Raul Antonio Cárdenas took his last breath at 2:21 AM on Thursday, October 8, 2020 in his residence in Edinburg. It was a great day, filled with music, dancing, laughter, and love, culminating with an evening of peace and serenity. He was surrounded by his wife Irma, his children Yvette, Yvonne, Veronica, Raul Jr. and Laura.
Raul lived a full and joyful life. He was born in Edinburg, on a Tuesday, December 1, 1936 to Arturo Cárdenas and Aguedita Molina Cárdenas; when Aguedita died one month after Raul’s birth, his Tía Dorotea took on the role of Mother. Raul grew up en el ranchito, north of Edinburg. He experienced a rich childhood and forged deep relationships with primos, primas and extended family. Everybody loved him, and he loved everybody.
Raul was about God, family, community, and country. As a boy, he attended Sacred Heart Catholic School, and Edinburg High School, where he anchored both defensive and offensive lines on the 1953 Bobcat state semi-finalist football team. Raul was proud to be a Bobcat and celebrated with his teammates at their frequent reunions.
He enlisted in the United States Army in 1958, and was stationed in White Sands, New Mexico, during the height of the Cold War. Raul was as patriotic as he was adventurous. He used to tell the story that while stationed in New Mexico, he often hitchhiked from New Mexico to Edinburg with Joe Sauceda, his Army buddy from Elsa. They made these long weekend trips to the Valley, just so Raul could see Irma, and take her to the baile on Saturday night. That’s how in love Raul was with Irma.
After Raul married Irma in 1962, they began a family that brought great joy to Raul. When the children were young, they adored their doting father who was strong and larger than life. His daughter, Yvonne remembers “When he came home from work, we would climb all over him to reach into his shirt pockets for hidden candies. He was a giant!” Yvette, Raul’s oldest child, tells the story of how “During one vacation, Mom fell. And then Daddy swooped her up, cradled her in his arms and carried her inside, and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s my Daddy. He’s the strongest person in the world.’”
All of Raul’s children felt the depth of his love and care. His grandchildren equally adored him. Every grandchild discovered the magic of Christmas through their grandfather, who secretly showed up as Santa Claus every Christmas Eve. When Raul was 16 years old, his mother made a Santa suit for him to wear to distribute candy to neighborhood children. Raul donned this Santa suit and made the annual Christmas visits until 2018, enjoying a 65-year run as the most fun and jovial Santa any one had ever seen. As grandpa, he spoiled his grandchildren in the best ways.
In the early 1960’s Raul worked for Buster Lind Produce and Valley Transit Bus Company. In 1968 he began a 40-year career with the Coca-Cola Bottling Company. He was hard working, committed and loyal--values he bequeathed to his children.
Raul never missed his children’s dance recitals, concerts or football games. He never missed work, Sunday Mass, family birthday parties, weddings, or funerals. He visited the elderly and the sick. He was a prankster and he told great stories and jokes. We will miss Raul’s intense love, joy, passion, generosity. He leaves us physically, but his spirit is imbued in every one of his family members. His youngest child Laura, noted just minutes after Raul took his last breath, “We’re so lucky to have such a loving family.”
Raul is preceded in death by his parents, Arturo, Aguedita, and Dorotea Cárdenas, his brothers, Juventino (Maria) Cárdenas and Arturo (Jovita) Cárdenas, and brother-in-law; Jose Arevalo. He is survived by his loving wife of 58 years; Irma Rodriguez Cárdenas, sister; Teresa Arevalo, children; Yvette (John) Iannelli, Yvonne (Francisco) Guajardo, Veronica (Kevin) Adams, Raul (Lisa) Cárdenas, Jr., and Laura (Mario) Cárdenas-Muñoz, and was blessed to have 13 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
The family sends its deepest gratitude to Mario Muñoz and Mari Salinas for providing loving and steadfast care to Raul during the past few years. They improved his quality of life immeasurably during his time of greatest need.
Raul’s family will receive friends today, Sunday, October 11, 2020 from 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM with a Rosary to be prayed at 7:00 PM in the Chapel of Peace at Ceballos-Diaz Funeral Home, 322 East Kuhn Street in Edinburg. Catholic Mass will be held on Monday, October 12, 2020 at 2:00 PM at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 114 West Fay Street in Edinburg. Catholic burial with military honors under the auspices of V.F.W. Post #7473 of Elsa will follow to Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery, 1701 East Richardson Road in Edinburg. Having the distinguished honor to serve as pallbearers will be his grandsons; Brandon Cárdenas, Bryan Cárdenas, Juan Daniel Guajardo, Macario Guajardo, Noel Lopez, Jr., and Jacob Lopez. Funeral services have been entrusted to Johnny Garcia, Manager/Funeral Director and Staff of Ceballos-Diaz Funeral Home in Edinburg.
Click here to view a webcast of the service on 10/11/2020 at 03:50 PM, Central Standard Time.
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