Juanita "Janie" Renteria Hernandez, 87, of Elgin, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her loving family, Friday, March 3, 2023. Juanita was born, the second child to Gregorio and Julia Renteria, in Elgin, Texas, on February 8, 1936. Juanita worked hard her whole life; at age five, she started helping her father on the farm chopping wood, picking fruits and vegetables, and tending to the animals. At the age of 14, she took her first job working at a Turkey Farm in Giddings, then went to work for Austin Laundry for several years. She then began a 35 year career with the Austin State School, where she worked in the school’s laundry until she retired. In 1956, Juanita met Ralph Hernandez just weeks before he was to leave for the military. In 1958, destiny would reunite them in her family’s garden, which is now where the Elgin Latin Cemetery is located. Despite her father’s disapproval, the young couple continued to date and were united in matrimony on September 27, 1958. After enjoying a trip to Monterrey, Mexico for their honeymoon, they returned to Elgin and began raising their family of six children. In 1976, Ralph built his wife and kids a brick home on South Avenue C, and today remains the family’s homeplace.
Juanita’s life wasn’t easy, but she always found joy in her life. Even though her first attempt at cooking, she accidentally burned her newlywed husband’s foot, she loved to cook for her family. She was an faithful member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and served in many roles throughout the years. She enjoyed gardening and loved her roses. However, her favorite times were spent with her family, whom she adored.
She is preceded in death by her husband Ralph Hernandez, Sr.; both her parents; her grandsons Manuel Martinez, Sr. and Steven Gonzalez; and her granddaughter, Marisa Hernandez, her siblings, Demetria, Joe, Raymond, Celestina, Ramona, and Bonifacio.
She leaves to cherish her love and memory her children, Ralph Hernandez, Jr. and wife Marie, Corina and husband Tomas Urbinal, Aurora and husband Jose Alfredo Castillo, Jose Antonio Hernandez, Linda and husband Arturo Gamez, and Gloria and husband Israel Paez; numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, one-great-great-grandchild; and extend family and dear friends.
Family and Friends will gather for Visitation at Elgin Funeral Home, Tuesday, March 7th from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM with Recitation of the Holy Rosary at 7:00 PM. A Celebration of Christian Funeral Mass will be conducted at Sacred Heart Catholic Church of Elgin, Wednesday, March 8th at 10:00 AM with Father Paul presiding. Christian Burial will follow at Elgin Latin Cemetery.