School 10

Francisca Cordova de Gotay

June 24, 1923 ~ January 9, 2021 (age 97)


On January 9, 2021 Francisca Cordova de Gotay passed away peacefully in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. She lived a very blessed, giving and full 97 years.

Francisca was born in Dorado, PR, and was the youngest of nine siblings. She obtained a B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico, and based on her academic achievements, was offered a scholarship to attend Columbia University in NYC. She received a M.A. in Special Education in 1948 and returned to PR to work with special needs children. This was her biggest passion and she worked for over 30 years, first as a teacher and then as school director, for the state sponsored school for girls with disabilities in PR.

A devout Catholic, she was very active in her parish, helping with fundraisers and various church ministries. She was also a member of an Alzheimer's Association Support Group and encouraged family, friends, and caregivers of those suffering from catastrophic mental illnesses.

Through out her life, she pursued her interests in painting, writing, and other art forms. Francisca and her husband were avid travelers and visited Europe almost every year. In addition to Spanish and English, she could carry basic conversations in French, Italian, Portuguese, and German.

After her husband passed, she moved to an independent living facility in the Washington DC area and eventually to Santa Rosa Beach, FL to be closer to her daughter. As a resident of assisted living, she thrived and reconnected with her love of painting, art work, and was an active participant in all social activities.

She will be remembered for her kindness, her smile, and for having the gift to touch everyone's heart.

She is survived by her daughter Loida de los Ángeles O'Connell and son-in-law Russell Woody. She was predeceased by her husband of 57 years Ruben Gotay Montalvo and her eight siblings.

The funeral will be held at St. Rita Catholic Church, 22 Saint Rita Lane, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459, Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 3 pm.  The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the church.  Interment will be on a future date at Puerto Rico National Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to the charity of your choice.

Francisca's philosophy of life:

Feel the joy of overcoming handicaps and weaknesses no matter how big these are. You will be amazed at what you are capable of doing. So don't hesitate. Go for it!

To share memories, express condolences and sign the guestbook, please visit


A Time of Visitation
January 14, 2021

2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
St. Rita Catholic Church (Santa Rosa Beach, FL)

Funeral Service
January 14, 2021

3:00 PM
St. Rita Catholic Church (Santa Rosa Beach, FL)

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