Elgin Courier

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Tomasa "Tommie" Cardenas

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 11:08 am

Our beloved mother, Tommie, went to heaven to be with Jesus. She passed away peacefully at home, on Thursday, March 8, 2018, in Austin, Texas, surrounded by her daughters and family. She was 76. 

She was born on March 7, 1942, in Elgin, Texas. 

She is preceded in death by her mother, Pauline Flores Galindo; father, Justo Bega; and sister, Ninfa Partida.

Tommie leaves behind her three daughters, or as she would say, her "girls": Lisa Valdez, Leticia Valdez, and Belinda Orozco-Araujo, and husband, Jose Araujo. Jose truly became the son she never had. 

She also is survived by her grandchildren, Oscar Valdez, Erica Allen Leopold (Joshua 

Leopold) and Isaac Echeverria; great-grandchildren, Jordan, Logan, and Kali Valdez; and Avery and Annabelle Leopold. 

Lastly, she had a very special bond with her "adopted" grandchild, Aiden Sawyers.

Also surviving Tommie is her only brother John Galindo (Carmen); sisters, Oralia Martinez (Louis), Thelma Harkrider (Dennis), Gracie Rowland, and Bernice Valdez (Ernest), and numerous nieces and nephews. 

Although Tommie was born in Elgin, she spent most of her childhood and a portion of adulthood in Austin, Texas, specifically the "old" Eastside. She proudly attended Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School and Saint Mary's Academy. 

During her teenage and young adult years, she developed her love for the food service industry, as she worked at many eateries, including the infamous Eastside staples, Casa Loma, and Joe's Bakery. Later, she explored and crossed over to "the Drag" area and worked at places such as Vick's Delicatessen. 

While working as a waitress, she was tickled to meet "famous" artists, such as B.B King, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Little Willie John, and Ella Fitzgerald. She also befriended many professional baseball players, such as Julio Gotay. During these years, she had her oldest daughter.

In 1972, our mom returned to her beloved town of Elgin, where she raised her two youngest daughters. In the early 1980's, she was thrilled to work for the Elgin Independent School District as a Bilingual Teacher Aide. This is when she became known as "Ms. Orozco". To this day, her "students" still address her as such. 

In 1983, along with her then husband, she birthed her fourth love, the legendary Taco House. With a home-grade stove and refrigerator, a few old pots and pans, and an old cast iron cash register that weighed at least 50 pounds, the Taco House opened its doors, in an old building that was once a filling station. 

A couple of years later, some construction was done and a permanent door was finally put in. For over twenty years, our mom worked tirelessly dishing out the greatest Tex-Mex food Elgin has ever known. Her enchiladas are now legendary.  

In the two decades she owned her restaurant, mom was immensely grateful for her blessings, and shared them with many. She fed hundreds, if not thousands through her annual Thanksgiving meals, she donated days' profits numerous times when tragedies struck, she loaned out her space for different organizations, and most importantly, she fed whomever was hungry, money in their pocket, or not. 

During these years she formed friendships with her thousands of customers that lasted until her passing. This made her the most proud. This, and the fact that artist such as Chloris Leachman, Brian Dennehy, Cornelio Reyna, and Los Terribles del Norte dined at her restaurant. In 2003, health issues ensued and she decided to retire, or "hang up the gloves", as she would say. Twenty years later, the register was still there, and an era in Elgin was over.

The last season of her life may have been her happiest. Although she forever missed her business, she spent most of her time giving back, or enjoying time with her daughters and family. She volunteered at the Elgin Lion's Club, and the thrift store, FBC Food Pantry, and for many years the Elgin Community Cupboard. 

She was an avid bingo player, which she played at the Elgin VFW, for over forty years. Her other hobbies included playing Scrabble, doing crosswords, drawing, painting, and of course, cooking. She was the absolute best storyteller around. The last years of her life were spent making thousands of memories by her daughters' sides. If asked today, she would humbly say, her greatest accomplishment on Earth was motherhood. 

A visitation and Rosary was held on Monday, March 12, 2018, at Providence Funeral Home in Elgin. 

A funeral service was held on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. 

She will be laid to rest at Elgin Latin Cemetery, 305 Ochoa Street, Elgin.

A reception followed burial at Elgin VFW Hall 118 Sayers Road, Elgin.

Arrangements entrusted to Providence-Jones Family Funeral Home

  • Tex Propane Co.

    • icon Updated: August 28
  • Family Health Center

    • icon posted: August 28
  • Elgin Insurance Agency

    • icon Updated: February 01
  • Aviator Pizza

    • icon Updated: August 28
  • Elgin Smiles Dental

    • icon Updated: June 13
  • Parobek

    • icon posted: August 28
More Display Ads