Amalia "Mali" Valdez Ramirez

April 4, 1946 ~ August 28, 2019 (age 73)
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Amalia “Mali” V. Ramirez, passed suddenly on August 28, 2019. She is survived by her son, Ricardo Jaime Ramirez and his wife Yvonne D. Ramirez and Mali’s granddaughter Violeta of Wenatchee. Though Jaime was Mali’s only child, she was “mother” to many, especially her niece Sonya Valdez of Tacoma.

Born in Mabton, Washingon (on the back of a flatbed truck as the family story is told), Mali was a loyal daughter, loving sister, steadfast wife, a loving mother, and an adoring grandmother. 

A graduate of Sunnyside High School, Amalia married Ricardo C. Ramirez in Yakima. The young couple moved to Sunnyside to be closer to Mali’s mother, Juanita. In Sunnyside, they welcomed their only child, Ricardo Jaime Ramirez.  Though the couple named their son Ricardo after his father; Mali never wanted her son to be a “Junior,” hence her son became Jaime or simply, mi hijo.  Years later, Amalia decided to care for her niece Sonya. Though Sonya was not her biological daughter, Mali cared for her as if she was.  

Mali completed her undergraduate education at Heritage College earning a Bachelors in Sociology. This degree afforded Mali greater opportunities to care for her family. In 2012 she retired from the State of Washington, where she worked as a social worker for over two decades.

Mali was at home in the kitchen. Whether it was making Jaime flour tortillas and papas con chorizo, or chocolate chip cookies, she absolutely loved to feed people. One couldn’t leave her home without a gift of cookies, banana bread or her famous pumpkin empanadas. Though she hated cleaning up after one of her baking missions or cooking marathons, she always wanted to comfort her friends, neighbors, and family with food that was made with love. But it wasn’t just the food. It was her. It was her way of striking up a conversation about anything or her ability to listen and provide her own consejo.  Mali had a way of making those around her feel loved, feel important, feel at ease. You always left her home with a full belly, a care package of goodies, and you just felt better about whatever was bothering you—you felt her love.

Those who knew Mali, knew that her greatest love was for her son, Jaime. Amalia and Jaime had a special bond. For everything Jaime accomplished, experienced or endured, Mali was there every step of the way, supporting, counseling, and encouraging her son. For all of his fears and insecurities, Jaime could ALWAYS depend on his mom. Those who know Jaime, know of the love and the bond he and his mother shared.  Her love wasn’t limited to her son, she loved Sonya like a daughter—they’re love ran deep. Mali treated her daughter-in-law, Yvonne like her own daughter, never overstepping, always looking to support Yvonne in anything she needed. In 2013 Mali became a grandmother, a role she absolutely adored. All she could do is brag about her Jaime, Yvonne, and especially her little Letita (nickname for Violeta).  She loved simply sitting with Violeta telling her stories, reading to her, playing with her, or watching a cartoon. Mali loved seeing her son became a father (papí).

Mali was a ferocious reader. When Mali would visit Jaime in Wenatchee, his friends would comment “your mom loves to read.” She loved to learn. She imparted her love of history onto Jaime, which helps explain why he became a historian. After the death of her husband, Ricardo, in 2011, Mali took up crafts, creating paper machete flowers. Recently she began working on diamond painting, proudly gifting her works to family and friends. 

Though limited in her physical abilities later in life, Mali never felt bad for herself. She accepted her challenges and focused her energies on the things that she could do. She lived every moment. She found pleasure in a phone conversation, in laughing, and in being amongst friends and family. She was hopeful about life. She looked forward to what life was to bring her and her loved ones. She did not live with regrets. Jaime and the family just hope that she passed knowing how much we all loved her and how much we all admired her. Let her memory be of laughter, love, and full bellies.

Mali is preceded in death by her Parents Roberto Valdez and Juanita Zavala Valdez. Brother Juan Valdez, Sister Nora Valdez. Husband Ricardo C. Ramirez.

Viewing and visitation will be held Thursday, September 5th 2019 from 9:00 am until the Funeral Service at 11:00 am at the Smith Funeral Home Chapel in Sunnyside, WA. Burial will follow at Lower Valley Memorial Gardens in Sunnyside, WA. Those wishing to sign Mali’s online memorial book may do so at Smith Funeral Home in care of arrangements.

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