Emelinda Martins Rodrigues , 89, of Chacim , Portugal, died on Tuesday at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, Rahway.
Relatives & Friends are kindly invited to attend the funeral on Friday, July 21 from the August F. Schmidt Memorial Funeral Home, 139 Westfield Ave., Elizabeth at 10:00 AM. Visiting Thursday 6-8 PM.
Ermelinda Martins Rodrigues was born on January 1st, 1928 in Chacim, Cabeceiras de Basto, Portugal. Because there were no teachers in her town, she only went to school at age 13. She was too old to start first grade, so she went to second grade. Because she was a fast learner, the teacher passed her to third grade, where she completed two years of school in one year and received her third grade diploma. She married her first cousin, Abilio Martins, at age 26. She was five years his senior. She was the youngest of five sisters. When her husband emigrated to Angola in the late 50's. She stayed behind with their two children, a daughter and a son. She was also the chosen one to take care of her elderly ill mother. For the next 18 years, her husband made few visits to the homeland, where they had two more children, another son and another daughter. She worked hard to raise their children, by holding agricultural jobs to provide for her family. In March of 1976, her eldest daughter, Maria da Natividade, at the age of 20, dies of Leukemia. In July 1979, at the age of 52, Ermelinda adventured with her husband and their two younger children to the promised land, America, where her husband's siblings had emigrated to, in the late 50's. In 1982, during the Reagan era and during high unemployment and hard economic times, Ermelinda decided to return back home with her husband and their younger daughter Grace. Soon afterwards, at the age of 18, her middle son, Antonio Jose, becomes mentally ill, classified with schizophrenia. Months later, she filed for divorce and returns to the United States in 1983 with her minor daughter Grace and took care of her mentally ill son. In 1985, her older son, Abilio Jose, emigrated to the United States and joined the family. He was not able to emigrate earlier with his parents as he was serving in the military service in Portugal. Since her divorce in 1983, Ermelinda continued to work in the United States to support her minor daughter and mentally ill son, as well as to qualify for her pension later on. She held all kinds of physical factory jobs at minimum wage pay. Ermelinda worked her entire life in hopes of a better future for her children. Ermelinda was greatly admired by her family and friends, as her religious beliefs guided her to be a selfless, loving, caring mother. She was the last survivor of her siblings. She is survived by her son, Abilio Jose Rodrigues Martins and his wife Nilva Regina DaSilva, her son, Antonio Jose Rodrigues Martins, and her daughter Grace Martins and her husband Marco Antonio Costa, and her grandson Abilio Semedo Martins.