|Birth: ||Dec. 4, 1919|
Puerto Rico, USA
|Death: ||Jun. 30, 1990|
Puerto Rico, USA
A Very proud WW2 Veteran. Fighting for our country and defending our freedom was his greatest honor. Upon his return from the war, utilizing his experience as a soldier (5 years), he became a Police Officer. From there, through hard work and dedication, he was promoted and became a Detective. In this capacity, he went on to become the Captain of the Bodyguards (La Escolta) of Don Luis Munoz Marin, (The first Puertorican Governor elected by Puertoricans.) In 1961, while working at FORTALEZA (The puertorican White House), he had the opportunity to meet the then President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie, during an official visit to Puerto Rico. That was an experience he spoke of often and remembered very fondly.
He was an expert marksman; this ability allowed him to help his Fortaleza team win first place in a marksman competion that included other teams of Police Officers from all over the Island. Francisco was so responsible, dedicated, and loved his job so much that in 35 years of service, he never called in sick; not once!! I read such information from his retirement papers.
I only saw my father cry 3 times. The first time was when my eldest(and only) brother was drafted and taken to vietnam. I was very young, but I'll never forget that morning because I had to wake up super early to say goodbye to my big brother before my dad took him to the base he was supposed to report to. So, while my brother was getting ready to leave, I was so sad and was looking for my dad for answers, needless to say, my mother was almost hysterical so I couldn't talk to her. When I found him, he was in the back of the house alone crying and wipping his eyes with his handkerchief. (Dad was a ww2 vet, but he didn't want his boy to have to face war, my brother was in college at the time.) The second time I saw him crying was the day I got married, for I was his little and only girl. He used to tell me that I came in the last train (for I'm 15 yrs younger than my brother.) The third and last time was when his mother, my grandma, passed away. He really loved and respected his mom. She was quite old, she used to tell stories about how people reacted when the Spanish/American war took place in Puerto Rico, how difficult life was back when she was young. She also used to talk about how she, informally, adopted every unwanted child she could find. She was very kind and a true humanitarian.
My Dad had to sacrifice a lot of family time because of the demands of his job. Quite often, my dad would have to stay at Fortaleza, and couldn't come home for several days. So, every time he left for work, I would get up at 4am just to see him and say bye because I knew I wasn't going to see him for many days.
When he was home, he used to play around a lot with me. We used to play hide and seek, and had our own little game. We used to chase each other, if I would catch him I got to tickle him, if he catched me he would tickle me and give me a surprise like a little doll, some jumping jacks, etc (I used to get the better deal here!) I used to love tickling him just to see him laugh. He had a gold tooth that gave him a "golden smile." He's the only person I've ever known that would look great with a gold tooth, plus he had beautiful teeth. I used to always tell him that and he used to smile for me each and every time. He used to take me to the park to ride my bike, or we would go shopping at Sears. I used to love going to Sears with him because after the shopping and paying bills, I'd get popcorn and some candies which, I believe back then, were the best ever!! Sometimes, we'd go to the movies, to the ice cream parlor, or just to any store to get my favorite candies, chips, and whatever I wanted. He would, somehow, find time to do little things with me. Unfortunately, it wasn't very often we got to do these things, but those are loving memories I treasure and keep in my heart. We got to spend more time together after he retired. Upon his retirement he became my personal driver, now an adolescent, he didn't want me to go out by myself.
He wanted to be a hero until the end. He had been diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus since 1985, yet, he never told a soul; not even his wife or his children. He was the kind of man that didn't want people to feel sorry for him or treat him like a sick person. Since he didn't feel sick, neither did he follow the required diet, nor did he take his meds, (after he passed, we found them hidden in a locked foot locker.) Because of comments he had made to my mother sometime before, we think that he didn't believe the doctors, he didn't believe he had an illness. My mother never suspected a thing, for he was the picture of health. So, 5 years went by, and then on June 30 1990, a Saturday, he woke up so sick that he had to be taken to the ER. My mother called my godparents so they could help her convince my dad to go to the hospital, they did. There, in the ER, the family found out just how gravely ill he was, and had quietly been. At that point, there wasn't much that could be done for him. His internal organs had started to shut down. As the Doctors were doing everything they could to save him, he suffered a massive heart attack and passed away, just like that. We couldn't even say our good byes! Some of the father's day presents he had gotten a few days prior, were used to bury him.
Here is an experience I'd like to share:
Since my Father passed so suddenly, and there was no time for goodbyes, I cried myself to sleep for almost a month after his death. I just kept lamenting the fact that I couldn't tell him how much I loved him one more time. So one night he came to me in a dream, and I immediately knew he'd come to say something. He gave me the look he always gave me when he used to pick me up from school, like he was so happy to see me!! I ran towards him and hugged him as tight as I could, and kissed him a million times. I vividly remember smelling his cologne, feeling his arms, the hairs in his arms, his shoulders, his face, his warmth. I told him how I felt, how afraid I was without him, and so many other things. It felt as if I were awake and he was really there. After a while, he started to let go, and told me "I have to go." I didn't want him to go and tried to hold on to him, but he repeated that he had to go. So, reluctantly, I let go. I told him how much I loved him, how proud I am of being his daughter, to which he replied; "I know, I've always known that!!" I, once again, asked him to stay and he again said "I have to go, but I'll return, I will always be around." Then little by little he walked away from me and faded away from sight. Still in the dream, I felt better, much more at ease. When I woke up, I no longer felt that terrible sadness and anguish that was eating me alive. The following night I didn't cry myself to sleep. I know he is around, for I feel his presence all the time.
Francisco's sudden death left a huge void in the hearts of those who truly loved him and were proud of him. Every one who met him, has fond memories of him, for he was well liked, respected, and admired. Though very serious and formal, he was humble, kind, and had a great sense of humor. Francisco was a devoted husband to his wife Alicia, and an exemplary father to his son Paco and daughter Vilma. He was the kind of man that is a rare find these days; A true hero and a gentleman!!!!
*Please say a prayer for him, for he passed away unexpectedly....*
I'D LIKE TO EXPRESS MY MOST SINCERE GRATITUDE, FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, TO MY NEW FRIEND HANS J. FROM BERLIN FOR KINDLY SPONSORING MY DEAR FATHER'S MEMORIAL. MAY GOD BLESS HIM AND HIS FAMILY ALWAYS...
Alicia Maldonado de Vega (1924 - 2002)*
Note: Both Francisco and Alicia share the same resting place.
Puerto Rico National Cemetery
Puerto Rico, USA
Plot: I 3325
Created by: Osiris
Record added: Mar 27, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 67543571