A funeral mass for Carmen Almanza Salas will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Francis Catholic Church in Waco. Burial will be at Oakwood Cemetery in Waco.

Mrs. Salas died Feb. 4, 2020.

Her journey began in the rural outskirts of Waco in 1937. She was brought into this world by a midwife to Pablo and Maria de Jesus Baeza Almanza. Growing up the child of a tenant farmer during the depression was a series of great hardships and difficulties but with perseverance she and her seven siblings survived and grew up to contribute in various ways to better their lives and the lives of others.

Mrs. Salas attended various schools in the area but it was her Home Economics Class at La Vega High School that changed her future. Her class was tasked with an assignment in which they were to write and send a letter to a U.S. soldier stationed in Korea; her letter was chosen by a fellow Texan from San Antonio, Johnnie Salas. After a lengthy, long-distance courtship, they were married in 1956 at St. Francis on the Brazos Catholic Church in Waco. Becoming a military wife, life took her away from a quiet farming life and introduced her to the needs of the Army with its constant moves to various duty stations. Her three children were all born on military installations.

Her interests varied from playing basketball in middle school to being a candy striper in high school. As an adult, she enjoyed sewing, crocheting, gardening, upholstery and painting ceramics. As a supportive parent, she worked in her daughter’s Daisy Troop, various PTA groups and as a library volunteer in a local Killeen elementary school. She attended a variety of school functions as a parent and a grandparent; and especially enjoyed watching her grandson play trumpet in the Harker Heights High School bands and later play guitar with Temple Junior College bands.

Mrs. Salas enjoyed watching her Dallas Cowboys, international soccer and in later years was an avid fan of the University of Texas Longhorns. Collegiate football season couldn’t come soon enough for her!

Among her most favorite things to do was to visit the Texas coast, especially walking along the sandy beaches. To make it a perfect day, Tejano music would be playing in the background; a little bit of Little Joe y la Familia or Flaco Jimenez and his accordion to put a little bounce in her spirits.

Survivors include her loving sisters and their husbands, Connie and Cleto Martinez, Sylvia and Mark Ashley, Juanita and Louis Arechiga and Teresa and Barry Hickey.

She reminds her children that she has always been proud of them, Josie and husband Allan Friedrich, Janie Salas and O’Connor and her inspiration, son David Salas.

She asks her grandchildren and great-grandchildren to remember she loves them all and will continue to be with them in loving spirit. David Anthony and wife Brittany (great grands Michael and Rae Lynn Salas); Travis Salas Cox, Ashley and husband Keland (great grands Liam and Nora) Crawley, Austin and Alex O’Connor and Sandi Dial.

To her many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews, she reminds them to stand proud and to do no harm. The legacy left to them from generations that have come before them is perseverance, hard work, love of God and each other. She also leaves behind dedicated aides who have consistently provided her with loving care as she struggled with the progression of Parkinson’s disease, special thanks to Marilyn Mack for her years of care. Thank you will never be enough.

Mrs. Salas also sends her gratitude to the many health professionals that cared for her in the 15 years she had Parkinson’s. Dr. David Ruiz of Vision Source-Killeen, Dr. Hector Colon and Ms. Michelle Whetstone-Baker, Dr. Adolpho Mares of Austin Heart, Dr. Sankoorikal of Scott and White-Killeen and the nurses and paraprofessionals of all the medical offices that were visited including Seton Medical Center-Harker Heights that assisted in her care, thank you.

The viewing will be at 6 p.m. Monday with a Rosary following at 7 p.m. at Connally Compton Funeral Home in Waco. Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home in Killeen is in charge of local arrangements.

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