POSITIVE TO THE END
IT HAD been a long and drawn- out battle but Jennie Flores was smiling until the very end.
And while her body was failing, her attitude to life always remained positive.
It was that attitude that touched the lives of those who knew her, many of whom made the journey from overseas to say goodbye.
Mrs Flores, wife of awardwinning restaurateur Michel Flores, died from renal failure on July 7.
More than 850 people paid their respects at St Joseph’s Church on The Strand yesterday. Her daughter Eloise Flores and son- in- law Matt Rowan led the eulogy, trying to wrap up 60 years of life in just five pages.
“Her life had many obstacles and she struggled for over 20 years with an accumulation of illnesses,” Mr Rowan said, adding that negativity was not a word in her vocabulary.
The mourners heard how the couple met and how Michel told his sister Veronica that Jennie was the woman he * Paper + Cape DVD + Case would marry. But it wasn’t until four weeks later, when Jennie again returned to Michel’s restaurant, that he finally plucked up the courage to ask for her number.
When she died, the couple had been married for 35 years.
The couple, who had two daughters, were described as the “dynamic duo” of the local restaurant industry.
Following the birth of her second child, Jennie went into renal failure and started dialysis. Three years later, she had her first kidney transplant. In 2005, Jennie received her second transplant, thanks to a donation from a family member.
But the disease refused to give up and in 2013, her leg was amputated. However, the family got another two years with their loving mother and soulmate, who was also able to meet her first grandchild, a girl, in 2014.
Her second grandchild is due in November and Eloise said her mother secretly wanted a grandson.
The last six months of Jennie’s life were difficult, with her health deteriorating.
“We all know she is out of pain and looking down on us from heaven,” Mr Rowan said.
Eloise said the family was touched by how many people had come to farewell their loved one.
She said everyone from the dialysis unit to the hospitality industry had come to say goodbye.
Michel and Jennie Flores in 2009. HAPPY FAMILY: Jennie Flores with her daughters Camille and Eloise and granddaughter Pippa Grace, and ( left) the crowd outside St Joseph’s Church on The Strand yesterday.