Mary Alice Flores already had reserved a city-block's worth of seats for Friday's Battle of Flowers Parade and spent hours crafting a Spurs-themed hat to wear — not only to that parade, but for tonight's Fiesta Flambeau Parade, as well.
The Fiesta parades were events she looked forward to all year.
But, for the first time in as long as her family and friends can remember, Flores will miss the events.
A suspected drunken driver heading the wrong way on Interstate 35 slammed into her green Honda Element early Friday morning, killing her inside it, authorities said.
The 58-year-old single mother of four was three hours into the beginning of her favorite holiday of the year, said her son, Gabriel Treviño. Flores had spent Thursday night with family and friends cheering on the Spurs at a South Side bar.
“She was on her way home,” Trevino said. “She was almost there. This is just such a tragedy.”
An off-duty Bexar County Sheriff's deputy attempted several times to stop 31-year-old Jesse Guerrero from driving the wrong way on the interstate — turning on the sirens, flashing his overhead lights and shining a spotlight on him — but the suspect ignored the warnings, according to a San Antonio Police Department incident report.
Guerrero and Flores collided near Fischer Road, killing both drivers and injuring five others, including those in two other vehicles that were unable to avoid the wreck.
Instead of spending the day at the parade Friday, her family was making funeral arrangements for a mother who was known for her generosity, kindness and optimism.
The children couldn't fathom attending this year's parades without their mother, who worked for 25 years at the San Antonio Public Library in order to provide for them.
“Growing up, we didn't have a lot,” Treviño said. “But she was able to do it all on her own. She really didn't pay attention to the negative.”Flores raised her children in a modest West Side home, where she taught them to work hard and get a good education. In 2006, she watched proudly as three of her children graduated from college on the same day. She saw three of her four children get married, and the fourth son, Henry Treviño, was to be married in October.
Gabriel Treviño's only regret is that his mother never had an opportunity to hold a grandchild.
Ramiro Salazar, director of the San Antonio Public Library, said he never saw Flores in a bad mood. As her supervisor, he appreciated her ideas and respect for people.
“She never hesitated to roll up her sleeves, but what was most impressive to me was her ability to motivate and inspire people who work under her,” Salazar said.
Flores' friend Ana Galindo said she felt especially bad for her three sons and daughter.
“She was their best friend, their mom, and their dad, all at the same time,” said Galindo, secretary for Councilman Philip Cortez. “She was the center point of their family. I just can't picture how the kids are going to do this.”
Salazar said Flores called herself a “mother hen,” a title Galindo said she couldn't agree with more.
Galindo was new to town in 1982, when she got a job at the library under Flores' supervision. Galindo recalls many Friday night potluck dinners at Flores' house, where library employees would gather after work. But, she said it was her first Fiesta parade with Flores that she will always remember the most.
“The first time we went, it was just like this year — the humidity and the drizzle — but she made me go,” Galindo said. “Sure enough, it turned out to be a perfect day.
“I just can't believe she's gone.”