Alicia RodriguezJune 24, 2017
At 1:45 a.m. on June 24th, 2017, Alicia Rodriguez, wife, mother of six, and grandmother of 14, died at the age of 86 in the presence of all her loved ones. After a long and fruitful life in Cuba, where she was born and raised, and in the USA, where she relocated in search of a life of freedom, opportunity, and peace, she succumbed to the call of our deceased father, who must have missed her dearly and wanted her by his side.
One of 13 children, born to Anita and Cirilo Hilton in the beautiful eastern part of Cuba, she cooked her way to fame and was a much sought after chef by families all over the island, who loved her white rice with black beans (or “congri”) in coconut milk, succulent roast pork (or “pernil”) in bitter orange sauce with cumin and garlic, or seafood paella à la criolla, among her many savory dishes. By her early 30s, she was the head nutritionist at one of the most important hospitals in Havana, where she met the love of her life: our father to whom she was married for 57 years.
Next to food, her family and faith anchored her life. She was the proud mother of three girls and three boys in whom she instilled the importance of education. As a political refugee from Cuba, excuses were not acceptable. She believed that a well-lived life was one that placed trust in God, valued education, and thrived in the service and inspiration of others. Her strong beliefs were instilled in her children, who went on to live lives of passion and fulfilment. Her oldest son became an airplane pilot while in the military, and continues to enjoy this interest in civilian life; another became an expert in real estate and reaped the benefits of buying and selling homes in the Tampa area. One of her sons worked for 30 years at Walmart and retired as a top manager, having never missed a day of work; one of her daughters joined Homeland Security in an effort to help other immigrant families seeking a better life in this country, and another daughter received her doctorate and currently teaches at an Ivy League university in the northeastern USA.
A proud, creative, and dignified woman, she lived her life for her family and friends, and for God and many Roman Catholic saints. Her house was always full of people who, over a cup of strong and sweet Cuban coffee, or flan, or a hot plate of Cuban food, would discuss the medicinal benefits of plants and flowers, recall their childhoods in the splendid countryside and cities of Cuba, Puerto Rico, or Panama, or discuss the lives and miracles of many different Roman Catholic saints and dream of a future when Cubans could one day travel freely between their country and the USA.
On Saturday, July 1st at 11:00 a.m., at Holloway Funeral home (www.HollowayFuneralHomeFL.com), Alicia Rodriguez’s life will be celebrated. The color of the ceremony will be white, representing her pure and complete. Come and rejoice with us in honor of a life well-lived.