Antonia Castro

May  17th, 1932 April  30th, 2024
Titusville, Florida
Antonia Castro

Antonia was known to most as Tonie or Howdy, she was an amazing person who made an impact on so many of us. Her funny humor and optimistic view of life will surely be missed, however we can honor her legacy by being good to one another.

Obituary

Antonia Castro passed away peacefully while surrounded by loved ones on April 30, 2024. Born on May 17, 1932, Antonia lived a full and remarkable life, characterized by her unwavering honesty, loyalty, sense of humor, and boundless optimism. She was a beacon of bravery, love, and care, touching the hearts of many whom she encountered.
          Antonia's Life was marked by her selflessness and dedication to others. Though she did not have biological children, she raised and nurtured many, who in turn adored her as an aunt (Titi), mother and grandmother. Her love for family was profound and unwavering, and she consistently demonstrated strength and resilience that she encouraged in those around her.
          A hardworking individual, Antonia's spirit of helpfulness and her role as a caregiver were prominent aspects of her character. She was a true friend, always ready to offer a kind word, helping hand, and a shoulder to lean on. Her infectious laughter and sunny disposition brightened the lives who had the privilege of knowing her. Antonia had a deep faith in God, she respected and accepted all religious faiths. She was a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
          The Celebration of Life for Antonia will be held at 909 Lane Ave. Titusville, Fl on July 20, 2024 at 5:00PM. Family, friends, and all those whose lives she touched are welcome to come and pay their respects. It can be viewed online at  https://meet.goto.com/AntoniaCastroMemories
          Antonia's legacy is one of strength, love and unwavering support. Though she is no longer with us, the lessons she taught and the love she shared will continue to inspire and guide us. She will be deeply missed but forever remembered by all who knew her.

Timeline

1932
May 17th
Birth
Antonia was born Maria Antonia Castro in Caguas, Puerto Rico to her parents Gumersindo Castro Ortiz and Carmen Maria Alejandro Morales. Her immediate family was large, she was the seventh out of ten children born to her parents.
Historically, there was one of the worst hurricanes to hit PR in September 1932 that killed 272 people as it moved from the east to the west side of the island. Around $35 million in damages to a place already in need, took a toll on the economy. A combination of weather and political storms made it even more difficult for individuals on the island to find work and support themselves. Many families would group together to pool resources and others planned a way to migrate to a place where they would have better opportunities.
Caguas, Puerto Rico
1936
Puerto Rico...
When Tonie was about 4 years old her mother passed away. Because her father worked, other family members stepped up to help care for Tonie and her siblings. When Tonie was able to attend, she would go to the local public school. She completed the third grade in 1943 at the age of eleven. She often shared fond memories of playing in the cobblestone streets of San Juan when she lived with her aunt Juana and cousins Nery and Cuchi. They would run errands to earn spending money to buy "limbers de coco"  (coconut icee) or "pirraguas" (snow cones). 
1943
Always Playing
Antonia and her cousins often got in trouble for playing marbles in the street and "gallitos" (chicken) with the neighborhood boys and their punishment was to remain indoors sewing by hand mending and doing laundry that had to be starched and ironed with hot coal irons. She often climbed out the window down a tree that was leaning against the house. She loved to skate and ride bicycles, although she owned neither, she always found a way to borrow one without being caught. 
1946
New York...
On September 9, 1946 she boarded a plane in Mayaguez P.R. with her aunt Cruz Alejandro and cousin Providencia Alejandro, destined for Miami, Florida on Intercontinental Air Transport. It is unknown why on the passenger roster she was listed as being eleven years old when she actually fourteen. Antonia thought it was because she looked more like a child than a teenager and perhaps paid a lesser airfare. From Miami they traveled by bus to New York to join other cousins Ernesto and Modesta Rosado who had an apartment there. On June 30, 1949 she completed Jr. High from New York City Public School, and on November 16, 1950 received a certificate as a Junior Missionary Volunteer in Reading from the General Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist, proving how much progress she made in a short amount of time and how she was thriving as an individual.
1949
City Life
She enjoyed trips to Coney Island and going every year to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. She rode the subways and walked through Central Park without fear and ate roasted chestnuts from the street vendors in the winter months. In the summer the family and neighbors would sit on their fire escapes and have "jiritas" picnics, sharing finger foods and playing music, watching the kids downstairs splashing in the water from the open fire hydrants.  
1953
"Keep Both Hands On The Wheel"
Antonia continued to live with her aunt Cruz and cousins Providencia and Maria, however now they had their own apartment in the same building as Modesta and Ernesto, always remaining close to family. Cruz's son Juan Ramon and his family also lived in the building. Tonie began to work as a seamstress having obtained the job at the same company Modesta was working at. Completing high school would have to wait while she helped the family household earning her keep.
Antonia became the first woman in her family to obtain a driver's license so she she would be able to assist Ernesto driving the family cross country from New York to California. She inspired the next generation of women in the family to learn to drive, Connie and Lydia were the next and it kept going! 
1956
California...
1956 Antonia joined Ernesto, Modesta, their daughter Carmen Julia who was about 8 years old, Cruz and five year old Lydia in the move to California from New York. Ernesto had purchased a duplex in Los Angeles for the family to share, and they waited for the rest of the family to join them. One of Tonie's first jobs in L.A. was as a seamstress sewing curtains, drapes, and bedspreads. While she worked, she also attended night school for adults at Washington High School in Los Angeles and in 1962 she was very proud to receive her diploma.
1960
Love For Cars
She purchased her first car, a red and white 1953 Chevrolet Belair convertible and soon learned from Ernesto how to change the oil, spark plugs and do a tune up. With his assistance she would rotate the tires and even change the brakes. This knowledge was invaluable whenever on the road she experienced mechanical problems she could handle herself. There was not a place she did not dare to drive, as long as she had a map, air in the tires, and gas, a road trip was to be had. 
1962
The Driver
She drove the family to the annual Cedar Falls four day Camp Meeting in Big Bear Mountains. One year a severe thunderstorm forced many men to pull over in rest areas waiting the storm out, but Antonia continued on the treacherous trip with head out the window to see the way as she steered the car through curves and winding mountain roads. Upon arrival she was surprised to be the first family there. Much later as other families arrived, there was much said about her valor, no one though a woman capable of such a fete. 
1963
Los Angeles Fun
Among her favorite activites were watching the roller derby live at the Olympic Auditorium and cheering for the Los Angles Thunderbirds. She collected LP's of her favorite artists such as Perry Como, Andy Williams, Herb Albert, and the Tijuana Brass. She liked to watch movies, her favorite actors were John Derek and James Dean. Getting Taquitos with refried beans at La Placita Olvera Street (El Rancho Grande kiosk) was one of her favorite places to eat. 
1978
The Curious Worker
Tonie loved to learn new things and often times her job would reflect that. She worked at Pacific Piston Rings assembling pistons and filling orders for distribution. She left Pacific Piston Rings in 1978 and held other jobs related to the auto industry such as inspecting seatbelts and assembling parts for airbags. She also worked at LAX airport inspecting travelers' carry-on-luggage. 
1996
Retirement
Antonia retired in 1996 and during that time she worked part time at a local high school serving lunch to the students. She also joined the senior community center and enjoyed many activities and outings the sponsored.
1997
Orlando, Florida
All her Life, Antonia had two dreams. To own a home and to someday reunite with all her siblings. When her niece Lydia moved to Florida she asked her to look for a house she could purchase along with her closest cousin Providencia Alejandro. Her dream of home ownership was realized when she got a call about a house on Titus court. At the end of August 1998 she traveled by plane to Orlando to see for the first time in person the house she would call her forever home. At long last one of her dreams had come true. 

1998
Love For Children
Her home became a gathering place for loved ones that visited her from Puerto Rico as well as California. She often visited Disney's Epcot with her niece Lydia for food and wine festivals as well as garden shows throughout the year. Her niece Connie would visit with her family and Tonie would join them at Disney World and other places around Orlando. When her niece Jennifer gave birth to a baby girl, Emilia in 2001, Tonie took care of her so Jennifer could continue working. Later, Tonie would be there for her niece Sharismar over the birth and lives of her 5 children. It was her tradition, as she helped raise her other nieces Lydia, Evelyn, and Carmen decades before. She never had children of her own, however she helped raise many. She was happiest sharing joy with others!
2020
Titusville, Florida
In 2020, Tonie's doctor told us the family would need to make sure she was not left alone because her brain was not listening to her body's need to slow down. She would often times do yard work or other strenuous activities and end up falling and not telling anyone. When Tonie's knee became to painful to walk on, we honored her request to permanently live with her Niece Sharismar Rodriguez Knuckles, her husband Michael Knuckles, and their 5 children Michael, Sophia, Gabriel, Isaiah, and Elijah. Watching the children enjoy life, gave her reason to push on as long as she could. 
2024
Passed Away Peacefully
Less than 3 weeks away from her 92nd birthday, Tonie passed away while in deep sleep, surrounded by loved ones. 
Titusville, Florida

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What was Antonia's favorite Travel destination?
Tonie loved to go to Las Vegas, Nevada and the Hard Rock Casino in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to play the slot machines. She also enjoyed the years she traveled to Puerto Rico during Christmas season to visit with her nieces and nephews. 
What was Antonia's favorite Drink?
Tonie enjoyed both Coca Cola and Pepsi, they were in constant battle to be her favorite. She noticed the changes in their taste over the decades and would swap back and forth. In her older years she switched to the diet versions, but for special occasions the originals were her sweet treat. 
What was Antonia's favorite Game to play?
Tonie loved to play Lotto, especially the Monopoly Scratchers. Just in case, she would play her lucky numbers in Power Ball too. She always hoped to win a big jackpot so that she could buy all her loved ones special gifts that she knew would enhance their life. 
What was Antonia's favorite Food or Dish?
Antonia loved all kinds of food, but intensely getting the chicken marrow from inside chicken bones is something many of us have seen her do. She was an excellent cook, and became known for making the best Flan dessert and Enchiladas. 
What was Antonia's favorite Color?
If you guessed Red, then you know why we chose Red as a main color! If you guessed Green, its a close second. She painted her home in her favorite greens and had the mailbox painted to match!
What was Antonia's favorite Music / Song?
Tonie always had a favorite AM/FM radio cassette player with her, she listened to talk radio and music. A few of her favorite artists are Julio Iglesias, Camilo Sesto, and Jose Jose.

Service


Please join us to pay a last tribute.
We will come together to remember and pay tribute to a wonderful person. While we mourn the loss of our dear Antonia, we also want to cherish the moments shared and the joy she brought into our lives. Your presence would mean a great deal to us during this time of remembrance and reflection.
Location
North Brevard Senior Center
909 Lane Ave, Titusville, FL 32780
Date/time
July 20th, 2024 5:00PM-8:30PM
Service to begin 5:30PM
Followed By Dinner
Virtual event
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Together, let us continue the legacy of compassion and kindness that Antonia embodied throughout their life.

United Breast Cancer Foundation's mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of those affected by breast cancer. Together, we are making a real difference.
Please visit the United Breast Cancer Foundation https://www.ubcf.org to donate!

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