Mary Rita Flores Gambrell was born on November 21, 1931 in Madisonville Texas, to Vicente Flores and Edolia Winfrey. Mary Rita was The seventh born of her 10 siblings, totaling 11 children. Mary Rita later moved to Huntsville Texas where she attended the schools there. She excelled greatly throughout her academic years, and was selected as valedictorian of her senior class.
Nearly 75 years ago Mary Rita met and married Thomas R. Gambrell ,Sr., the love of her life. From this ordained union she was blessed to give birth to nine children.
Mary Rita was a great pillar throughout the community and the city of Huntsville where she was well known, respected and beloved by so many, and all that she came in contact with that knew her. She later joined Saint Paul United Methodist Church at a young age, where she was a very active church member . She was also a very active member of the choir for most of her adult life.
Mary Rita had a very successful career at JC Penney for over three decades where she later retired in 1991, as the first African-American employee. A tribute to her professionalism, great work ethics and outstanding customer service skills were highlighted in the Huntsville Item newspaper last year, on June 12, 2020.
Mary Rita was preceded in death by her parents and her son: Bruce Gambrell. She leaves in God‘s care, her beloved husband -Thomas Sr., her children: Thomas Jr. (Margaret), Donald, Michael, Deborah (Caesar), Mary, Cathy, Gwendolyn (Elmer), and James (Brenda); her siblings; Leander Flores; of Houston Texas, Seccter Flores Malone; of San Antonio, Texas and and Eva Flores Horton; of Houston, Texas. She also leaves to cherish a host of grandchildren, great grandchildren, great great grandchildren, great great-great grandchildren and a host of relatives and friends.
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