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Celina Báez Sotomayor, mother of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, dies age 94

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 7/27/2021 Theresa Braine

Celina Baez Sotomayor, mother of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, has died of complications from cancer.

She was 94.

She died peacefully on Sunday at the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida, surrounded by family, according to an obituary in the Florida Sun-Sentinel.

a person smiling and posing for the camera: (Right) Sonia Sotomayor, poses with her mother, Celina Sotomayor. © J. Scott Applewhite (Right) Sonia Sotomayor, poses with her mother, Celina Sotomayor.

(Right) Sonia Sotomayor, poses with her mother, Celina Sotomayor. (J. Scott Applewhite/)

Born in Lajas, Puerto Rico, on June 2, 1927, the elder Sotomayor was orphaned at age 9 and raised by her older sister, Aurora, in San Germán, Puerto Rico. During World War II, she migrated to the mainland U.S. as part of the Women’s Army Corps, the obituary said, then raised her daughter and son, Dr. Juan Sotomayor, now a physician in Liverpool, New York. She was a single parent, having been widowed in 1964.

“Celina was a beloved mother whose home was a gathering place for family and friends,” the obituary said. “She was a generous caregiver, frequently going out of her way to help neighbors who needed nursing assistance.”

Sonia Sotomayor often invoked her mother with pride for the years she had worked at low-wage jobs before feeling she’d mastered enough English to move up, NBC News reported.

She lived to see her daughter be nominated as the first Latina Supreme Court Justice by President Barack Obama, and then confirmed.

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