Carmen Marie Guerra “Fireball”

Last week, Carmen Marie Guerra (79) passed away in her sleep. Many in the Latino community were sadden to learn of the news. Those that knew her always called Carmen a lady that was known for many hats she wore in her private and public life.

According to her family, Carmen had many employers including Model Cities, The Board of Education, Skelly Oil, Eastman Kodak, Jackson County Courthouse as a Mental Health Investigator, and the Finance Department Department of Kansas City. She served the Westside community by volunteering in countless organizations, including Citizen Association Board of Directors, vice chairperson for Westside Planning Association, chairperson for University of Missouri Kansas City’s Outreach Advisory Board, chairperson for Ralph Sifuentes, Unit 437, American Legion Auxiliary, chairperson for League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Guadalupe Parish Center board of directors, Guadalupe Parish Fiesta Committee 1976-1986 where she spearheaded the Baby contest which raised a substantial profit for the Mexican Fiesta. She directed a dance group for the Chanute Kansas Mexican Fiestas for several years. Her Madison block was one of the first blocks on the Westside to participate in block parties on the 4th of July.

Carmen found her true passion for service by running for Committeewoman and holding that post from 1978-1992. She was a delegate to the Democratic State Convention 1980 and 1984. She unsuccessfully ran for State Representative 23rd District and lost by a minimal margin. Carmen had the privilege of representing Kansas City, Missouri at the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Community activist Alice Gomez told Hispanic News, “Our hearts are filled with sadness because we lost a great woman … a lady that worked so hard for the Westside community. She was committed wholeheartedly to the Westside. She set goals for herself and she worked hard to meet those goals. We appreciated everything she did for us.”

Gomez added that she and Carmen worked side by side getting Robert “Bobby” Hernandez elected to the KCMO City Council back in the 70’s and 80’s. Hernandez became the first Hispanic to be elected to the City Council. Gomez added that Carmen would not want people to be sad, “she would want us to celebrate her life with a drink and give her a toast, ‘you know.’”

Hernandez said Carmen had a good heart and was heavily vested in the community. She worked hard on campaigns and issues. Hernandez added she was a grassroots kind of person.

“She had a lot of friends and she got them involved, got them working and she used her family well. If someone would say something bad about me she would argue with them for hours,” recalled Hernandez.

Laura Guerra Rivera said being raised in her mother’s household was something unique. Rivera said St. Patrick day was her mother’s favorite holiday.

‘She would hang up all the green she could find. She taught us to be active and be involved in the community. She taught us about our culture, and the Mexican music. We picked up a lot. We had Mexican clothes, Mexican hats. She would go to Mexico and pick up all these different artifacts.”

Rivera recalled her mother saying when the time came she just wanted a simple box (casket) with an American and Mexican flag draped over her it.

“That’s just the way she was. She loved helping people,” said Rivera. “No one was a stranger it was her natural gift. … She was a go-getter. She loved to do things for others and I’ll miss her cooking. She loved to cook and we loved her food.”

Carmen was born May 2, 1936 to Jesse Enriquez and Conception Sepulveda. Survivors include a brother Jesse Enriquez and a sister Trinidad Davila, three beautiful daughters, Laura Guerra Rivera, (Michael), Gloria Guerra, and Mona Lisa Murillo (Chris). Carmen had 5 grandchildren, Nicholas Rocha Jr., Austin Rivera, Yvette Murillo, Phillip Rivera ll, and Christian Murillo; 5 great grandchildren, Reuben Rivera ll, Benicio Rivera, Sandino Rivera and Phillip Rivera lll.

Family and friends gathered for a visitation on Monday, March 20th, 2017, and a rosary recital at McGilley Midtown Chapel, KCMO. A funeral mass was held Tuesday, March 21st at Our Làdy Of Guadalupe Shrine, 901 Caeser Chavez Blvd.

To share a memory or to leave condolences please visit, www.mcgilleymidtownchapel.com.