Ocean Beach 10

Juan Ortiz Silva

July 4, 1935 ~ March 1, 2022 (age 86)

Obituary

Juan Maria Ortiz Silva of Quincy, who was lovingly referred to as Papi, Pop, Papito, Abuelo, Né and Juanín passed away at the age of 86 in the company of his loving family on March 1st.  Juan was a strong, independent and vibrant man who was born and raised in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, the son of Ramona Silva and Delores Ortiz.  At the age of 18 he moved to New York City, where he met the love of his life, Maria Teresa Santana, who became his wife for 67 years and predeceased him.  Both had left the “isla del encanto” to find better opportunities and in the process, found each other and built a life together that included 5 children.  Juan was the loving father of Carmen Ortiz and husband Tom Dolan of Milton, Juanita Diaz and husband Hector of Framingham, Juan Ortiz, Jr. and wife Tanya of NJ, Jose Ortiz of FL and Elizabeth Ortiz Murray of Quincy.  He was the cherished grandfather of Jacqueline, Alisandra, Miquela, Olivia, Marie, Michael, Matthew, Johnny and Marcus.

Juan spent most of his life working incredibly hard to provide for his family, initially working in the garment industry as a factory worker and then driving a taxi cab.  He had a great sense of humor and enjoyed telling stories and jokes that he was able to turn into good tips because his passengers always loved their cab rides with him.  When he wasn’t driving a cab, he was selling whatever he could on Delancey Street in New York City, selling goods from curbside tables and saving money to open up a small gift and religious goods store, known as a “botanica.”  Driven by his dream to open up his own business and move his family from the housing projects to a home on Long Island, his tremendous work ethic enabled him to do just that.  He opened up “Ortiz Gifts” and sold everything from rosary beads, candles, good luck perfumes, battery-powered toys, dolls, figurines, holiday cards and whatever he thought his customers would buy.  He loved the retail business and never took a break, eventually opening up another store and at times, having every member of the family work with him.

In addition to running the business, Juan spent fun times with his family.  Day trips to Orchard Beach, Coney Island and vacations visiting Puerto Rico in the summer, will be memories his family will treasure, as well as going out to eat – a real treat.  Juan thoroughly enjoyed eating and was known for his ferocious appetite, especially for authentic Puerto Rican food such as “arroz con gandules verde” and “vianda con bacalao.”  Everyone who spent time with Juan was never bored.  He loved watching the news, being on top of all political events and debating with anyone who didn’t agree with him.  He was an intense, knowledgeable and interesting conversationalist, who could hold his own on any topic.  He was also entertaining and would recite a story as if it were fact and when asked how he knew it was true, he would jokingly say “I read it in the Enquirer.” 

Juan adored his mother who was widowed when he was only 3 years old and raised him and his younger brother Raymond.  He was proud of saying that watching his mother overcome life’s struggles made him tough and a survivor.  Juan was a man of true grit, having survived a kidney transplant over 12 years ago at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a hospital where he felt the doctors and nurses took good care of him throughout the years and at the time of his death.  

Juan loved his family very much and was determined to do the best he could for them.  He often bragged about his children’s accomplishments and was very proud of them. Juan will be remembered for the many sacrifices he made for them and will be terribly missed.  

A Funeral Service will be held at the Alfred D. Thomas Funeral Home 326 Granite Ave Milton, Saturday March 12th at 12 noon.  Visiting hours prior to the service from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  In my father’s memory, contributions can be made online or by check made payable to “Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center” with Transplant Unit on the memo line. Contributions can be mailed to: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Office of Development, 330 Brookline Ave – OV, Boston, MA 02215.

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