Honoring & Remembering Alejandra “Ollie” Zuniga

ollieAlejandra Riojas was born on May 17, 1923 in Gonzales, Texas. She married Amado Tom Zuniga on May 9, 1947 in Lakeview, Michigan. Ollie was a member of the St. Mary Cathedral where she served as an usher.

She was a lifetime member of the American GI Forum where she served as an Offcer on the Local, State and National levels. She was responsible for organizing conferences and conventions and on numerous occasions was the Convention Chairperson.

Ollie’s first job in Michigan was as an Assembler at the Gibson Refrigeration Company in Greenville. She then went to the School of Cosmetology and from 1947 to 1960 she had her own Beauty Salon in her home. She later was employed at the Osteopathic Hospital for 20 years, where she worked as a Surgical Assistant in the Operating Room and also served as an interpreter for Spanish speaking patients.

She then became Coordinator for the Project PRIDE Tutoring Program with the School District of the City of Saginaw, retiring in 2007. She served as a Board Member for Tri-City SER, First Ward Community Center, Multi-Purpose Center, YMCA, and the Saginaw Human Planning Commission. Ollie was a member of the Hispanic Education Foundation, Democratic Party, Latin Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLLA), Michigan Spanish Speaking Democrats, Possible Dream Scholarship Program with Delta College, and the Mid-West Voter Registration Hispanic Leadership Conference out of Chicago, Illinois under the leadership of Dr. Juan Andrade. She was on the Committee for Representative Mike Hanley, served as National Corporate Board Member for the Women in Community Service (WICS). She served on the Committee for Mexican Pioneer Day, National Veterans Outreach Program, Hispanic Advisory Committee, and for Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University.

Ollie was appointed by the Governor of Michigan to serve on the commission of the Department of Social Services of Michigan.

Alejandra was invited to the White House in 1987 and 1988 for briengs on Central America. She has received numerous awards for her affiliations throughout her lifetime.

The family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the staff at New Hope Valley and Hospice Advantage/Compassus for taking compassionate care of her.

Surviving are her children: Thomas A. (Lorraine) Zuniga of Florida, Ruby Schuler of Tennessee, Dennis Zuniga of Saginaw, Elizabeth (Bruce) Isotalo of Saginaw; seven grandchildren: Kristina, Eddie (Diane), Laurie (Scott), Craig (Shannon), Lisa (Dwayne), Tricia (Steve) and Michael; 16 great-grandchildren: Tatiana, Johnny, Martin, Brea, Rico, Talia, Nicholas, Ariana, Lil Eddie, Jeremiah, Alexis, Avery, Leighton, Amado, Cierra and Alyssa.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Amado Tom Zuniga and a daughter, Deborah Lynn Zuniga.

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