On Sunday, February 21, 2021, Elisa Santos Reyes Longoria (Georgia), loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, passed away peacefully in her sleep at age 90.
Georgia was born on November 8, 1930 in Beeville, TX to Daniel Reyes and Elisa Villareal. She graduated from AC Jones High School in 1947 at the age of sixteen. On December 25, 1949, she married Reynaldo V. Longoria Sr. They raised two children, Merri and Rey Jr. and in 2005 they adopted their great-granddaughter, Mariana Longoria who still resides in Beeville.
Georgia, as she was known by everyone was a loving wife whose love story was cherished and adored. She used to say that she and Rey grew up knowing each other but when he returned from the Korean War they started dating and by the third date Rey held her hand and said, “you know this is forever, right?” And it was.
Georgia had many passions and was considered a bit of a super woman by those how knew her. She was the owner of BILCO Loans which she and Rey started in 1971. She and her cousin, Santos Murray Cortese, ran the business they started as “las muchachas” until she sold it in 2012 when, as she said, they were now the “viejitas.”
She was a driving force behind the Ballet Folklorico de Beeville and created many of the beautiful costumes worn in their performances. She found a dance instructor in Corpus Christi who would come to Beeville once a week to provide classes and the group grew into a traveling troupe that performed every weekend at many city festivals and even for the FBI in Houston. She always said," If we are going to do this, we’re going to do it right!” So, many trips to Mexico to find authentic costumes and learn about the dances became a yearly event.
Her love of stories, especially family stories, fed her interest in finding out about our family tree. She and Diana Borja started investigating. This was before internet so it meant that on weekends, she and Diana Borja would hit the road visiting churches and cemeteries and later city halls and archives and even a trip Salt Lake City to see all their resources. The result was a history with stories, pictures, birth, marriage and death certificates that traced the family back to the early 1700’s. When she completed her work, she presented each of Rey’s five brothers and their eldest child with a cherished binder of our family history as that year’s Christmas present. It’s a tribute and heirloom that will treasured forever.
Georgia was preceded in death by her parents, Daniel and Elisa, and her beloved husband Rey. She is survived by her daughter, Merri who resides in San Antonio, and her son, Rey Jr. from Corpus Christi. She had four grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and one great-great granddaughter.
Elisa embraced everyone and her home was always open to serve her famous cakes and cornbread and there was always a plate of arroz con pollo or fideo if you were hungry. She saw her business at BILCO as a way to help people who needed money and was proud that some of her customers had come back over a hundred times for extra cash. She will be greatly missed but she leaves behind a legacy, especially for her family.
Visitation will be on Friday at 9:30am at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Beeville with a holy rosary to be recited at 10:30am. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00am with Father Richard Gonzales officiating. Burial will follow at Our Lady of Victory Cemetery # 2.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made for Elisa (Georgie) Longoria mailed to Somos cultura y más at 235 Fox Hall Lane San Antonio. TX 78213. SOMOS is publishing book about the Ballet Folklorico de Beeville and will be dedicated to her memory.
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