|Birth: ||Jun. 28, 1918|
Puerto Rico, USA
|Death: ||Feb. 11, 1992|
San Juan Municipality
Puerto Rico, USA
My beloved father Elí was born in Aguada, Puerto Rico, to Joaquín Beléndez Solá and Cándida García de Beléndez. He was the youngest son of 10 children, 4 boys and 6 girls. One of his sisters died at age 2 and a brother died when he was only a few months old. As a child his family moved to San Juan, the capital city of Puerto Rico, where he was raised.
He served in the army as a young man and was stationed in Panama and Hawaii. He enjoyed visiting different countries and learning all about their cultures.
On December 13, 1947 he married Aida Leticia Soltero and they had five children: Iris, Pilar, Leilani, Elí and Eva, who worshipped him every day and eagerly awaited his return home. As we grew, so did our love and respect for him. He loved to read and could talk to anyone about any subject, but in a quiet and humble way. In spite of being a quiet and introverted person, he was extremely mischievous and loved to play jokes on his children.
He was the proud grandfather of 6 grandchildren. In spite of having 4 daughters and only one son, he was blessed with five grandsons, Mariano, Roberto, Elí, Daniel and Omar, and only one granddaughter, Leilani, for whom he had a very soft spot because she was his only granddaughter and always reminded him of Letty, my mother. Even though he never got the chance to meet his 7 great grandchildren, Salvador, Gabriela, Sofía, Marianito, Carlos, Omar Zachary and Anthonio, he lives in every one of them.
A chain smoker all his life, he quit in 1978, when his granddaughter was born, but sadly, that didn't prevent him from developing lung cancer 13 years later. He died after battling the disease for 9 months. We miss him each and every day of our life.
He is remembered every day with love by all his children and his grandchildren.
A few days after he died, I wrote a letter remembering my father. I wanted everyone to know what a wonderful person he was, so I sent it to the local newspaper. It was published without editing on March 3, 1992 in our local newspaper, The San Juan Star. Following is a transcription of the letter:
"A GREAT MAN DIED"
A great man died. His name is Elí Beléndez García. Many friends and relatives grieve for him, but most especially his wife, his five children and his six grandchildren.
Papito was a very special man. He was highly intelligent, an avid reader, and he loved to learn about everything. He was a firm believer in his political party, having lived through the hardships of Puerto Rico before the 1950's.
I close my eyes and I can relive all the wonderful memories of him. I can go back in time to our childhood, and can actually feel the expectation we felt before he returned from work. He had no money to buy a car, so he traveled by bus. The five of us would watch carefully the corner of our street, and the moment we saw his figure from afar, we would start a frenzied run towards him yelling, "Papito, Papito!". We had to...you see...he would give the first one to reach him a prize. It could be chewing gum, candies, lollipops, whatever. But they were ours to keep and share, if we wanted to. Maybe you think..."Ha, blackmailing those poor children!". Oh, but that was the beginning of a love affair between a father and his five children that lasted from birth to his death, and I am sure that it will last until each one of us dies. And then, we will take that love with us.
Like all of us, he was not perfect. Like most of us, he went through hard times. But he always had behind him a family that adored him, understood him and respected him as he deserved.
I remember him, a very quiet and introverted man, always sitting at our dinner table, reading. It could be a Time magazine, or a book, or the newspaper. He loved to read and to learn, and he would read about anything.
I remember him, teaching us poetry..."Margarita, está linda la mar y el viento..." How we all tried to memorize it, to be the one to please him! Can you imagine enrapturing five small children? Well, he always did it, even as we grew older.
Papito was a very fair man. Even though we were five children, none of us ever felt he preferred one of us. We were all his favorite, each one of us for a very special reason.
He was not a wealthy man, but we never lacked for anything. Still, he very subtly encouraged us to get a job early in our lives, in order to have our own spending money. But, most important, he provided each one of his five children with an education, in spite of many sacrifices. He raised five professionals, each one proud of his father's achievements.
When he was diagnosed with lung cancer last May, our world came crashing down. None of us could believe that Papito would die. It was too painful a thought to harbour. All these months, in spite of seeing things get worse, each of us secretly hoped that he would be spared. It was not meant to be.
Papito, a wonderful man, the father who taught us by his own example, cherished by his family, passed away on February 11, 1992.
Wherever you are, whoever you are with, we will never forget you, and will love you forever. Through your grandchildren we will continue your legacy of love, respect, humbleness, honesty and thirst of knowledge.
Until we meet again, sleep peacefully, Papito.
Leilani Beléndez de Muñoz Marín
February 17, 1992
¡Nunca te olvidaremos, viejito!
I would like to thank my very special friend Tracey Goodwin, PupDawg, for sponsoring my father's memorial. You're truly an angel!!
Eva Beléndez de Albino
Natalia Beléndez de Gover
Haydeé Beléndez de Iglesias
Rosa del Cielo Beléndez de Richardson
Joaquín Beléndez García
Nicandro Beléndez García
Iris Beléndez García
Joaquín Beléndez Solá (1886 - 1955)
Cándida García Del Rosario de Beléndez (1888 - 1984)
Aida Leticia Soltero de Beléndez (1926 - 2009)*
Natalia del Pilar Beléndez García de Gover (1908 - 1999)*
Iris Beléndez García (1911 - 1947)*
Eva Beléndez García (1913 - 1972)*
Nicandro Beléndez García (1914 - 2007)*
Joaquín Beléndez García (1916 - 1976)*
Elí Beléndez García (1918 - 1992)
Rosa del Cielo Beléndez de Richardson (1920 - 2011)*
Haydeé Beléndez García de Iglesias (1923 - 1987)*
Cementerio Porta Coeli
Puerto Rico, USA
Plot: Section S, Plot SR-12
Created by: Leilani
Record added: Dec 14, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 81980805