Christina Figueroa of Bronx, New York passed away on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. Christina was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico on December 5, 1938. She spent the first seven years of her life in the countryside and beautiful Caribbean landscapes of Puerto Rico.
At the age of 8 Christina and her two brothers Carlos and Domingo along with their mother Natividad Way packed up all of their belongings and moved to New York to join their father, Arcardio Lugo Way who had settled in New York City ahead of them. He worked as a porter on the B&O Railroad and saved money to move his family from the poverty of Puerto Rico. He eventually opened his restaurant and settled the family in the Spanish Harlem section of New York City. As a girl, "Quita" (a nickname her father gave her because she was little), loved to roller skate, dance, go to the movies and spend time with her mother. As a teen, Christina attended the local public school and then attended and graduated Julia Richmond High School (1959) in New York City with a special interest in nursing and health services.
Christina loved to entertain. She enjoyed the gathering of people to celebrate any occasion. She thrived in the planning of an event whether it be Easter dinner, small birthday parties for her children, Thanksgiving or Christmas gatherings or her annual New Year’s Eve dance party. She loved cooking and experimenting with different flavors and pairings that would allow her to create original recipes. She was a culinary artist and revelled in the joy of watching others delight in her food creations.
Christina also loved dancing. She was self-taught in salsa dancing, a right of passage initiated by her two brothers that stayed with her throughout her life. Christina enjoyed weekend traveling to local area destinations and always had a next trip in her plans. Christina also enjoyed watching old movies and musicals, Spanish Novelas, British comedies and sewing. She loved to fill the house with music - all kinds of music. At any time she would play classical, pop, Italian love songs, musicals, salsa, disco, soul, R&B and American Standards. She had a great appreciation for the arts, an interest she passed along to her children, and loved visiting museums, plays, parks, art exhibits, concerts and restaurants. However her biggest interest was in her three daughters and their care and well-being. With the help of her husband, Christina strategically managed her home’s modest budget to put her daughters through private school - making great sacrifices and oftentimes even collecting bottles so her children would have a better education. She always tried to improve herself and saw education as a way to accomplish a better life. She attended both Lehman and Monroe College in the Bronx to study nursing; however her own studies were cut short due to limited resources and to care for her children.
Christina was always a caring, Christian woman who felt compelled to help others. She often looked after her elderly neighbors, running errands for them, checking in on them, bringing them food or taking them to doctor appointments - a ritual she lived by for 40 years. Christina worked in various jobs over the years, but held her longest position as an International bank check processor with Chase Bank for 13 years before retiring early to care for ailing her mother. At age 55 she became a land owner of property in St Augustine, FL and always dreamed of building a home and retiring there. At age 57 Christina was accepted into the prestigious Peter Kump's Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in New York to study in their Culinary Arts Program - fulfilling a lifelong dream. Christina thrived and graduated from the program and started catering from her home to a small, private client-base so she could continue caring for her ailing mother. Finally, Christina was a fun person, who enjoyed joking, laughing, shopping and cooking for her family.
She is pre-deceased by her father Arcadio Lugo Way, her mother Natividad Espada Way, her father-in-law Felix Figueroa, sister-in-laws Olga Mercado Way, Loretta Way and Lydia Candelario and her only son, Mark Anthony Figueroa.
She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Thomas Figueroa and their beloved daughters, Desidette Klemmer, Denise Lester and Laurette Figueroa; her sons in law, Wilhelm Klemmer and Sidney Lester; her two brothers, Carlos and Domingo Way and sister in law Marie Way; her brother-in-law, Edwin Candelario and her niece Katherine Candelario Gonzalez and two nephews, Kurt Candelario and Michael Way and her 9 grandchildren; Patrick (34), Katrina (24), Kristen (22), Kassandra (20), William (18), Sloan (23), Madison (20), Blake (16) and Sara (11).
In lieu of flowers, please consider a tribute or honor gift to Alzheimer's Association in her name.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Ralph Giordano Funeral Home.
To share a memory, or leave an online condolence, please visit www.giordanofuneralhome.com
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Alzheimer's Foundation of America
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