Surrounded by the presence of her loving family, Virginia Cruz, age 74, of Kissimmee, Florida, was welcomed into the arms of the Lord on November 6, 2018.
Virginia was born on April 13, 1944 in Caguas, Puerto Rico. She often joked- she was allowed to celebrate her birthday for a full seven days, because her birth certificate took a week to arrive via donkey through the mountains and down to the vital statistics office on April 20, 1944.
In the late 1950s her family left Puerto Rico and relocated to New York City, New York. Virginia was a 1962 graduate of George Washington High School in Manhattan, New York. Upon graduation she worked at a garment/textiles factory with her parents. Shortly after, she began her long history of servant leadership, starting as a shop steward for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) for a decade. After that tenure she worked as an administrative clerk for the Harlem Hospital Burn Unit from 1985- 1996.
In 1996, Virginia moved from New York City to Kissimmee, Florida to be closer to her parents, children and grandchildren. Here she began working at Walt Disney World Resorts, in several capacities first as a housekeeper at Coronado Springs Resort, then quickly working her way up to Housekeeping Visual Inspector at the Yacht & Beach Club, then Housekeeping Lost and Found Engineering Services at All Star Resorts. It was here she found her true passion and calling to fight for her fellow housekeepers and use her voice as a union member, business agent and eventual Executive Board Member for UNITE HERE Local 737. She was most proud to be a leader on the successful push for housekeeper raises so that they could earn a living wage.
Virginia was diagnosed with stage 4 mantle cell lymphoma in 2009, and after a long year of chemotherapy and radiation, was declared cancer free. She was just shy of celebrating ten years in remission and was so grateful for that second lease on life that she became a team captain for the Relay for Life Lake Buena Vista. Her team “Virginia’s Angels” raised almost $10,000 in only three years.
If there’s only one thing Virginia loved more than serving others, it was spending valuable time with her very large family. We’ll miss her infectious laugh, matter-of-fact sense of humor, fierce moves on the dance floor, and complete domination during our family BINGO competitions.
Virginia was preceded in death by her parents Blas and Quintina Cruz and brothers Nestor and Rubin Cruz. We can close our eyes and easily envision the glorious reunion taking place in Heaven right now.
She is survived by her beloved brother Hector (Ginnie) Cruz; four children: Yamile (Butch) Rivera, Rafael (Anna) Lugones, Marivel (Aida) Lugones and Barbara (Sandel) Perez; 12 grandchildren: Taryn (Dante) Buckley, Giovanni Lugones, Crystal (Jacob) Perez, Michael Lugones, Samantha (Lee) Arzuaga, Cassidy Rivera, Nicolas (Vashti) Lugones, Zach Rivera
Ariel Ithier, Gabriel Rivera, Christian Chamberlain, and Madyson Perez; 4 great grandchildren: Xavier, Quintin, Onyx, and Gabriella, another great grandchild on the way; and many nieces, nephews, Godchildren and close friends.
Virginia was a very spiritual woman, practicing Catholicism and celebrating 37 years in her Yoruba faith. In alignment with her beliefs, the family will accept visitors on Friday, November 9, 2018 from 2-4pm and 6-8pm at the Conrad & Thompson Funeral Home, 511 W Emmett St, Kissimmee, FL 34741. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in memory of Virginia on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 11:30 a.m., at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 1603 N Thacker Ave, Kissimmee, FL 34741.
Virginia loved flowers, but if you prefer to make a contribution in her memory instead, please consider donating to her Relay for Life team http://main.acsevents.org/goto/virginiasangels
Jesus said: I am the resurrection. Anyone who believes in me, even though that person dies will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? John 11: 25-16.
The family is under the care of CONRAD AND THOMPSON FUNERAL HOME 511 Emmett St Kissimmee, Fl 34741 (407) 847-3188.