Serving the community since 1970

Ana María Barajas de Esparza

Dec. 11, 1953 – Aug. 18, 2020

Ana María Barajas de Esparza, 66, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Aug. 18, 2020, at her ranch in Buttonwillow.

Ana María was born in Mexicali, México, on Dec. 11, 1953, to her father, Miguel Barajas, and mother, Maria de la Luz Rico del Rio.

Ana María grew up in San Diego Buena Vista, Michoacán. She helped raise her eight siblings with her mother, while her father worked in Fresno as a migrant Bracero farm laborer. Life in the ranches of México was different than that of the United States. In México, Ana María would carry pails of water from the community well throughout the day to drink, bathe and clean. Washing machines were nonexistent, so she would do her entire family's laundry with an unrelenting effort against hard rock surfaces.

Ana María would also work on her family's ranch and help plant and sow garbanzos, pinto beans and corn. She would then take raw corn to grind at the tortilleria for masa so that she could make tortillas on the wood-burning stove. Ana María worked tirelessly to help raise her eight siblings and support her family, which made her into the matriarch she will forever be remembered as.

Ana María married Enrique Esparza in 1971 in San Diego Buena Vista, Michoacán. They were happily married for 14 years until his passing in January 1985. During their marriage, Ana María and Enrique lived in Nayarit, México, for a short period and relocated to Tijuana, Baja California, México, where they began a family.

While in México, Ana María began to sprout roots to lay the foundation for her garden, giving birth to Virginia Esparza, Enrique Esparza and Jesus Esparza. Soon after Jesus was born, Ana María and Enrique immigrated to the Central Valley to work in farm labor as migrant workers. Ana María and Enrique worked with undefeatable strength in the cotton fields, grapes, plum trees and other agriculture work throughout the Central Valley, in towns including Dinuba, Hanford, McFarland, Shafter, Pixley and Parlier. Soon after, Ana María and Enrique grew their garden grove with more saplings; Jose Esparza, Everardo Esparza, Alonzo Esparza and Rogelio Esparza.

After a few years of toiling the earth in the Central Valley, Ana María and Enrique began their new family home in Buttonwillow, where they began to firmly extend their roots that began in México. After Enrique's passing, Ana María raised her seven children with the unrelenting help of her eldest daughter, Virginia, both working tirelessly to support their family.

Ana María later sowed three more saplings to her family garden: Pedro Garcia, Monica Garcia and lastly Erineo Garcia (her 10th child).

Ana María, the matriarch of this blossoming garden that is her family, is survived by eight children, 15 granddaughters, 10 great-grandchildren, 7 siblings and many close relatives. After an incredible life filled with so much love, laughter and joy, Ana María Barajas de Esparza will be remembered as a hard-working, loving and inspirational matriarch.

A viewing and Rosary will be held at Basham & Lara Funeral Care in Shafter on Saturday, Aug. 29, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. A second viewing will be held at Doña Ana's Ranch in Buttonwillow starting at 8 p.m. onward on Sunday, Aug. 30. Church services will be held at St. Theresa's Church in Shafter, at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 31, with burial at Shafter Cemetery.


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