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Barbecue benefit brings donations, memories to grieving family

By Sara Sneath
March 9, 2014 at 10:02 p.m.
Updated March 9, 2014 at 10:10 p.m.

Relatives of Cynthia Partida, who was killed by a suspected drunken driver  Feb. 27, from left, Gloria Castillo, Diane Rivera, Anna Ortiz and Christina Stewart, share memories during a benefit event at Big D's BBQ and Thai Food Restaurant in Victoria.

Community members gathered Sunday at Big D's BBQ and Thai Food Restaurant with donations and memories to share with the family of Cynthia Partida.

Partida, 44, of Victoria, was killed by a suspected drunken driver Feb. 27. Donations from the Sunday barbecue benefit will go toward the cost of Partida's funeral arrangements.

"We didn't expect so many people to come out and donate," said Eliza Partida, of Victoria, Cynthia Partida's daughter-in-law.

Many of the people who came Sunday did not know Cynthia Partida but were outraged community members who wanted to show their support, Eliza Partida said.

"When a small community gets together like this, anything can happen," said Valerie Nuells, Cynthia Partida's daughter-in-law.

The family purchased enough food to make 2,000 plates Sunday, Nuells said. She said the plates did not have a set price.

"We'll be thankful for whatever we get," Nuells said.

Plates sold out at the event by 3:30 p.m., she said.

Michael Nuells, 25, heard about the accident that took his mom's life at 4:45 on the morning of the crash. Nuells is in the Army and is stationed at Fort Knox, Ky.

"At first, it was tough. I couldn't really take it all in," Nuells said.

During the past week, he said, his mother's church friends have sat down with him and his family and shared their memories of her. One of his favorite stories he heard happened about a week before his mother died.

"Her and her best friend were play fighting over the last marshmallow on her plate at Golden Corral," Nuells said with a chuckle. He said seeing the quality and number of friends his mother had in Victoria has helped in his grieving process.

"It shows how loving she was for everybody to come out like this," he said of the barbecue benefit.

Eliza Partida recalled how her mother-in-law "loved family and she loved gatherings.

"I know if it was anybody else," she said, "she would be here making people laugh and smile."



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