La Familia Sanabria

Last Updated August 14, 2004

This story starts on January 8, 1891 with the birth on Juan Antonio Sanabria Ruiz in Maricao, Puerto Rico. The island was then under Spanish rule. Puerto Rico became a commonwealth of the United States after the Spanish-American War. Don Antonio joined the United States Army and served overseas as an infantryman, earning assorted citations and decorations while serving. He was one over 18,000 Puerto Rican men to serve America during World War I. 

Two badges from Don Antonio's Army Career

After leaving the service, Don Antonio returned to Puerto Rico, and supported his family by working at different times as a professional boxer, jockey, taxi driver, and on a sugar cane farm. Don Antonio would father fifteen children with three different woman over the years, finally marrying Maria Antonia Morales Tirado on January 20, 1950 in San German PR.

Marriage License

Puerto Rico

January 20, 1950

 In the early 1940s he suffered a serious injury when a pack of sugar canes fell from an overhead lift, striking him on the head. His co-workers thought him dead from the profuse bleeding, but he sat up, went to the hospital and was treated. He was unable to work on the farm after this injury.

Taxi Cab Drivers Association

Puerto Rico

(probably San German)

In the 1940s a migration from Puerto Rico to the Camden area began. Don Antonio gave three tickets to Dona Maria and two of the children in 1945. He arrived two years later with two more children. As the family had business and real estate in Puerto Rico, the Sanabrias would travel back in forth between Camden and the island for several years. The older sons decided to remain in Puerto Rico.

Jose Antoinio Sanabria Dona Maria & Carmen
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One son, Jose Antonio Sanabria, went on to become quite prominent in politics on the island. 

Carmen Leonarda Sanabria

Camden County
Community College

Daughter Carmen Leonarda Sanabria would be born in Mayaguez on July 8, 1952. After graduating from Camden County Community College, she would become a probation officer.

Sons of Antonio Sanabria

Skilled as a seamstress and many years her husband's junior, Dona Maria found work at the DiPaola Coat Factory in Camden. Don Antonio had left his business in Puerto Rico when he came here. The Sanabria family lived at different times at 412 Cherry Street, and later on Division Street in Camden.

At Cooper River Park

Pennsauken NJ


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In 1969, Don Antonio fathered his last child, at the age of 78, when Dona Maria bore to him Beatrice Maria de los Angeles Sanabria. Don Antonio Sanabria passed away on June 6, 1992 in Camden NJ at the home of his daughter Beatrice. Dona Maria joined him two years later. 

Beatrice Maria Sanabria

Carolina PR


The Sanabria family, with branches in Puerto Rico and the United States, perhaps is an example of what is best in America, a country where all of our citizens have opportunities both to work and to contribute to the betterment of the nation we all live in. Don Antonio, who was known for having great knowledge in his community, came to America long before he came to Camden, when he, like so many now forgotten, wore our nations uniform with distinction.  

Beatrice  & Eduardo Lopez,
Christina & Daniel

Eduardo worked for the Camden Board of Education as a School Law Enforcement Officer. He was killed on November 14, 1989 when struck by a bullet fired by Carlos "Crazy Charlie" Rodriguez at 5th & Grant Street in North Camden. Rodriguez was later caught, tried, and sentenced to a long term in the state prison.

Beatrice Maria & Juan Caraballo


Beatrice Maria & Juan Caraballo

404 East State Street Village

Camden NJ



Christina Maria
Crystal Antoinette
Daniel Eduardo
Damian Alexander

Carmen Sanabria
Victor Lopez
her second husband

Victor Lopez was a truck driver in Puerto Rico. He was killed in a traffic accident

Los Hombres Melendez
David, father Teodomiro (deceased),
Raymond, & Richard Melendez
Top: David & Raymond Melendez
David Melendez is with the
Camden Fire Department
Bottom: David Lee, Dinoshka, & Arianna


Beatrice Caraballo was appointed Co-Producer at WMIZ 1270AM in Vineland, New Jersey with Gladys Lugardo.  Carl Hemple is the General Manager.  Juan Caraballo is now a truck driver at N&J Trucking Company in Gloucester, New Jersey.

Photo:  Carl Hemple, Gladys Lugardo, Beatrice & Juan Caraballo
at a Banquet
honoring Mr. Hemple as
of the Year
Volunteer of the Year.


Christina is now 15 years old. She is in the National Society of High School Scholars and maintains a 4.117 GPA. 
She won 1st runner-up in the Miss South Jersey Jr. Teen Pageant and has been accepted into the Miss New Jersey Jr. Teen Pageant which will take place on August 30, 2004.


Crystal is now 11 years old.  She is in the 5th grade and plays the saxophone & congo drums.  

Damian is 12 years old.  He plans to play football and learn to play the guitar this year.


Daniel is now 18 years old and will graduate from Collingswood High School in June 2005.  He will attend the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts immediately after graduation.  Daniel has painted many murals and has created beautiful artwork.


Bea receives award from Sandra Houghton at the 3rd Annual Walt Whitman Preservation Forum, held in Camden City Council Chambers in the spring of 2004. 


AL SCHELL/Courier-Post
Daniel Lopez, 19, a senior at Collingswood High School, goes over a sketch in preparation for painting a
mural depicting diversity at the school


February 3, 2005

Student's mural to showcase diversity

When Collingswood High School student Daniel Lopez graduates this year, he'll leave something behind for the next wave of students.

Lopez is painting a mural there to showcase the school's diversity.

"I wanted to leave something so students remember who they are and where they came from," the 19-year-old Woodlynne resident said.

Lopez, who plans to attend the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in the fall, proposed the project to school principal Charles Earling in the fall.

"I'm trying to get more art throughout the school," said Earling, who immediately approved the project. "I love a school full of artwork."

Lopez's mural, the school's second, will cover a portion a 31-foot wide and 4-foot high wall outside the cafeteria. Lopez has been working on the mural during his study hall, art and lunch periods since February.

"He's a very talented artist," Earling said. "I'm hoping this inspires other students in art to want to do something."

The mural features people of different cultures on background scenery that includes the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, the New York City skyline and landscapes from Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

"I'd like for people to see the picture differently," Lopez said. "I'd like everybody to have a different perspective."

This is not the first time Lopez has dabbled in mural painting. The teen has a thriving part-time business doing just that.

He has painted likenesses of Camden city landmarks, such as the Rutgers University campus and the L3 Communications building, inside the Services to Overcome Drug Abuse Among Teenagers building on Cooper Street. He also painted an eagle outside and a marine-life mural in the bathroom of a home on Grant Street in Collingswood.

"It gives me an opportunity to test my limits," Lopez said. "It's good to give everything a try. You can't be scared or nervous."

Lopez, who was a special-education student from the sixth through ninth grades because of Ataxia, a nervous-system disorder that affects his coordination, wants to someday use his art to help children with special needs.

"I really want other students to see that they can reach their goals," Lopez said.

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