Rebeca Caballero Barrera

September 20, 2013   ·   0 Comments

mom at 99
Rebeca Caballero Barrera, age 100, passed away on Monday, September 16, 2013. She filled her century with love, adventure, stories and music. Many people remember her as Premont’s school nurse, others knew her as a Shaklee enthusiast, and yet others knew her as a classical pianist, mother, bilingual storyteller, and avid Spurs fan. She has a huge fan club of her own, and never realized how many people loved her for her generosity, enthusiasm and optimistic outlook.
A daughter of two countries, Rebeca was born December 15, 1912 in Laredo, TX, and at age six moved to Mexico where she spent seven years with her aunts and siblings after her mother died. Returning to the U.S. at the age of 12, she quickly adjusted to a new school and graduated Salutatorian from Laredo High School where she wrote a social column for the school newspaper. By this time she was an accomplished pianist and performed in concerts with her father, Rosendo Caballero, a composer and music conductor.
Never satisfied with limits, Rebeca decided to study nursing against her father’s wishes. She worked to gain his approval by praying a novena. On the ninth day he relented, and it was the last day of summer registration at Texas A&I where she crammed Chemistry and Math courses so she could get into the fall semester at Seton School of Nurses in Austin, TX. Upon graduation in 1942 she went to Monterrey to help an aunt who was having surgery. The doctors at Hospital Civil were so impressed with her skills and professionalism that she was hired as Director of Nurses. For the next three years she revamped the nursing program, provided training, convinced the governor to pay for uniforms, and created a lasting program that laid the groundwork for years to come.
Back in the U.S. in 1946 she reconnected with Homero Barrera, Sr. who was back from the war. They married and moved to
South Texas where she used her nursing skills at home, in hospitals, and schools. A charitable and loving person, Rebeca became an asset to the community on so many levels. She tended to sick people in the rural areas where there was little medical care and for 16 years was Premont’s School Nurse. Every parent and child in the community counted on her skills for broken bones, skinned knees, insulin shots, and a ride home.
Rebeca shared her love of family so generously that friends of her children call her “Mom”.  As the matriarch of the family she frequently took center stage at family gatherings to tell stories and pass on words of wisdom, frequently using Mexican “dichos” as a reference. At age 85 she commuted to UTPanAm in Edinburg, TX to take a class on writing her memoires. Recuerdos, her collection of 15 family stories, is a lasting gift to the family. She also compiled a collection of her father’s music for the family to enjoy.
Always ready for an outing, Rebeca drove while Homero navigated on their great adventures to the Valley, Laredo and San Antonio. Together they spent 57 years celebrating the good times, raising their three children, delighting in their grandchildren and worrying about the drought. They voted at every election and supported their local libraries. Rebeca loved books and read regularly, copying favorite quotes which she placed all over the refrigerator door. An active member of Premont’s Elyvian Club, she loved to organize meetings and prepare “talks” on the topic for the month. She loved to visit Mexico and chose Mexico’s day of freedom to break away from her life on earth.
Rebeca Caballero Barrera was preceded in death by her husband, Homero Barrera, Sr.; her parents, Rosendo Caballero and Rebeca Garcia Caballero; her stepmother, María Zuñiga Caballero; her sister, Lilia Caballero Cavazos (Miguel A. Cavazos) and brothers, Rosendo Caballero (Maria Teresa Padilla), Roberto Caballero, Hector Caballero (Elia Hilda Mendiola) and Rodrigo Caballero.
She is survived by siblings, Patricio E. Caballero (Olga Vukelja) and Mario Xavier Caballero (Robbie Segler); her children, Rebeca Maria Barrera, Norma Barrera Dieterle (William Dieterle) and Homero Barrera, Jr. as well as grandchildren, Jenifer Dieterle Loy (Scott Loy), Christina Dieterle Smith (Eric Smith), Jacqueline Dieterle, and Guero Dieterle (Heather Conrad) and five great-grandchildren.
A rosary will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 20, 2013 at Howard Williams Funeral Home in Falfurrias, Texas with a memorial Mass on Saturday, September 21 at 11:00 a.m. at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Concepcion, Texas.  Burial will follow at El Retiro Ranch.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church for the Parish Hall Building Fund in Concepcion, Texas.


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