I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there is a crown waiting for me. It is given to those who are right with God. The Lord, who judges fairly, will give it to me on the day he returns. He will not give it only to me. He will also give it to all those who are longing for him to return. 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIRV)
Elvia Mercedes Prado de Lugo of Orlando, Florida was born in Panama City, in the Republic of Panama, on August 6, 1927. She passed away on February 10, 2020, at the age of 92.
On February 13, 1946, at the age of 18, she married Elpidio Lugo Faria, the love of her life, a young soldier and native of Puerto Rico. They met while he was in the Army, stationed at the Panama Canal during World War II. It was always his opinion that she was the prettiest lady he had ever seen. Following the war, they settled in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, where he attended engineering school and she worked as a seamstress. In 1952, while in Puerto Rico, they started a family when their first child Xiomara was born. Elpidio became an officer achieving the rank of 1st Lieutenant, and also served during the Korean conflict. Like most young military families, they moved frequently. They continued to add to their family less than a year later when their second daughter Maureen was born, at Ft. Bliss in El Paso Texas, where they were stationed at the time. In 1956, their first son Allan was born in Los Angeles, California. A short while later, around 1957, they moved to Orlando and fell in love with the area. Their dream was always to retire in Orlando in their golden years. After completing his military duties, they moved their growing family to State College, Pennsylvania where Elpidio attended graduate school at Penn State University. Elvia tended to the children and was well known for her sense of style and the fashionable outfits she sewed for her children. While in Pennsylvania their fourth child Sergio and youngest daughter Vilma were born. A few years later in 1968, the family settled back in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico and eventually Ponce, Puerto Rico, where they spent many happy years. Later in his career, Elpidio specialized in nuclear engineering while working for General Electric when he was commissioned in 1977 to work at the Grand Gulf Nuclear plant in Mississippi in its early start up days. Elvia effortlessly switched from place to place and between Spanish and English like a pro while always preferring Spanish as her main language, leading their five children to be bilingual. While at home, she always insisted that Spanish be spoken.
Through the years she enjoyed crafts, especially crocheting and ceramics. She also had a love for sewing and cooking large meals where many family feuds ensued over her delicious flans. She loved cooking Puerto Rican meals with a mixture of Panamanian flavors added. She was the mom that all the kids in the neighborhood loved and always had a hug and a meal for all of her children’s friends. She was often inspired to bust a move with her teenage daughter and friends whenever she heard a good Michael Jackson tune. She encouraged her children’s love of music and didn’t even mind when her sons played rock and roll loud enough to rattle the windows. She appreciated a wide variety of music, from her favorite, El Trio Los Panchos, to her son’s favorites, Santana and even the Beatles. She always had a happy disposition, a hardy laugh and a kind word for everyone while generously giving her advice with love. Elpidio and Elvia made life-long friends all over the world whom remain to this day.
In 1989, after their youngest child married and her husband’s retirement, they finally achieved their dream of retiring to Florida when they settled in the country just outside of Orlando in Oviedo. Just before her beloved Elpidio passed away in 2002, they moved to Orlando to be closer to the city. After a couple of years Elvia set her mind on becoming an American citizen. Since the age of 18 and throughout her marriage, for 48 years, she had been a green card holding legal permanent resident. At the age of 76, after enrolling in American History classes on her own, she took the naturalization exam and passed with flying colors. She proudly took the citizenship oath on an unforgettable day, on July 4th, 2004 at Disney‘s Epcot with big fanfare and surrounded by family. She was excited when she was able to cast her first vote ever in a Presidential election that November. She also was able to spend more time with her grandchildren and eventually great grandchildren. Recently she was thrilled to become a great-great grandmother of two. She enjoyed her family and loved to take care of them. She always loved God, her husband, all things Panamanian and Puertorican, maintaining her mischievous spirit to the very end.
She was preceded in death by her husband Elpidio Lugo Faria, her parents Jose and Maria Apostolo de Prado of Panama City, Panama, her sisters Norma Alicia Prado de Esper, Carmen Ines Prado de Castillo, Concepcion Elena “Concha” Prado de Goti, and Luz Maria Prado de Novo, all of Panama City, Panama, and her brother Jose Alcides “Papi” Prado, Jr. of Miami, Florida. She is survived by her youngest sister Nora Isabel Prado de Ferrer of Kissimmee, Florida, her five children Xiomara Lugo (Jorge) Lugo of Orlando, Florida, Maureen “Maruchi” Lugo, Jackson, Mississippi, Allan G. Lugo (Tina) Lugo of Longwood, Florida, Sergio Lugo (Lorri) Lugo of Star, Mississippi and Vilma Bell (Hal) Bell of Brandon, Mississippi. She is also survived by 9 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews whom she adored. She was also close to Sylvia Rivera, her caretaker in the last few months of her life, whom she lovingly referred to as “Mi Sombra” (My shadow).
The viewing will be held on February 12, 2020, at Newcomer Funeral Home. The service will be held at Good Shepherd Catholic Church on Thursday, February 13, 2020, on what would have been her 74th wedding anniversary. Interment will immediately follow the service at Chapel Hill Cemetery. She was the light of our lives, the core of our hearts the wind beneath our wings and she will be missed by all.