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Catholic Charities Corporation Administrative Offices:

7911 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102

(216) 334-2900

Hispanic Senior Center Takes Care of Funeral Expenses for Participant

Posted July 03, 2024

People in the community come together for many reasons. They gather for a sense of belonging, support one another, learn from each other, and so much more.

The Hispanic Senior Center in Cleveland offers both recreational and socialization activities for older Hispanic adults at St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church’s Hall.

Ramon Campos came to the United States from Cuba when Fidel Castro announced the Mariel Boatlift, which allowed Cubans to emigrate off the island.

Mr. Campos found his way to Cleveland, Ohio, and started to participate in the Hispanic Senior Center’s programs and activities regularly.

“He [Mr. Campos] lived on 197thand Euclid and would take buses just to come to the senior center, that’s how much he loved it here…” Director of the Hispanic Senior Center, Ramonita Rodrigeuz-Johnson said.

Earlier this year Mr. Campos was walking to the bus stop with a friend from the center and was struck by a car while crossing the street.

“A young man made kind of like a fast left turn and then ended up striking him [Mr. Campos]” Ramonita said.

Mr. Campos was rushed to the hospital for medical attention while his friend found their way back to the senior center to let everyone know about the accident.

“One of my workers went to the hospital to see about him…They took him up immediately to the ICU. We didn't hear anything more about it til the next day.” Ramonita said.

Sadly, Mr. Campos passed away the night of the accident from his injuries.

“He had no family, his friends were the people here at the senior center, and so I contacted the coroner’s office to see what was going to happen to him,” Ramonita said.

Ramonita did not want Mr. Campos buried in Potter’s field, where those who have died alone or who had no money for a burial are laid to rest.

“I believed he deserved a burial with dignity on consecrated ground,” Ramonita said.

She immediately called Jimmy, from Craciun Berry Funeral Home to see what they could do.

Jimmy informed Ramonita that he had a connection with someone at Calvary Cemetery who would be able to help with funeral arrangements for free.

“I coordinated with the funeral home in Euclid to have his [Mr. Campos] ashes delivered to Craciun’s and then Jimmy made the arrangements to have him buried at Calvary Cemetery,” Ramonita said.

The support and sense of community did not stop there. Ramonita also reached out to Father Mark from St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church across the street to ask him if he could be the priest for the burial.

“Father Mark knew of him [Mr. Campos] and had spoken to us about who he was and what he meant to the senior center,” Ramonita said, “He learned this very famous Cuban song on his guitar… including Guantanamera,”

Ramonita and her team were able to bring the entire senior center to the burial and honor their friend.

“All of our seniors were there and it was a wonderful service and a wonderful way to honor someone who had been a part of us and had nobody…we made sure he was buried properly,” Ramonita said.

Making funeral arrangements can be a busy and overwhelming time, but Ramonita and her team were determined to make sure Mr. Campos had a proper, Catholic burial.

“I just felt like people were by themselves… they don’t need to be buried in Potters Field with no gravestone, with nothing,” Ramonita said, “I just thought it was the right thing to do, the compassionate thing to do, the Catholic thing to do.”

Being able to do this for Mr. Campos was not only able to give closure to his friends at the senior center, but for Ramonita, it’s a way to represent Catholic Charities.

“…It was not only something we valued as workers and as a center, but I know Catholic Charities valued what we did, and for sure know Ramon did,” Ramonita said.

Are you or someone you know interested in our Hispanic Services programs? Click the button below to view a full list of programs.

Hispanic Services Programs

Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Part of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

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