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Esperanza "Rose" Velazquez, 69, of Hamburg, a retired teacher's aide in Buffalo schools, died Monday (Sept. 18, 2000) in Mercy Hospital after a long illness.

Born Esperanza Berber in Lackawanna, the first American-born child of Mexican immigrants, she attended East High School. Later, she earned her diploma at Bennett High School and worked as a teacher's aide from 1968 to 1980.

She was a key aide in the early days of the bilingual program at School 4, which had a heavy Hispanic enrollment. She later worked at School 3 and School 33.

She and her husband, Roberto, a retired foreman at Bethlehem Steel Corp., celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary last week.

They became foster parents through Catholic Charities and cared for more than 50 newborns. They usually received two babies at a time shortly after they were born and cared for them until they were adopted at 6 months. She was noted for having the healthiest and best-dressed babies.

She was a charter member of the North American Latin Women's Club at the Mexican Club in Lackawanna.

She was a resident of South Buffalo until 1986, when she moved to Hamburg.

In addition to her husband, survivors include a daughter, Paula Bouton of Orchard Park; a son, Robert of Hamburg; two sisters, Jennie Rivera of Mesa, Ariz., and Eloise Guerra; and four grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Friday in St. Bernadette's Catholic Church,S-5930 Abbott Road, Orchard Park, after prayers at 9:15 in Hoy Funeral Home, 3855 Seneca St., West Seneca.


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