Raquel “Rachel” Betancourt (nee Tovar), age 92, of Laurel, Maryland passed away peacefully on November 18, 2022 at home surrounded by family. “Raquelita,” as she was known to her immediate family, was born on January 9,1930 in Los Angeles, California to father Ricardo Tovar and mother Anita (nee Rodriguez) Tovar. She grew up in El Paso, Texas with her parents and 4 siblings in a humble farmhouse. As a young girl and into adulthood, Raquel was curious, perceptive, quiet and a bit shy. At the same time, she exhibited a quick wit and a great sense of humor. Her close family and friends remained in her circle for life.
Raquel’s husband Pedro (Pete), her three children, and her six grandchildren were her life and the core of her heart. With love and daily prayer, she guided and supported her family through good and challenging times. With regard to her children’s wellbeing, she was a tireless advocate on their behalf. For example, she fully supported her kids’ teachers. But she also quickly called out errant classroom procedures and misguided teachers. Like Pete, Rachel believed her kids and grandkids could achieve the goals they set out to accomplish.
Mom loved music. She could play piano by ear and sang soprano in choirs. As a young woman, she was a popular choice to sing solo at wedding ceremonies. Raquel filled her home with music from a variety of genres and time periods: church hymns and Christmas carols…big band music and Mexican rancheras…Italian operas and Broadway musicals…Your Hit Parade songs from the 1950’s and American Top 40 songs played by her kids.
Mama’s care for children extended beyond her own family. It included kids she worked with as an elementary school parent aide and kids she watched over as a babysitter. She was employed for over 25 years as a certified daycare center teacher aide at three area daycare centers: Mary Moppets, La Petit Academy, and Laurel KinderCare. She dearly cared for these children, and they were naturally drawn to her.
Rachel loved to travel with her husband and family. She enjoyed cooking Mexican food and she liked to dance—teaching her kids and grandkids various dance steps. She was a whiz at solving crossword puzzles and the puzzles featured on the TV game show Wheel of Fortune. She was a great aficionado of classic movies from the ’30’s, ‘40’s and ‘50’s. Among her favorite television programs: Spanish language telenovelas, game shows, Monk, and Everybody Loves Raymond.
Raquel is survived by her beloved children Rachel Ann (husband Don), David (wife Lynn) and Cindy (husband Mike); her cherished grandchildren John, Kae, Elena, Rachel, Ryan and Grace; her dear brother Tevery; and many dear Tovar and Betancourt nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her beloved husband Pedro and by most of her dear immediate family: parents Ricardo and Anita/siblings Enrique, Maria Eva and Mercedes/niece Mary Ann.
Visitation to take place Wednesday, November 30, 2022 from 2 to 6pm at Donaldson Funeral Home, P.A. 313 Talbot Ave., Route 198 West, Laurel, MD 20707. Memorial service to be held during the visitation from 5 to 5:30pm. Reception to follow visitation, 6 pm, Olive Garden Italian Restaurant, 14650 Baltimore Ave (Route 1), Laurel, MD 20707. Please scroll below to RSVP reception. Interment to take place 11am the following day, Thursday, December 1, 2022 at Ivy Hill Cemetery, 1201 Sandy Spring Road, Laurel, MD 20707. To participate in vehicle procession to cemetery, please meet at Donaldson Funeral Home P.A., Laurel, by 10:30 am.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: Hospice of the Chesapeake, The Salvation Army USA, March of Dimes (links provided below).
Family and friends are invited to RSVP to this service.
Hospice of the Chesapeake
90 Ritchie Highway, Pasadena MD 21122
March of Dimes