Beatrice Rodriguez passed away February 28, 2018 at the age of 76.
Beatrice “Dominga” “Grandma Bea” “Sweet Bea” Rodriguez was born Sunday, November 16, 1941 in Somerville, Texas to Sirilio and Mercedes (Oliva) Vasquez. Her father was a railroad worker until he was paralyzed on the job in his thirties. Her mother took care of the home and her husband after his accident. One of nine children, Beatrice learned to cook so she could help to take care of her family. She worked as a waitress in downtown Brenham at Green Valley Restaurant and in the fields picking cotton. She also worked many years for Orr’s Grocery Store, which later turned into Piggly Wiggly. She had to grow up fast, and she quit school in ninth grade at Somerville High School.
Beatrice met the love of her life, Richard Rodriguez, at a dance in Caldwell when she was just 18. He saw her and followed her to her car to talk to her. He would not let her leave until he could get her name and number. From that time on, the two were inseparable. Richard asked Beatrice’s father for her hand in marriage, but her father refused. The two eloped on October 31, 1960 to Bryan and were married by a justice of the peace. They moved in with his parents. Thirteen years later they renewed their vows at Santa Teresa Catholic Church. They were blessed with three daughters: Carolyn R. Benavides, Debbie Rodriguez Montalbano, and Rachel Rodriguez. Beatrice and Richard were married for 57 years before he passed in September 2017. Their love was so great that he only had to wait six months for her to join him.
Family was very important to Beatrice. Calling everyone “mija” or “mijo,” “Grandma Bea” was everyone’s grandma, but she especially loved her three daughters and her grandchildren. She was a praying mother and taking care of her home was top priority in her life. She loved her church, Santa Teresa and was always faithful in her tithing and in lighting her St. Jude candles in remembrance of people and prayers.
After learning to cook at a young age, Beatrice really grew to love cooking by being pushed by her mother-in-law “Grandma Chelo” and by learning all her recipes. She was a natural cook. At age 36, Beatrice and Richard opened their first business at an old A&W Root Beer drive-in, which they called the “Buccaneer.” From there, they moved to the old Sam’s Luncheonette building in downtown Bryan, and named it Casa Rodriguez. In 2006 they relocated to the old “Gina’s Restaurant” and remain there today. They are proud to have celebrated 40 years of Authentic Delicious Home Cooking. Beatrice was so proud when they were able to move into such a nice, new location and were voted the Best of the Brazos. She was always grateful and humble about their hard earned accomplishments.
After such humble beginnings, Beatrice learned to have it all together. She made sure she paid all her bills on time and was very organized. She planned every day so that no day was wasted. Beatrice loved life - especially when she got to hit the casinos in Las Vegas or with the First Federal Golden Eagle Group. She loved playing the slots, and she always won. As she always said, “Pues, quien sabe que?” well, who knows? She was always popular and liked to talk to everyone. Beatrice’s hair and nails were always kept up nicely, and she was known for her signature look of red nails, red lipstick, and blush. Her hat collection was impressive, earning her the reputation of being “The Hat Lady.” She loved her community and downtown Bryan she was a local celebrity.
Beatrice leaves behind a large family to mourn her yet celebrate her union with Jesus and Richard: her daughter and son-in-law Carolyn and Francisco Benavides, her daughter Debbie Rodriguez-Montalbano, her daughter Rachel L. Rodriguez, and Louis Mable Jr. She had seven grandchildren: Frankie Benavides and his wife Jamie, Joe Manuel Benavides and his wife Jenn, Consuelo Benavides, Lauren Montalbano and Michael Medina, Jamie Montalbano, TJ Rodriguez, and Lucianna Mable. She was blessed with nine great-grandkids as well: Emily, Frankie, Michael, Kyleigh, Benjamin, Elena, Lively, Penelope, Anthony, and soon to be number 10 – Eloise. She also leaves her best friend Margaret Medina. Her brother-in-laws Greg Rodriguez, Paul L. Rodriguez, Fred Rodriguez and Manuel Rodriguez whom loved her like a sister.
Beatrice’s family would like to offer special thanks to her caregivers, Maria, Rita, and Keisha and everyone from Encompass Hospice. They appreciate Beatrice’s favorite hairdresser, Monica from The Salon of Vern and Mo. The Casa Rod staff, especially Jorge Mauricio, Lupita Felix, and Emiliano Ramos are also greatly appreciated for their dedication and loving nature.
To honor her life, Beatrice’s family has planned a visitation on Sunday, March 4, 2018 from 5-8 pm at Hillier Funeral Home of Bryan, with a Rosary and memory sharing to begin at 6:30 pm led by Msgr. John Malinowski. A Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 11 AM at Santa Teresa Catholic Church celebrated by Msgr. John McCaffrey. Internment will be at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, with a reception to follow at Casa Rodriguez.
Please share any memories or tributes to Beatrice at www.hillierfuneralhome.com