Reba was laid to rest at the Pleasanton City Cemetery on Monday, Aug. 6, where her family said she would have wanted to be. She passed away on the evening of Thursday, Aug. 2, eight days after being taken off of life support, following her battle with cancer. Her family moved her from MD Anderson in Houston to her home in Pleasanton on Wednesday, Aug. 1.
“I really believe that she was negotiating with God,” said Shellie Reyna, Reba’s older sister. “She did not want to pass at the hospital. She wanted to be at home with her family.”
Her parents, Elva and Pastor Juan Florez shared how Reba was home-schooled from pre-kindergarten to first grade. When she began public school, she was in the second grade. She performed well from the beginning and finished in the top ten percent of her class at Pleasanton High School.
She played softball and was the point guard for the basketball team, despite being the shortest. Reba also played soccer for a year. She was blessed with musical talent, playing several instruments in the Pleasanton High School Eagle Band and the band at her church, Hosanna Baptist Church in Poteet. Reba wrote her own songs and was part of the rock band Skies the Limit and sang background vocals and played the drums for Vertical Praise. She even learned to play the violin on her own.
Pastor Florez described how surprised they were when she was named PHS Homecoming Queen. He saw Reba as a very athletic young lady and did not think she would win—but she did. She also received the honor of being named PHS Band Queen.
“It was basketball during the day, then a fairy at night with her little wings,” joked Pastor Florez. “She told us after the play that she knew we were laughing at her.”
Following high school, she began attending UTSA for a degree in Cardiology. She was the first in her family to go to college.
The one thing that Reba’s family said she did not get to accomplish was traveling.
“She always wanted to travel, but never did. She wanted to do missionary work and go to Europe,” said her father.
The family has been amazed by the outpouring of love and support they have received. Shellie Reyna said that some of the many offers they have gotten include a call from a pilot offering to fly the family wherever they needed to go. During the time that Reba was in the hospital, someone paid for the family’s stay at a hotel suite.
“She loved God and cared about people,” said her sister. “She knew she had a purpose. Reba would tell God that she was aware He had greater things for her.”
Reba believed in preparation. To get ready for the basketball season, she joined cross country.
“She knew she had to prepare. She was also neat and organized. Reba strived for the best,” said her dad.
Rather than relying on her parents, Reba researched her own scholarship funding. Her preparation also paid off at UTSA, as planning early allowed her to have the large room at her dorm.
When Pastor Florez talked to Reba’s former teammates about what stood out about her, they said Reba was always encouraging others. She always remained positive.
Reba was also known for her sweet spirit and leaving an impression on others. She had great respect for the opinions of others, especially those in authority, like her Bible study teacher and teachers at school.
The youngest of seven children, Reba was not afraid to take on a new challenge. Her family also described how Reba would stand up when necessary. During negotiations for two of the family’s big purchases, a car and their home, Reba did not budge when the salespeople tried to give them a bad deal. She stood her ground until they delivered as promised.
“I knew she loved me and vice versa. Not a day went by where we didn’t say, ‘I love you,’” said Shellie.
Her brothers are proud to have had Reba as a sister. They wrote the song, “I Know He Loves Me” for Reba.
The Florez family has heard from so many, not only from the United States, but from throughout the world. They have received Facebook posts from people in Germany, Canada and Nicaragua, to name a few. They also heard from Vincent Macias of San Antonio, who is in the Navy and stationed in Hawaii. He flew a flag at half-staff in Reba’s honor and hopes to present the flag to the family in November.
Shellie also shared how a few weeks ago, Reba’s family asked her if she had spoken to God. Reba said that she had.
“I think her story has touched so many because of the type of person she was,” said Shellie. “She drew people toward her with her attitude. She wanted to be used by God. Her faith was tested and she kept with it.”
Reba was a great example at church because she never excluded others, said her sister. She had many different types of friends, ranging from the very conservative to rock band types.
“All of her friends loved hanging around our house,” said Shellie. “What she loved the most though, was having her whole family together.”
Reba’s family also considered Reba to be the brave one in the family, fearless.
“Nothing would hold her back. She was a fighter. She lasted eight days and passed away at home. She knew what she was doing,” said Shellie. “God took care of her from the start to the end. She did not have pain and we thank God for that.”
Many people throughout the community have pitched in to help with medical bills and other expenses. On Saturday, Aug. 4, El Castillo Restaurant owners Ray and Isabel Rodriguez hosted a fundraiser for the Florez family. There was live music, plenty of great food, a bake sale, moon bounce and silent auction.
“We had a good turnout,” said Isabel Rodriguez. “We ran out of food twice. We had a lot of help with people donating water, sodas and auction items. RB Printing donated the tickets and some people helped by donating baked goods.”
A total of $6,100 was raised, which was presented to the Florez family on Sunday. Any items/food left over from the fundraiser were given to the family to be used for after the funeral.
Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez wanted to help the Florez family, since Pastor Florez helped them in their time of need.
“You don’t really understand cancer until you go through it yourself,” said Mrs. Rodriguez. “We really appreciate everyone and it is great for people to come together in a time like this.”