Noemy Martinez: Mother, Salvadoran cuisine expert/foodie, and lifelong sales person passed away on Sunday 12/5 peacefully during her sleep. She was born in Santa Ana, El Salvador in September, 1944.
Persistence, hard work, and countless sacrifices allowed her to live a life full of accomplishments.
Her life was largely defined by the loss of her parents at 16 years of age in a country that did not have a social system to provide and support orphans. She would later suffer through the loss of her only daughter to cancer. Life always threw different challenges her way but she always persevered regardless of the obstacles.
After losing her parents, she initially got some support from her older sister in Santa Ana and aunt in San Salvador. Noemy would not settle to be a nanny or maid, and realized that she had to search for better opportunities on her own in San Salvador.
As an attractive young woman, Noemy had to learn how to quickly fend for herself in a world where all the cards are stacked against a pretty, young teenage orphan. Noemy never settled when there were no opportunities and she took no shortcuts.
She had indomitable faith in the Catholic church and always believed in herself.
She made the most of her social nature and strong people skills to start a lifelong career in sales. The Salvadoran civil war and poor economy made her choose this field, as it allowed her to have the flexibility to also take care of her kids, Jorge, Doris (QED), Ricardo and David.
Noemy always yearned to be a mother in a large family. Along the way her dream was for her children to become professionals, a goal which was achieved by all three sons due to her endless support, continuous sacrifices and the ‘can-do’ ‘go-get-it’ attitude she instilled in her kids. Neither Noemy nor Julian had completed even High School in El Salvador, so getting a US college education for all their first-generation migrant kids was quite an accomplishment.
Noemy met and married Jorge Julian Martinez (QED); they met back at work in 1967, married him in Santa Ana in 1968 and had her first-born in San Salvador in 1969. She would have 3 more kids and a miscarriage the following years. Tragedy hit early in her motherhood quest: Noemy lost her only daughter to leukemia when she was only 11 years old.
Noemy and Julian remained together to the very end for 53 years.
After the passing of Doris, as well as due to the civil war and lack of economic opportunities, Noemy left El Salvador to join Julian who had fled to the USA a couple of years earlier in the early 80's.
Much like other undocumented immigrants she worked all kinds of odd jobs to support the family, but never settled. She was always looking for better opportunities despite her initial lack of English skills or legal documents.
Thanks to the Reagan immigration amnesty program, both Julian and Noemy went on to become US legal residents and later US Citizens. Noemy used to say she was so proud of her US citizenship and that she did not want to ever go back to live in El Salvador, or even dead.
Noemy loved talking about the many stories she lived, and people she met as a sales person. She loved to make pupusas and “sopa de patas” and would share them with everyone. She believed food and water should never be denied to anyone.
Noemy leaves behind her three grown children: Jorge, Ricardo and David as well as 5 grandchildren: Xochil, Nawa, Isabel, Sandra and Michael. All of whom loved her dearly.
Noemy, we carry you in our heart and your memory will never vanish.
Catholic Relief Services
PO Box 17090, Baltimore MD 21297-0303