Marfa resident celebrates her 100th birthday

MARFA – As Las Mañanitas played over the speaker, Josefina “Josie” Dominguez stood in front of a birthday cake decorated with a photo of her younger self. She smiled and waved at her family and friends holding their cell phones to document the moment. She grabbed a black napkin adorned with gold and silver balloons and raised it in the air. It said: “100. Happy Birthday.”

Some of Dominguez’s family traveled from various parts of the country to celebrate her 100th birthday on Saturday at the Marfa Visitor Center/USO Building.

Dominguez was born in 1919 in Presidio, and her family moved to Marfa when she was a year old. She survived the Spanish flu pandemic that claimed the life of her father and two brothers. She also attended the Blackwell School.

One word her family consistently use to describe Dominguez is “strong.”

“She’s seen a lot. She’s a very strong woman,” said grandson Charles “Chuck” Villanueva.

Her late husband, Ruben Gaitan Dominguez, was one of the first persons in the area who had a car. Ruben would give his friends a ride or they would borrow his car. Dominguez taught herself how to drive so she could ride around town then and keep the vehicle in case she needed it for her children, Ruben Jr. and Imelda.

The centenarian said she has seen Marfa change through the years.

“Marfa has changed a lot since I was a teenager,” said Dominguez. “Marfa was very different. We had everything in this small town. We had the movies. We had doctors. We had drug stores. We had everything.”

She now has to go out of town to see a doctor or to get her medicine.

She regularly attends the annual Marfa Lights Festival during Labor Day Weekend.

“She loves going to the Marfa Lights Festival and sitting out there and hearing the music,” said grandson Charles.

Dominguez said she doesn’t go out as much, but she likes to watch TV, especially sports. She won’t answer the phone when the game is on.

She recently went on a cruise with her family to the Caribbean. It was her first time on a boat and Charles thought it was a great time to show her other parts of the world. One of his favorite memories of his grandma was watching her get off the cruise ship.

“She had the biggest smile on her face,” said Charles. “I’ve seen my grandmother smile but not that big, so she loved that. She had a good time there.”

It was Dominguez’s family that decided to throw a party for this milestone.

“I’m very thankful for them and all the people that have come from so far,” said Dominguez. “I’m very happy today to be with my family and my friends.”

The Big Bend Sentinel

PO Box P
Marfa, TX 79843