Saturday, July 22, 2017

Snapshots of a full life

Arizona Daily Star, 15 Aug 1998.

When I started researching the family of Francisco Suastegui and Laura Vasquez, I did not realize the fascinating story that would be found. Francisco was a Mexican diplomat and son of jeweler and silversmith Rafael Suastegui. Rafael was a grandson of Jose Antonio Suastegui and Maria Ignacia Canete, my 6th-great-grandparents. Laura was a daughter of noted blacksmith Adolfo Vasquez and Amelia Heras. Adolfo was a son of Concepcion Suastegui and Francisco Vasquez, and Concepcion was a sister of my 5th-great-grandfather Pedro Suastegui. While there is a family connection to Francisco and Laura, I know am a bit far removed from a direct connection to the family. I also know that there is a large branch of distant cousins on this side of the tree who may find this information, so I hope this is useful to them.

In August 1998, the Arizona Daily Star published a long interview with then 90-year old Amelia Suastegui Vasquez, daughter of Francisco Suastegui and Laura Vasquez. It is a great interview and captures the recollections of someone who clearly lived a full life. In her early years she lived the life of a diplomat's daughter, even attending a reception at the White House in 1926. She trained as a concert pianist and moved to New York City, Washington DC and Mexico City.
Arizona Daily Star, 15 Aug 1998.
In 1939, Amelia married Frank Vasquez. They moved back to Tucson where he was continuing the family business in ornamental ironworking. The interview notes that Amelia took painting classes in her 70s at the University of Arizona. I wonder if any of her paintings are around in Tucson today.

Amelia passed away on 9 September 2004 at the age of 96. My great-grandfather Plutarco Vasquez Campuzano also lived to be 96, so there must be something in the genes for the family in Arizona. Amelia's obituary says she is survived by 24 grandchildren, 48 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren. She left a great legacy and clearly lived a fascinating life. If any distant cousins stumble on this page or others I have posted on the Vasquez and Suastegui branches of the family, I would be interested to know more about her art and if there are any old photos of family life in Tucson.
Arizona Daily Star, 10 Sep 2004

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