San Antonio educator and musical icon remembered for her gift to the world

Ortiz’s life will be celebrated on August 8th at Grace Point Church

SAN ANTONIO – Belle Ortiz was a gifted educator and musician whose gift made generational impacts on many across San Antonio and the world.

Ortiz died at the age of 90 surrounded by family, love, and music.

Since her passing, Ortiz’s family has received outpours of love over social media, along with supporting phone calls and messages. Ortiz’s daughter, Annabelle Garcia, shared how the family is grateful.

“We’ve just been in awe so often and just being so happy to be a part of this amazing, beautiful, exciting life of hers,” Garcia said.

Leticia Van De Putte, Ortiz’s oldest daughter, added how they’ve always known what a precious legacy her mother created.

“She was a radical pioneer in making sure that children here in Texas and all over the country were proud of their Latino heritage. And she started this in a time when it was forbidden to even speak Spanish in our public schools,” Van De Putte said.

Ortiz passed down her love for music through mariachi music education at Lanier High School with San Antonio ISD, a program that has since grown and expanded.

The icon also took her culture and shared it with many, including U.S. presidents and big musical talents.

“I think that music and the impact that she had by sharing her gift and then mentoring others will last generation after generation,” Van De Putte said.

In her final days, many people serenaded Ortiz at her bedside.

Daughter Roseanne Valenzuela said she knows it meant the world to Ortiz.

“It just warmed my heart to know that she -- we knew that she was listening and that she was happy and proud,” Valenzuela said.

Ortiz’s life will be celebrated on Aug. 8 at Grace Point Church. Dozens of mariachi musicians are expected to attend her funeral.

However, her legacy will live on in the musicians she inspired and a scholarship in her name that the family is organizing soon.

“The best way to honor her, to honor our mother, is to continue the work of educational access and the arts for children,” Van de Putte said.

Below is the information for the services for Ortiz:

August 8, 2023

Public Viewing

5:00 - 6:30 p.m.

Celebration for Belle

6:30 p.m.

Grace Point Church

9650 Huebner Rd

San Antonio, TX 78240

August 9, 2023


9 - 10 a.m.

Grace Point Church

9650 Huebner Rd

San Antonio, TX 78240


11 a.m.

San Fernando Cemetery II

746 Castroville Rd

San Antonio, TX 78237

Reception to follow

Our Lady of the Lake

University Wellness and Activities Center

411 SW 24th St, San Antonio, TX 78237

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About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.