Carmen Leija, 70, passed away Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, in Fort Worth.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, Nov. 17, at 3 p.m. at Oak Street Baptist Church. Burial will follow in Pioneer Cemetery under the direction of Morrison Funeral Home.
Carmen was born June 3, 1946 in Guerrero, Coahuila, Mexico to the late Jose Martinez and Aurora Gonzalez. She married Frank Sanchez Leija on May 5, 1963 in Villa Union, Coahuila, Mexico and he preceded her on March 25, 2005.
Carmen was a devout Christian who served her savior by living a life of example. She instilled in her children the values of living a humble life of generosity and to never turn away anyone in need. She was well known to open her home to many throughout the years. She dedicated her life first to God and then to her family.
She was known for her ease in frequent conversation with even total strangers. Throughout her life she maintained a sweet and simple demeanor that won the trust and hearts of many, who even now are being changed by her witness of constant nurturing love and faith.
Frank and Carmen were well known for the music ministry they shared with others in the surrounding counties and throughout their hometowns in Mexico. Carmen was known as "Ama" to her children and "Granny,” "Tita,” and "Wita" to her grandchildren. Carmen had a heart of gold that never stopped giving. You could never express to her that you liked something in her home because she would surely gift it to you.
Her cooking was heavenly! The neighborhood kids would smell her cooking and come running in hopes of being invited to dinner. There was always plenty to go around – she made sure of it. She would give up her bed for someone that needed a place to rest their head, and if needed, she would make the kids give up their beds as well. There would be no complaining about it either. Frank and Carmen helped care for so many of the grandchildren. They never stopped raising the family.
Her strong will to live, unwavering faith of God, and the love and prayers of family, friends, and many supporters helped see her through this difficult year. Carmen's legacy of the greatest love for God, family and friends is one that shall carry for many generations to come. Her signature gift of joy, shown through her constant smiling, laughter and joking around, will never be forgotten.
Survivors include her children, Marisela Henderson of Graham and children, Steven and wife, Charley; Scott and wife, Brittany, and Sean Henderson and children, Cooper and Brooks; Joe Frank Leija of Graham and children, Frank Lee, Joseph and wife, Valerie, and Amber Leija and children, Cruz, Analeah, Isela and Araceli; Lupe Simental and children, Luis Jr., Evan and Briana Simental and children, Kain and Kyle; Maria Anguiano and husband, David of Fort Worth and children, Abby, Autumn, and Caleb; Carmen Burleson and husband, Ian and children, Audrey, Jared Alvarez and Carter Smith and child Lucas; Jeff Leija and wife, Lorraine and children, Jayden Perkins, Javier and Aaliyah Leija; Lorena Gonzales and husband, Rudy and son, Elijah of Fort Worth; brothers, José Martinez and Tomás Martinez; and several other family members.
Visitation will be held Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.