Carmen M. Sotelo was born in Acapulco, Mexico on January 16th, 1931. Her parents were Joaquin Tejedo-Urguijo and Josefina Bernal-Arroyo. She was their second child. She was born soon after her older brother passed away from dysentery. Her sister Antoinette was born two years later. Her parents had moved to Acapulco from Mexico City looking for opportunities to start businesses of their own. Her parents became very well-known and successful in Acapulco running a hotel as well as other businesses.
Carmen met her beloved husband Jesus in Acapulco when they were just kids. They lived only a few blocks down the street from each other and quickly became friends. Mom shared that she always thought Jesus was so handsome and smart. Over time, they began dating and became boyfriend and girlfriend. Carmen and Jesus both needed to move to Mexico City to finish their higher education, as it was not available in Acapulco at that time. Carmen attended a boarding school run by nuns for eight years and Jesus went to High School then College and Medical School. This was a challenging season of their lives as they missed spending time together. They were so in love with each other, always planning time to see each other whenever their school schedules allowed. While in school, Mom spent her days with the nuns and whenever she was on vacation, she spent time with her parents at their hotel, learning to run the business. One of the stories she shared with us was how she would often read late at night at the convent. There was always a curfew that was strictly enforced but Mom found a way to read by pulling the covers over her head using a small flashlight.
In 1955, they were married in Mexico City. After Jesus worked in San Salvador and in private practice in Acapulco, he was offered a position at Mercy Hospital in Hamilton, Ohio. They moved to Hamilton in 1963. Sergio was seven years old, and Marcela was two years old. Living in the United States was difficult at first because she didn't have family around to help with the children; she had to learn a new language and Jesus's medical career was very demanding. She became very independent and self-sufficient during this time. In 1969. They were able to build their first home which was a dream fulfilled.
During the years Carmen lived in Hamilton, she was very involved in community affairs. She was a part of the Speakers Association. She created an International Club where there were 20 nationalities represented. She helped with the Rotary Club's International Exchange Program. She taught Spanish at Catholic Elementary schools for 15 years. She was passionate about teaching the language. Carmen loved to learn new things and to build upon skills she had already acquired. She took sewing and cooking classes, piano and organ lessons, oil painting and drawing classes and attended Miami University for two years. She was also the president of the Medical Auxiliary. She played tennis and even belonged to a tennis team for several years. She loved cooking, especially introducing people to authentic Mexican Food. A favorite memory of ours is making fresh tortillas with her.
When Jesus retired in 1994, they decided to move to Arizona to be closer to their children and grandchildren. She was very involved with her grandchildren, attending athletic and dance events and teaching them about their heritage. One of the things she was most proud of was beginning a Hispanic Ministry at St. Bernard of Clairvaux Catholic Church in 2001.She wanted to form a group to become active and more visible, not only in church activities, but also reaching out and helping the Hispanic community in Arizona. She kept the group very busy with Spanish classes for the parish children, English practice for adults, and a wonderful Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration every December. She was able to pass her legacy along to this dedicated group of parishioners and they are still going strong 22 years later. This ministry was one of her greatest joys in retired life.
Mom was a devoted wife, Mom, Grandma and Great Grandma. She was dedicated to loving and caring for her family with all her heart. She shared her Catholic faith with her family and her beautiful devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Over the past few years, she would read Scriptures and pray. God was with her in the mountains and valleys of her life. She always was there for us no matter what we were going through, offering prayers and wisdom acquired over the years of her life. We will always honor her memory and pass down her inspirational life story to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She lost her beloved Husband Jesus in October of 2022 after 67 years of marriage. We are sure they are together again in Heaven and very proud of the legacy they have left behind.
She is survived by her son Sergio Sotelo and daughter-in-law Judy, and her daughter Marcela Clark and son-in-law Timothy. She is also survived by six grandchildren: Matt Sotelo and his wife Lauren, Daniel Sotelo and his wife Laura, Jenny Sotelo, Scott Lampert and his wife Jenah, Mark Lampert and David Lampert. She was also blessed with four great grandchildren: Haddie and Matthew Sotelo, Kiernan Lampert and Oliver Sotelo.
We miss you and love you so much Mom! You will forever be in our hearts. "I am the Resurrection and the Life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even though they die." John 11:25