Mayra Alejandra Godinez passed away while travelling with her brother, mother and father on vacation in Mexico. As an international student at UTPA, Mayra was involved in several student organizations, including The Pan American, where she wrote for the Spanish section and worked as a photographer.
She was 24 years old. All of her four immediate family members were in the vehicle when it was struck on route to Oaxaca, on the way to visit family. Her older brother Paco Godinez, also a recent graduate at UTPA, coordinated the cremation and mass, which was held in her hometown of Rio Bravo, Mexico. Close friends and family gathered to pay respects to the family as they struggle through this difficult time.
The poet Thomas Campbell once said, “To live on in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.” That is definitely the case of Mayra, who possessed one of the most-loved smiles around the COAS. Many of the staff at The Pan American knew her, worked with her, had class with her and now, will miss her dearly. To all those she knew, she lives on. Here are some of our memories of her:
Mayra, I remember you wrote an article on The Vagina Monologues for Selber’s class and we met in the Library to go over it. Maybe that wasn’t the best choice because we earned some dirty looks laughing while trying to decide how to tastefully edit some of the quotes. Thanks for those laughs and teaching me about Brownsville and some Spanish. I will miss you sorely.
-Karen Antonacci, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Mayra, I’ll never forget our first conversation during the high school conference. You had found your place at UTPA. I enjoyed switching languages with you during our conversation, from Spanish to English to Spanish. You’ve left a mark on many people and I will never forget your beautiful smile.
-Daniella Diaz, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Mayra, when I think of you I can’t help but to just picture your friendly smile and bouncing curls. I would see you at least once a week this past semester as I walked from my car to the COAS on your walk home. I also had you for a couple of my classes and had the pleasure of having you for a reporter when I was the Spanish editor. You were always so nice that whenever you asked me for help I would go out of my way to do it, because you had that power over people. I still remember teaching you how to take pictures outside the COAS and you just laughing because people were giving us weird looks as we photographed imaginary people on the benches. I hope you continue smiling.
-Norma Gonzalez, Sports Editor
I learned so much about you from the few opportunities we had to converse outside of class. The fact that you and my Mom are both from Rio Bravo, and that one time we were both in Chicago at the same time, two blocks away from each other and never realized it. Your absolute perfect smile and effervescent nature is what makes such an unforgettable person. I truly wish I had more memories of you. The few that I have I will hold on to dearly. Mayra, you have made me appreciate life so much more. Thank you for that and for being such a wonderful person.
-David Alvarado, Social Media Editor
Mayra, cada vez que saliamos era una aventura contigo, desde ir a Brownsville hasta salidas random por tus antojos, como olvidar nuestro sufrimiento con la insanidad y tu super pasito de baile junto con esa risa inolvidable e inconfundible.Jamás olvidaré todas las aventuras que compartimos y a pesar que no estarás físicamente con nosotros, tu recuerdo prevalecerá por siempre en todos aquellos que te queremos.
-Mariel Cantu, former Public Relations/Advertising manager
Mayrita, es difícil encontrar personas con una vibra tan buena como la tuya, y con una sonrisa tan sincera. Gracias por compartir tu vibra y tu sonrisa con tus amigos, que son muchos, y por tocar nuestras vidas de una manera tan positiva. Te vamos a extrañar mucho, pero sabemos que nos vas a acompañar siempre. De hecho, es muy bonito pensar que ya ninguno de nosotros va a estar solo, porque tú siempre vas a estar con nosotros. Gracias otra vez. Te queremos mucho.
-Sara Hernández, former Sports Editor
She was an amazing person and friend. Always positive and always smiling, and encouraging people. My deepest condolences to her family.
-Dana Nazarova, News reporter