Ernestina (Tina) was born December 7, 1933 in Bauta, Havana Province, Cuba. She was born to Benito and Ernestina Diaz. She grew up in the suburbs of Havana and studied to become a school teacher. She married Jose Gutierrez in 1954 and had two children, Maria and Fidel during one of the most tumultuous times in Cuba.
Leaving their country behind:
Tina immigrated with her family from Cuba to the United States in 1965. This decision was difficult as it meant giving up their Cuban citizenship, their jobs, and as a result their financial livelihood. For two years they survived with help from friends and family until they had permission from the government to leave. They left all their possessions behind. And most painfully they left most of their family.
Starting a new life:
The Gutierrez family settled in Yonkers NY. About a year later their family was completed when their last daughter, Marilyn was born in 1967. Tina worked hard and learned English. With the help of her family she insisted on returning back to school. Over the course of time, she went on to earn two Master's degrees and became a NYC Public School kindergarten teacher at PS 128 in Washington Heights. She was instrumental in starting a Mentorship program to aid teachers in the ESL programs. Tina was an integral part of the community and many students would come back to visit her later in life and thank her for the love and teaching they had received.
Meaningful Life Experiences:
Tina loved her family. She poured herself into her husband, lovingly called Cuco. Her children: Maria, Fidel and Marilyn were loves of her life. She loved and cared for all her grandchildren in her own special way whereas each one remembers her acts of kindness and love. Her faith was a huge part of her life. Her favorite scripture was 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given me a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind”. She found much comfort in knowing Jesus as Savior and attending church. Tina expressed her love of teaching through serving in Children's ministry for many years. Tina LOVED music and dancing. Whenever music was played, she was certainly either singing or dancing, tapping her feet and rejoicing. Tina lived a full life making every moment count.
She is survived by her sister Mabel Fernandez, brother Pauino Forte, Children; Maria, Fidel and Marilyn. Grandchildren; Desiree, Nelson, Jaclyn, Deanna, Alexa. Great-Grandchildren; Sophia, Thomas and Nicholas
If a charitable donation is your desire in lieu of flowers you may make a donation in rememberance of Tina to the Alzheimer’s Association by clicking here