May 6, 1944 - May 2, 2019
Cecilia Olivarez-Huerta, age 74, of Lincoln, died May 2, 2019, in her home. She was surrounded by family and love. Cecilia was born May 6, 1944 in Bridgeport to John and Mary Olivarez. She attended Bayard Schools and graduated in 1962 when she attended the Lincoln School of Commerce. She was the first Latina from Western Nebraska to attend the school. She married and had four children. Cecilia spent her life in service to people and to her community. She was an advocate for the Mexican-American people. She served as the executive director for the Mexican-American Commission for 14 years until she retired in 2010. In her words, she was a high-energy, gregarious ear-bender and the job fit her personality. As executive director, Cecilia proposed legislation, conducted hearings, conferences, and special studies on problems and programs concerning Latinos.
She earned many awards during her service and a few are named here: Woman of Color Award – 1994, Presidential Diversity Advisory Committee (where she met with President Clinton) – 1997, Nebraska Network 21 Leadership and Vision Award - 2001, Human Rights Award by Lincoln Commission – 2001, SHEsteem Award – 2002, Nebraska Military Department, Certificate of Appreciation, Admiral of the Navy, State of Nebraska, 2006 Government Leadership Award, Latino Leadership Conference - 2006, Humanitarian Award, Nebraska Commemoration - 2009, Lifetime Achievement Award, Latino Heritage Awards, Barrientos Scholarship Foundation - 2009, YWCA Tribute to Women Award – 2009, Award for caring for others and promoting the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – 2010, Installment to Library of Congress; “Neustros Tesoros, Una Celebracion de la Herencia Mexcana de Nebraska”
Cecilia is survived by four children, Janet Fiala of Lincoln, Anita Olivarez Eisenhauer (Mary Ellen Moynahan), of West Hurley, N.Y., Michael Eisenhauer of Lincoln, and Monica Olivarez Eisenhauer of Sioux City, Iowa; seven grandchildren, Chris, John, Elisabeth, Anthony, Alicia, Meagan, and Lucas; three great-grandchildren, Connor, Payton, and Lucian; sisters and brothers Sally Dion of Omaha, Leno Olivarez (Debbie) of Columbus, Ga., Anthony Olivarez of Kearney, and Genevieve Olivarez-Conklin (Scott) of Port Kent, N.Y.; her uncle and aunts, Robin Olivarez of Texarkana, Texas, Jane Hernandez of Bayard, Ruby Marquez of Gering, Irene Brabo of El Paso, Texas, Bernard Rodriguez, Gering; and numerous nieces and nephews and cousins. Cecilia was preceded in death by her parents, John and Mary Olivarez, as well as aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides of the family.
Cecilia was an excellent cook and held many family gatherings at her home. She loved her family and people and she lived a good life. We love her and will miss her. May the perpetual light shine upon you, Cecilia.
Rosary: 7 p.m. Sunday (5-5) Roper and Sons Chapel, 4300 ‘O' Street. Funeral Mass: 10 a.m. Monday (5-6) St. John The Apostle Catholic Church, 7601 Vine Street. Inurnment of ashes at a later date in Bayard. Memorials in lieu of flowers to the family for Cecilia Huerta Scholarship Fund. No visitation, cremation. Condolences online at Roperandsons.com.