Cesar Rodriguez, 56, of Las Cruces, died Nov. 4, 2013, with his loved ones by his side. Cesar was born in Ojinaga, Mexico, on Nov. 19, 1957, to Fernando and Ludivina Rodriguez. Cesar graduated from Hagerman High School in Hagerman, in 1975. He enlisted in the U.S. Army following high school and also received a B.A. in Social Work from New Mexico State University.
Shortly after his service ended in the military, Cesar was in a near fatal accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Cesar being the incredibly resilient young man that he was used his condition and story to educate and empower others for the next 33 years. His will to live independently and to give others in the same condition the tools and resources to do so spread throughout many disability groups, charters, forums, boards and centers.
Cesar was not only a founding member of the Ability Center or an incredible advocate for the disabled; he was also the light, the friend and the hope for so many. His frank, yet tender soul touched a broad array of people. This was very apparent in the days that followed his death. It was a beautiful melting pot of all types of wonderful people that rushed to spread the love and stories that filled their hearts of Cesar.
Cesar is survived by his daughter, Kandee Hymer, of St. Paul, Neb.; his parents: Fernando and Ludivina Rodriguez, of Hagerman; brother, Fernando Rodriguez Jr., of Roswell; sister, Leticia R. Kuykendall, of Carlsbad; grandchildren: Zoi, Destiny and Casidy Hymer, of St. Paul, Neb. He also is survived by two nieces; two nephews; and eight great-nieces and nephews.
Survivors do not always come in the form of blood family. Cesar also was survived by many wonderful caretakers that assisted him over the 33 years. You, too, were his family and Cesar had the utmost respect and love for you. Our family would like to take this time to thank you for taking the time to love and care for him not only as a patient but as your friend and your family. You were his angels.
Granting the wishes of Cesar, a graveside burial will take place in Hagerman, on Nov. 9 at 10 a.m., followed by a celebration of life luncheon at the Hagerman Community Center.