Born in Manizales on July 30, 1947 she was raised in the beautiful coffee region of El Quindio, Colombia, South America. Luz Mary was raised by a humble coffee growing family lead by the matriarch, her Mother Encarnacion Sierra. The youngest of nine children, she was born in a time of civil war.
Despite this Luz Mary was encouraged by her Mother and Uncle to go to school, she became one of many trailblazers being the first in her family to graduate from University. Her dream was to be either a Dentist or an Architect, but the times would not allow it, so she studied Modern Languages. It was the sixties and she had her first exposure to the political figures at the time like Che Guevara.
After her beloved mother’s death, she set out into the world to find herself. The place she chose was Canada, where she arrived on a visitor visa with only 300 hundred dollars in her pocket. Once settling in Toronto she eventually moved to Calgary after quickly starting a family where her daughter Carolina was born as she would say on a beautiful cold day in January 1977.
A few years later her life would take her and her young daughter back to the Toronto where she remained until her death. Despite all her struggles and due to her profound love of Canada, she decided to redefine herself thanks to Pierre Elliot Trudeau. So she applied for her citizenship and in the mid 1980’s she finally became a Canadian Citizen, which was her second proudest moment. It meant for the first time in 10 years she would be allowed to vote, which she did at every federal, provincial and municipal election therein. Always reading the papers and learning about politics, the plight of others, she decided to leave her job as sewing machine operator in the fashion district to study Community Work.
It was there that she would tell you she learned how to be open minded and embrace others cultures and customs. She was very proud to have learned about discrimination, women’s, gay rights and disabilities in Canada, at the time. She was thrilled to help those who were struggling and in need of a voice. After graduating with honors, her third proudest moment, she worked as a Medical Translator lending her voice to the clients and physicians she served. Years later she decided to expand her creative mind and chose to go back to fashion. She once again graduated with honors where she excelled in her technical skills.
Luz Mary always loved art, music and dance from her beloved Colombia and Cuba, she made sure her home was filled with painting, music and celebration for all who were around her. She would teach her daughter to become fluent in her mother tongue her favorite dances and to celebrate others as well.
Luz Mary was a devoted single mother, who raised her daughter with the same humble values she was taught as a child from her mother, which included to always be curious, strong, independent and not be afraid to lend her voice to help others.
Her daughter’s time to carry on her legacy would eventually come when in 2016 when Luz Mary was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She was lovingly cared for by her daughter who became her essential family caregiver who was by her side, lending her voice after she lost hers, until her passing on August 24, 2023. She was accompanied at her bedside by her daughter, friends, Naomi, Antoinette, Lesley and her nephew Mauricio. Prior to leaving she was able to give her daughter a radiating smile and before she took her last breathe her daughter loving held her hand.
Luz Mary’s vibrant spirit, her tenacity and room filling smile will live in the hearts of all who knew and loved her.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Luz Mary to the Memory Clinic Fund, at UHN Foundation would be appreciated by the family. Please visit UHNfoundation.ca/tribute or call 416-603-5300.
If you are attending the Celebration of Life in person for Luz Mary, kindly dress in colour, please do not wear black.
Info: Please dress in colour – Please do not wear black. Bring Luz Mary a typed message or memory you would like to be read out loud at her burial. Please note, there is street parking only accessible at Toronto Necropolis Cemetery