Rodriguez, Estefania Joyce, 1923-2008
- Existence: 1923-2008
Estefania "Steff" Joyce Rodriguez was born in Bettendorf, Iowa, on October 30, 1923 to Muggie Adams Rodriguez and Norberto Rodriguez. Norberto Rodriguez, was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and migrated to the United States in 1910 at the age of seventeen. He met Muggie Adams, an African American woman from Alabama, in the coal mining community of Lovilia, Iowa, where the couple married in 1919. The family lived in south central Iowa coal mining towns such as Albia and Centerville until 1923, when they moved to Bettendorf, Iowa, after Norberto Rodriguez secured work in the foundry of the Bettendorf Company. The Rodriguez family lived in Holy City, a predominately Mexican settlement near the Bettendorf Company, from 1924 to 1937, when they moved to Davenport, Iowa. During these years, Steff Rodriguez often worked in the onion fields of nearby Pleasant Valley with her siblings and friends. Steff Rodriguez attended school until the tenth grade and later worked in local factories including the Rock Island Arsenal during World War II. She raised eleven children, seven sons and four daughters. Her oldest son, Norbert Simmons, a U.S. Marine Sergeant, was killed in Da Nang, Vietnam, in 1966. Steff Rodriguez was an active member of the Davenport council of the League of United Latin American Citizens, LULAC Council 10, and served for many years as secretary to the organization. In later years, she returned to school to complete her education and received her GED in 1992. Estefania Joyce Rodriguez passed away on March 16, 2008.