats, Bogie and Luna. Currently, they have a Turkish van cat, Roger. Trini had a special way of making even the ordinary days extraordinary. Christmas Eve was spent at Grandma and Grandpa Gonzalez’s with all the extended family members and way too much amazing Mexican food. Trini was a great cook as well, and she loved sharing her love through the fantastic things she made.

When it came to her family, Trini was the glue that held them all together. She was there to support and encourage her children, and she always believed in them more than they could ever believe in themselves. Trini was there to listen and gave the best advice, and even though she suffered with rheumatoid arthritis for years it was everyone else who was her priority. Despite being in pain, Trini never complained. It has been said that she was the best role model that her children could ever have hoped for. Trini was kind and gentle, and she never got angry or even raised her voice.

Once her four children were old enough, she got her teaching certification from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. She then started a new career with Racine Unified, educating many young minds for years at Janes Elementary and later at Julian Thomas and lastly at SC Johnson School. As a teacher she spoke frequently and fondly of her students, and it was easy to see that she simply loved working with children. Trini had a love for teaching and cared for all of her students in her classroom as well as in the school. She contributed to the total school efforts in many ways as she volunteered her time with fundraisers, after school activities, and engaged with new teaching methods, too.

Always busy, Trini was a woman of many interests. She was a longtime member of St. Rita Catholic Church, and she was a staunch Democrat who was also a proud member of her teachers union. Trini was an avid reader whose favorite authors included Patricia Cornwell, Carl Sagan, and Pablo Neruda. She enjoyed writing as well. As someone who loved cooking, Trini watched most every show on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel. She also loved Ellen, Oprah, General Hospital, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Wanda Sykes was her favorite comedian, and she loved music as well. As her family and friends can attest, Trini was a fierce competitor when it came to playing Scrabble. She loved traveling with her sisters, and together they and their spouses made a memorable trip to Mexico where they stayed at Moon Palace for a week.

Calm, gentle, and even called “Love” at times, Trinidad Cruz was the sort of woman everyone seemed to know. A longtime resident of the community, Trini made a significant impact in the lives of all who were near simply by the way she carried herself. She had an amazing sense of adventure and has even been called a rebel as she wasn’t afraid to do things on her own terms. Trini was passionate about the people she loved, and her family was her greatest source of pride and joy. Life will never be the same without Trini here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on.

Trinidad “Trini” Cruz passed away on Saturday, July 2, 2016, at Froedtert Lutheran Memorial Hospital. Trini’s family includes her children, Domingo (Sylvia) Cruz III, Angelina Cruz, Pablo Cruz, Carlos Cruz; grandchildren, Alessandro, Logan and Andres; sisters, Gloria (Ron) Weisflog, Lola (Harvey) Wagner, Jeanne (Marc) Micklas, Patricia (Al) White, Gail Chan; aunts, Trini (Don) Esqueda, Mary Figueroa and uncle Leo Barajas; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and dear friends. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Rita Catholic Church, 4339 Douglas Ave, on Monday, July 11, 2016, 11:00 a.m. Relatives and friends may meet with the family at the church on Monday from 9:30 a.m.until time of Mass at 11:00 a.m. Private interment will be held at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee.

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