ELOY — Mary Helen “Nana” Ruiz, 77, died on Jan. 7, 2021.

Mrs. Ruiz was born on Sept. 12, 1943, to Daniel and Griselda Ybarra. Along with her eight siblings, she was raised with a love of God and family. She grew to have a love for dancing, mariachis, crochet and a stiff margarita. In 1961 she met her lifelong partner, Juan E. Ruiz, and together they welcomed seven children into their hearts. Even with all the love she had for her family, she still made room for many others.

For 32 years she worked as a teacher at Santa Cruz Valley Union High School. During that time her students went from addressing her as “Ms. Gris” to affectionately calling her “Nana." She always was an active member of her community as a teacher and an avid cursillista of St. Helen of the Cross Catholic Church. At home, she could be found tending to her orchard, crocheting her next project or cooking enough food to feed an army.

She was preceded in death by eight siblings, Emilio, Manuel, Antonio, Felicita, Martha, Rita, Maria Cecilia and Margaret; a daughter, Juanita; and two grandsons. She is survived by her husband; six sons and daughters, Albert, Samuel, Gabino, Andrew, Priscilla and Leticia; 21 grandchildren; and 39 great-grandchildren.

Wake and rosary from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at J. Warren Funeral Services, Valley Chapel, with social distancing guidelines and masks required. Funeral closed at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21. Graveside service in Eloy Memorial Park, open with social distancing required.

Anyone wishing to make a donation may contact J. Warren Funeral Services.

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