A vivacious teacher, friend, mother, and nurturer to all, Flora Veronica Marquez restfully joined her savior on April 26th, 2023. She was surrounded at home by loved ones under the watchful care of her daughter, Tamara. Celebrated by her children, family and friends, Veronica, or Vernie, remains a precious jewel and gift to everyone who knew her.
A country girl at heart, Veronica fondly recalled her hometown, Guys Hill, located in rural Jamaica. The center of her universe, it was the source of her richest stories and the taproot of her love of family and community. It was the lens through which she viewed the world.
Her rural adventures rivaled those of Huckleberry Finn. Stories of her father carrying her to church for miles in her Sabbath dress or her mother’s charity to neighbors helped define her sense of goodness.
The family moved to New York in the early 1950s. The country girl’s big city experiences were both exciting and eye-opening: buying her first bobby socks, eating her first Hershey bar (chocolate was her favorite) and singing Christmas carols for celebrities who lived nearby (Lena Horne, Louis Amstrong, Count Basie and Roy Capennella).
Music also played a role in meeting the love of her life, Pedro Marquez. Their first dance may have been to Tito Rodriguez or Tito Puente. Whichever, it was romantic. Soon Vernie had a new nickname, Benny. They decided to adopt a song by Los Panchos, “Los Dos,” as their own.
Veronica moved to Long Island, to raise her children: Peter, Tamara and Anthony. Deeply involved in raising her family, she was a dedicated daughter, sister, and friend. Aunt Vernie/Benny was a loving figure in the lives of her many nephews and nieces. Her door was always open, her table always had room for one more.
Seventh-day Adventist churches in Babylon, New York and Belleview, Florida, provided a diverse fellowship community where Veronica shared her faith and love. It’s where she taught and influenced young lives and created deep life-long friendships.
She raised her family while working full-time and earning undergrad and graduate degrees in education. After 20 years of teaching special education, she retired from the Brentwood School district, having touched the lives of many students during their formative years.
Veronica is survived by her caring brother Teddy and devoted and loving children, grandchildren and in-laws, including Tamara, Anthony, Peter, Lillian and Cassandra, Connie and Fred. She was preceded in love by her beloved husband Pedro, father Lance, mother Lillian, and siblings Grace and Atkins.
She will be missed by her many nieces and nephews, including Minnie, Hope, Norman, April, Patricia, Dahlia, Ronnie, Danielle, Milagro, Roberto, Elizabeth, Lulu, Ivette, Maria, Joe, Vanessa, Vikki, Manny and many grandnieces and nephews.
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