Juanita (Janie) Guzman Rodriguez, March 27, 1945—July 11, 2016
Cherished wife, mother, and friend, Juanita (often called “Nita,” “Nena” and “Janie”) Rodriguez passed from this life into the arms of her Lord Jesus Christ on Monday, July 11, 2016. She was 71 years old.
Born in Bryan on March 27, 1945, Nita was the only child of Jose Guzman and Damiana Hernandez Guzman. Nita’s parents loved and protected her as a precious treasure and the apple of their eye, walking her to school at Bowie Elementary every day. On Sundays, the Guzman family attended church at Santa Teresa in Bryan, encircled by the warmth of their loving, Catholic congregation. As she grew, Nita enjoyed playing volleyball and baseball with other children in her neighborhood and later attended Stephen F. Austin High School. After graduation, Nita attended McKenzie–Baldwin Business College and received her associate’s degree.
In time, Nita met Paul Rodriguez at the Texaco service station he owned and operated in Bryan. After offering her S&H Green Stamps, Paul kept Nita coming back for more stamps—and for longer looks into his beautiful eyes—until she agreed to go out with him. They were married on October 3, 1971, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bryan. They are the parents of one son, John Paul Rodriguez, of Kyle, Texas.
As Paul and Nita reared their son together, Nita worked primarily for Texas A&M University—as an administrative assistant at the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX,) and also for her church (running bingo nights) in order to subsidize John Paul’s Catholic education at St. Joseph Catholic School. In the midst of her St. Joseph’s congregation, Nita found friends and a church family as she helped with funeral meals and joined the Guadalupanas.
With all of her cheerful friendliness, she also had a strong-willed disposition. (Once in Vegas, she resolved to only play penny slots and budgeted $20 each night sticking to her plan.) She enjoyed being with friends—often in her favorite color red—and traveling with family, among other places to Florida, Las Vegas, Colorado and once to the Grand Canyon, where she rode a horse all the way to the canyon floor (earning the nickname “Annie Oakley”). One of her favorite places to visit was San Diego, California, because she loved the great climate and the fabulous views of the ocean. Nita believed in living fully and eating well; her favorite foods included tamales, Mexican sweetbread, pecan pie, shrimp, Chinese food, and especially watermelon.
Nita was attentive, compassionate, friendly, and fun—the kind of friend who never forgot a birthday, the kind of mother who always put her son first, and the kind of wife who was always there to support her husband in every endeavor. Nita loved dancing, especially to cumbia music or ’50s and ’60s classic songs. She was always the loudest to cheer at her son’s musical performances, drawing smiles from everyone who loved her. She and Paul traveled out of town many times to watch him play, sitting in as the band “mom” to the group as they traveled for their performances. She often went on weekly lunch dates with her gang of “Movie Mavens,” always up for watching anything and everything the silver screen had to offer. She collected roosters, was a lover of all animals but was particularly attached to her cat Toby and later her Yorkie/Maltese mix, Sophie. She was the epitome of living live to the fullest, and her enthusiasm touched everyone who was blessed to have her in their life. She was over the moon when John Paul married his lovely bride, Nicole, and best of all, two weeks ago, she achieved her life’s ambition of becoming a grandmother to her first grandchild, Gabriel Paul Rodriguez.
Remembering Nita now are her beloved husband Paul and her son and daughter-in-law, John Paul and Nicole Rodriguez, as well as her grandson, Gabriel. Nita is also survived by members of her church families both at Santa Teresa and St. Joseph Catholic Churches in Bryan, as well as extended family and friends.
The life celebration of Juanita Rodriguez will begin initially with a Rosary service (followed by visitation hours) at 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 17, 2016, at Hillier Funeral Home in Bryan. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at St. Joseph Catholic Church on Monday, July 18th, at 10 a.m., with interment to be held at Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Bryan.