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In Loving Memory Of
MILAGROS “MAMA” RIOS
1940 - 2023
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Milagros “Mama” (Rios) Medina. Milagros was 83 years old at the time of her death. She was a resident of Richmond Hill Queens, NY and passed away at Jamaica Hospital on Thursday November 16, 2023 surrounded by family.
Mamá was born in Cataño PR on October 4, 1940, to the Union of the late Rafael Rios and Georgina Santiago. She was one of six children, a precocious child who early on demonstrated a fierce independence of thought. Despite being a devout Catholic, as a youngster Mamá often challenged the prescriptions of the Catholic education she was receiving. She was possessed of a pioneering spirit and was amongst the first of her family to establish a life in the continental United States.
Mamá was a proud business owner for nearly 30 years and touched the lives of thousands of people with practical advice that she delivered through the vehicles of laughter, culture, and genuine warmth. Her daily routine included morning prayers for all of her family members and clients. Mamá's bible was typically highlighted with specific sections from psalms that she would read to help her and others get through life’s challenges. After her daily prayers she would check in on her Son Pastor to ensure he had all of the resources needed for the day. Mamá would look at herself intently in the mirror to make sure she was presenting herself in that professional coquettish demeanor that she was known for and by 6:30 am she was already at her shop.
Mamá would start her workday with a coffee from Mike’s corner store “light and sweet,” in a beautiful Spanglish accent that she employed to request, “búscame un Daily News, el Vocero, y Tambien los Bingos y Lucky 7.” These instructions were often followed with a listing of lotto numbers to play for her that always included the following numbers; “un peso para el 630 Box y Straight,” “un peso para el 330 Box y Straight,” “un peso para el 930 solo straight,” and finally “y solo cincuenta chavos para el 357 straight.” Once the morning routine was underway, she would return to praying as clients began to arrive.
Mamás shop, ‘La Botánica’ was nothing short of magical. It was not only due to meeting all kinds of people but La Botánica was magical because of Mamá and how much she loved receiving family. Regardless of where family members came from, everyone was going to drop-in on Mamá at her place of business. Often she had La Botánica full of grandchildren laughing and joking as Mamá worked. For Mamá the laughter of her family and the security that La Botánica provided as a place where the family was always welcomed, filled her with so much joy and motivation.
Mamá was a strong advocate for youth being allowed to enjoy being young without the prescriptions of older generations. For her there was no occurrence that was insurmountable, she would often say to all of her family, “pa’lante porque para atrás, ni pa’ cojer impulso!” Mamá was so concerned about the youth in the family’s ability to move forward from difficult times that she would say “eso es mortificar a las personas,” whenever she observed even the slightest prolonging of sadness for matters that she considered part of life’s natural order.
She is survived by and will be greatly missed by her sister Providencia (Rios) Serrano, six children, Adys Vasquez, Antonia Medina, Rosa Fernandez, Milagros Medina, Marisol Medina and Milton Medina , 15 grandchildren, Abigail, Caroline, Lizette, Adys, Joan, Anthony, William, Alex, Christian, Jasmine, Manuel, Danny, Willie, Katiria, Catalina, Jose (Mickey), Milton, Johnathan, 30 great grandchildren, two great-great grandchildren, and all of the hopes, dreams, and laughs that she made possible for her friends and family at large. Mama is predeceased by her spouse Pastor Medina, her Son Pastor Medina Jr. , and granddaughter Alexangeliz Medina as well as four brothers.
Descansa en paz Mamá, todos sentimos un gran orgullo de ti. Has llegado tan lejos y preparaste generaciones para enfrentar la vida con valentía y dulzura. Nos enseñaste a trabajar y bailar, contigo pudimos vivir sin límites y ahora te toca estar en el reino de Dios por una eternidad. Tus Nietos cuando chiquitos, lloraban cuando te ibas de viaje por el amor tan grande que te tenemos senos hacía difícil cada partida. Ahora que comienzas tu viaje perpetuo no solo lloramos, también nos reímos, bailamos, nos acordamos de ti porque sabemos por la fe que nos enseñaste, que te veremos otra vez en tiempo divino.