Isabel “Chavela” Guerra-Avelar, 87, of Joplin, MO and formerly of Albert Lea, died Wednesday, October 14, 2020 in Hayward, MN, surrounded by her family
Isabel was born to Manuel and Leonor (Jimenez) Rios on August 3, 1933 in Eagle Pass, TX. The family moved north to Hollandale, MN in the late 1940’s as migrant workers. Isabel received an education to the third grade and spent the rest of her upbringing working and helping her family.
On September 12, 1952, Isabel married Jesus H. Guerra, Sr. and the two had nine children. She spent many years working for Hills Gardens, and was a member of St. Theodore’s Catholic Church, where she helped with Eucharist and sang in the choir. In 1997, she was widowed with the passing of Jesus, Sr.
Isabel met Jose A. Avelar, Sr., and after a year of courting, the two were married September 30, 2000. They moved to Joplin, MO, and for 20 years, the couple were the best of friends, having mutual respect and loving each other very much.
If God made a perfect person, it was Isabel. She was a genuinely loving and caring person, who would give everything she had to others. She was “Mom” to many kids, making sure everyone was cared for and fed. She was a woman of faith, helping those she loved with their problems with thoughtful wisdom, attentive listening, and the good word of the Lord. She always wanted to see the good and positive in everything. Isabel made everyone better for knowing her.
Though Isabel had limited education, she was very intelligent and wise. She strived for her children to have a good education, and worked hard to create a better, more stable life for them. She was an independent spirit, a very loving mama who was always there for her family, and enjoyed keeping up with Mexican traditions
Isabel enjoyed doing crossword puzzles, Bingo, and playing cards. She was a good singer, who had fun socializing with her family. Isabel loved Mexican dances, gardening, flowers, her cats, Chinese food, sewing, embroidery, canning, and being a member of the Eagle’s Club. Most of all, she loved to cook, and teaching her children how to cook, traditional Mexican foods such as flour tortillas and tamales. She also made the best goulash, and her Thanksgiving stuffing will be missed.
Isabel is survived by her husband, Jose Avelar, Sr., Joplin, MO; her children: Maria (John Frisk) Guerra, Albert Lea; Beatriz (Hector, Sr.) Olvera, Hayward; Celia (Nicolas) Granados, Kyle, TX; Minerva (Miguel) Garza, Albert Lea; Jesus (Sheila M.) Guerra, Jr., Albert Lea; Corina (Michael, Jr.) Cain, Jacksonville, FL; Graciela (Timothy) Gregory, Fairfax, SC; and Victor M. (Gail) Guerra, Clarence, NY; 23 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren; and a special god-daughter, Tina Madrigal.
She is preceded in death by her parents; her first husband, Jesus Guerra, Sr.; her youngest son, Robert R. Guerra; 3 sisters; and 2 brothers.
Visitation will take place from 4:00-7:00 p.m. Sunday, October 18, 2020 at Bonnerup Funeral Service. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Monday, October 19, 2020 at St. Theodore’s Catholic Church with Father Kurt Farrell as celebrant, with a vigil taking place one hour before. Interment will follow at St. Theodore’s Catholic Cemetery in Albert Lea.
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