Carmen Lydia Palacios
Carmen Lydia Palacios, 86, of Melbourne, Florida, surrounded by her daughters, passed away peacefully in her home on May 9. The youngest of three daughters, Carmen was born on February 9, 1934, in Matanzas, Cuba, to Rogelio and Maria Hernandez.
After receiving her teaching degree from the University of Havana, she married the love of her life, Fernando. In 1961, with a toddler and a baby in tow, the young family emigrated to America to escape political persecution and begin a new chapter in their life. With little to no possessions to their name, Fernando worked a string of odd jobs to support the family while Carmen took care of their two young girls. Carmen often said that while those were hard times financially, they were also some of the happiest of her life, because the four of them were free, together, and healthy.
In 1965, with both girls now in school, Carmen resumed her teaching career in America at Central Junior High, where she taught Spanish and math for over 32 years. Many of her former students fondly remember Señora Palacios and the annual trip to St. Augustine, the Spanish Club, and “Palacios Points”, a system she devised to motivate her students.
Carmen loved people and made friends quickly. She loved to garden and play cards and Bunco with her friends. She and Fernando were active in the Eau-Gallie Rotary Club. They hosted many international Rotarians in their home, often stopping on their own travels around the world to visit with those same newfound friends. She enjoyed reading, sewing and loved to watch the Boston Red Sox. On Saturdays in the fall, you would find Carmen and Fernando at Florida Field, cheering on her beloved University of Florida Gators. Carmen was a long time parishioner at Ascension Catholic Church and volunteered in the SAIL program, teaching Spanish to fellow retirees.
She is survived by her two daughters, Maria Geraci (Mike) and Carmen Dick (John), five grandchildren, Ryan and his wife Jenny, Stephanie, Jonathan, Kevin and his wife Rachel, and Megan, as well as one great-granddaughter, Jenna.
The family would like to thank Vitas Hospice Care for their kindness and support. A memorial mass will be celebrated at Ascension Catholic Church on Friday, May 22. In place of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Lourdes Barba-Ridyard Memorial Scholarship fund c/o Melbourne Central Catholic High School.