Mary Salome Arrieta

The family of Mary Salome Arrieta wishes to share the celebration of her remarkable life with the Marfa, Texas, community. She passed away peacefully at the home of her son Dominic Arrieta on March 25, 2021, in Tucson, Ariz. Mary would have been 102 this October, and all who knew her can attest to the fact that she lived every moment to its fullest.  

Praying of the Most Holy Rosary was held March 31, 2021, followed by Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, with Father John Paul Madanu serving as Funeral Celebrant. Burial followed at the Marfa Catholic Cemetery.  

She was born on Oct. 22, 1919 in Shafter, Texas, to her parents Enrique “Henry” Madrid, an engineer for Presidio Silver Mining Company, and Maria Gonzales Madrid.  

Mary was trained by the Sisters of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, to become a kindergarten and first grade teacher at St. Mary’s in Marfa, where she taught for 16 years. She was fondly greeted by previous students as “teacher” throughout her life. The sisters saw talent in Mary, training her in both music and dance. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she became the dance director at St. Mary’s, teaching Mexican folk dancing and flamenco.  

Mary met her husband of 41 years, Dominic T. Arrieta, while he was stationed in Marfa. The two were married on July 12, 1942. Their son Dominic was born a year later, with Dominic senior receiving orders to be shipped to Los Angeles, Calif., and then the South Pacific theater, the day after little Nic was born.

Maria shared a unique bond with her sisters Bertha Castillo and Paula Nunez, living together with their mother and raising their children while their husbands were away serving their country. She also shared a love of music with her sisters, singing in the choir at St. Mary’s for over 45 years.  

Maria was a pioneering businesswoman. For many years, she worked at Winn’s Department Store with her sisters, learning to manage a business and saving to open something she could call her own. In the late 1970s, she followed her passion, starting her first establishment out of the trunk of her car. Maria proved herself a talented businesswoman, eventually forming the Ava Maria Religious Gift Shop with her sisters, which thrived for over 24 years. The gift shop was a place where dedicated patrons from Presidio, Brewster, and Jeff Davis counties came to make special purchases for their loved ones and invest in a home grown local business. Maria was an invested member in her community, the recipient of the Marfa Businesswoman of the Year honor, a member of the Catholic Daughters of America, and a volunteer at the Marfa Food Bank. 

Maria is survived by her son Dominic T. Arrieta and her daughter-in-law Barbara V. Arrieta; her niece Gloria Nunez and her nephew Frank Castillo; her five grandchildren, Julietta M. Arrieta Fletcher, Javier D. Arrieta, Jaime B. Arrieta, Julissa M. Arrieta, and Junilla B. Arrieta; her seven great grandchildren, Adrianna N. Rodriguez, Frank W. Fletcher, Dominic A. Fletcher, Genavieve M. Arrieta, Renee T. Arrieta, Annalisa M. Fletcher, and Salome R. Arrieta; and her six great great grandchildren. 

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Services were entrusted to Alpine Memorial Funeral Home, Alpine, Texas.