On Monday, March 16, 2020, Irene Floyd (89), loving wife and mother of three children, passed away in Charlotte, NC. Born on March 21, 1930, in Laredo, TX, she was raised in Laredo and in nearby Rio Grande City. Irene married fellow Laredoan Fernando Floyd on December 15, 1951. Immediately after their wedding, Fernando’s career as an exploration geophysicist took the couple to Brazil. What was meant to be a short assignment turned into a 44 year stay in South America: 31 years in different cities of Brazil, 8 years in Chilean and Argentine Patagonia, and 5 years in Colombia. Irene’s favorites? Her honeymoon years in northern Brazil; her many years enjoying Chilean hospitality in frigid Punta Arenas, on the Strait of Magellan; and, of course, her quarter century in exuberant Rio de Janeiro. She bore each of her three children in a different country. Wherever they lived, Irene and Fernando made sure that their home was a place of rest, safety, and affirmation for the widest assortment of short and long-term guests. Travelers, wayward teenagers, missionaries of all denominations, relatives, beggars off the street, and recently released convicts found a comfortable bedroom, Irene’s famous baked goods for dessert, and no judgmentalism. On one occasion in Rio, even her kidnappers were disarmed by her concern for their spiritual well-being and not only released her but made sure she had money to get home. In 1996, Irene and Fernando retired in Fernandina Beach, FL, to be near grandchildren. Always adventurous, the enticement of other grandchildren convinced Irene to move to Charlotte, NC, in 2017.
She is predeceased by her parents, Manuel and Crisanta (Guerra) Vela; by her siblings, Aurelio, Benilde, Luis, Crisanta, Angelina, Jacobo, and Maria; and by her beloved husband, Fernando. She is survived by her children Christie (Rob) Goyette (Yulee, FL), Pamela (Paulo) Tatagiba (Bom Jesus do Itabapoana, Brazil), and Peter (Monica) Floyd (Charlotte, NC); thirteen grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the U.S. and Brazil; one sister, Cristina (Javier) Garza (Laredo, TX); and dozens of cherished nieces and nephews.
The family is particularly grateful to caregiver Jubitza Figueroa, to Dr. Catherine Ferrara, and to all of Irene’s third-floor neighbors at Providence Carriage Club Retirement Home in Charlotte.
On March 21, a funeral Mass for the immediate family will be celebrated at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Fernandina Beach, FL, followed by a graveside ceremony at Bosque Bello Cemetery.