Cornelia ‘Nellie’ Garibay


Our family wishes to celebrate the life of Cornelia “Nellie” Garibay (née Cotto Perez). Born on April 8, 1941, in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico to Ignacio Cotto Gomez and Elisa Perez Gonzalez. She married Gerardo Garibay Cervantes in Chicago, Illinois in 1973.

Nellie was predeceased by her daughter, Rosalie “Tamar” Farkas and siblings, Victor Luis Cotto, Ignacio Cotto and Rodolfo Cotto.

Nellie leaves her two children, Elisa (Lucas Johnson) Garibay, and Valdemar (Bridget) Garibay, grandchildren Jade (Bo) Lomeli-Johnson, Karlos Ignacio, Sebastian Gerardo, Anneliese Maria and Ander Valdemar.

She is survived by her siblings Carmen Adorno, Eva Caggiano, Iris Eisenkeit, Roberto Cotto, Aida Cotto, Leonardo Cotto, Elisa Cotto and Lydia Cotto. She leaves many nephews and nieces who reside in the US and Puerto Rico.

In 2013, Nellie was diagnosed with early on-set dementia. She is best described by family as a devoted Catholic, and a compassionate force of a woman.

Nellie served the South East Side of Chicago and Hispanic community in many capacities, some of which include devoting her time to teach Religious Education, part of various Church committees and the choir at St. Francis de Sales. She volunteered with the Cub Scout Troop 3787 at Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Apart from her community service, Nellie took pleasure in many activities surrounding family. She enjoyed taking care of her granddaughter, Jade and embarking on family road trips to Florida. She took any chance she could get to visit the beach or the lake. She made it her tradition to take a picture next to the Daytona Beach sign at every family visit, and she loved sitting and picnicking along Lake Michigan in Chicago.

Her favorite exercise was walking. She enjoyed walking around her neighborhood with friends, or taking the train to downtown Chicago to walk, shop and be a part of the city. She enjoyed hosting family parties, cooking her legendary arroz con gandules and dancing merengue or salsa in her kitchen or generally anywhere she saw fit. Nellie spent much of the warmer months in her yard, planting vegetables and many varieties of flowers: her true love was Roses. She took great pride in planting and nurturing vibrant Roses.

During the last few years of life, she was cared for by Elysian Senior Homes of Duluth. Our family is very grateful to the many lightworkers that took care of Nellie and adopted her as their own grandmother. It brings us immense gratitude and joy to know Nellie was cared for by many generous and loving individuals. They also offered much love and support to her daughter and granddaughter as she made her transition.

Our family would also like to thank Gentiva Hospice for all the care and love they provided to Nellie and her daughter.

Nellie was deeply loved by all her family and will be missed dearly by her children, grandchildren and family.

Visitation will be from 10 until the 11 a.m. Funeral Mass, Saturday, March 25, 2023, at Cathedral of Christ the King, Superior.

Downs Funeral Home, 1617 N. 19th Street, Superior, is assisting the family with arrangements. To sign the online guest book or send condolences, visit

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