Maritza Luciano, 61, of St.Cloud, Florida, transitioned on Tuesday, October 9th, 2019 after a courageous battle against pancreatic cancer. Maritza was from Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, born to Wilson Luciano and Ana Carlo.
Maritza had strawberry red hair and an adorable left cheek dimple as a child, and spent most of her teenage years in New Mexico as her father studied and she gained a love for John Denver, Native American culture, and a life-long affair with jewelry. There she perfected her English, which would help her as she ventured to the States by herself and her three girls in 1988. August 3rd, 1988 was her first day with the Osceola County school system, a job she got just three days after arriving from PR. The majority of her life was selflessly dedicated to her three daughters; Xamarie Ponce, Lorraine Cotto, and Angie Link, and then her beautiful grandchildren; Daniel and Kimberly Ponce, Gabriel Cotto, and Gavin and Eva Link. Average days for Mama as we were growing up included being able to juggle work and home, comfort us through teenage broken hearts, earn enough money to cover a multitude of prom dresses, get up early on Saturday mornings to sing and clean the entire house, and even cover us with Vick’s through flu season. Even as a grandmother, she would travel overnight 5 plus hours to babysit her babies last minute, and help clean our homes as our life became too overwhelming. Mom was always there to rescue us if we were in distress, we knew we could always count of her. It was daily that we spoke on the phone, and even in the end, she waited triumphantly for her three daughters to come home to her, before she went home to our Precious Lord.
As an educator and school administrator, she devoted herself to mentoring her students, teachers, and peers. Her accomplishments included Teacher of the Year awards both here in Florida and Puerto Rico, Ida S. Baker Distinguished Minority Award, Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, and many more. She also gained her Masters degree in ESOL and Educational Leadership, as well as certifications in biology, chemistry, middle grades, ESOL endorsement, and educational leadership. Even as she fought her battle with cancer, she stayed up to date with her teaching certifications, her love for teaching ran deep in her veins. It was through the 30 plus years in this county that she was able to touch many lives, and we are all eternally grateful for her advise, leadership and love.
Her life was spent dedicating her time to her daughters and students, and as we navigate this new world without her physical presence we truly know “when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.” We saw and experienced that love fully, and live in gratefulness as we are eternally wrapped in her arms.
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