Ernestina “Ernie” Montez Flores of Phoenix passed away peacefully surrounded by family on April 3, 2021 at the age of 94.
She was born in Miami, Ariz. to Guadalupe “Lupe” Nora and Jose Montez. She never knew her father as he died in a mining accident when she was two. Her only brother, Robert, also died in a mining accident. Ernestina grew up in Miami and attended Miami High School, until she married at Blessed Sacrament Church to her husband, Ricardo “Richard” Flores, and moved to Ray Sonora, Arizona where Richard worked in the Kennecott Mine. It was there where their first son, Richard Jr. “Dickie” was born. Upon Richard completing studies at ASU all while still working in the mines at night, Ernie and Richard moved to Phoenix in 1960, joined the St. Thomas the Apostle parish and lived in the neighborhood. Ernie was very active in the St. Thomas church and school, which her now 3 children attended. She was a member and leader in Our Lady’s Sodality, and with Richard, they were very active leaders in the Parish Youth Organization (PYO), and boys and girls scouting. Ernie often served as homeroom mother and assisted in the classroom. Ernie & Richard had a wide circle of work, parish, school, neighborhood and old hometown friends from Miami, Superior and Kearny, with whom they kept in close contact with throughout their lives. There would often be lively get togethers in their home for every milestone, holiday and no particular occasion at all. Ernie was the ultimate hostess! Ernie & Richard loved to dance and would often break out in dance, right in the family room, when a favorite song was playing. They loved to play bridge as a couple, but after Richard’s untimely death in 1998, Ernie’s bridge ladies became her family. Ernestina was a beautiful woman known for her kindness, generosity, and her excellent sense of fashion. She spread her embracing warmth and good cheer to all who crossed her path. Ernie was always so gracious, and her smile was infectious.
Ernie was a wonderful mother; she had a very gentle manner about her. She was a very dedicated mother who would stay up until the last child came home no matter how late. She was a very popular mom in the neighborhood with her homemade tortillas and amazing baked creations. As a grandmother she was very hands on, loving and present. All of her 5 grandchildren revered her, and she completely loved them! She was also a very devout keeper of the faith. She attended daily mass at St. Thomas and spent an hour a day in dedicated prayer with her prayer book. She was always prepared to join our Lord but prayed a daily intention to live long enough until her children were grown and on their own. She achieved that and more.
Ernie took great pride in her work as a special education teaching assistant in the Madison School District. She worked with children with Down Syndrome. Her students and families adored her, and she felt the same way about them.
Ernie was preceded in death by her husband, Ricardo “Richard” Flores, and sons, Richard “Dick” Flores and William “Chico” Flores. Also, her siblings Natalia Madrid, Carmen Monje, Lupe Norman and Robert Montez. She is survived by her daughter, Carol Flores Dries (Charlie) and grandchildren Elizabeth “Betsie”, Ellen “Ellie”, Charles “Chuck” and Richard Charles “RC” Dries. Also, granddaughter, Trina Flores Van Os (Eric) and their children, Coren and Melody Van Os, and many beloved nieces, nephews and friends.
While we mourn our loss, we rejoice and are glad in knowing that Ernie is with our Lord Savior Jesus Christ, where she is also reunited with Richard, Dick, Will and other loved ones. This is what she has wanted for a long time.
Visitation will be Friday, April 16, 2021 from 2-6 p.m. at Whitney Murphy Funeral Home, 4800 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix.
A funeral mass will be held Saturday, April 17, 2021 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 2312 E. Campbell Ave in Phoenix, at 10 a.m. with a burial at St. Francis Cemetery to follow. A reception will be held at Carol and Charlie’s immediately after services.
The mass will be live streamed on the St. Thomas the Apostle website and a link to the mass will be put up on Carol’s Facebook page the next day.
The family suggests donations to St. Vincent de Paul. Condolences and Hugs from Home may be expressed at www.whitneymurphyfuneralhome.com.