By: César Rodríguez
Elsie Granell is a retired University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez professor, but she is much more than just that. She is an amazing mother and grandmother and a great businesswoman. Her life has been one of a kind.
Elsie was born February 1, 1939 in Añasco, Puerto Rico, in the farm owned by her parents, Pedro Granell and Antonia López. She had two brothers and a sister, and when Elsie was just six months old, they moved to Mayagüez.
Elsie studied in Asenjo School until the sixth grade. She studied in the José de Diego School her seventh, eighth, and ninth grades before finishing high school in Hostos High School.
She finished high school in two years and entered the UPRM when she was only 16 years old. She was a Chemistry student; at the time in the Chemistry department there were less than 10 females. Elsie had to walk an hour to the university every day since her family couldn’t afford to buy her a car.
Elsie graduated in 1959, completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and minors in Social Sciences and Mathematics. Two years later, she married César Rodríguez Bosch, whom she met in her first year Biology class.
César was too shy to talk to Elsie, according to her, a mutual friend had to ask Elsie if she wanted to date César. César had a car but he couldn’t take Elsie to the university because she wasn’t allowed to ride alone with him.
Elsie’s two brothers, Pedro and Edwin, were great athletes in the UPRM. Pedro is a Central American Games bronze medalist. Her sister Elba left Puerto Rico to become a nun. Elba stopped being a nun, got married and has three of Elsie’s nine nephews.
In 1967, Elsie started working as a Chemistry professor at the UPRM. She taught General Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry for Chemical Engineers. She had just had her daughter, Ana, Elsie’s sixth child.
Elsie had twins César and Carlos on February 7, 1962, followed by Pedro, Javier, José, and Ana. Javier was mentally handicapped and would change Elsie’s life forever. “God sent Javier to make each one of us better human beings,” Elsie said about having a handicapped son.
Elsie’s husband César always tells the funniest story that happened when Pedro was born. Elsie woke up in the middle of the night to give him his bottle because Pedro was crying, when he kept crying, César woke up to check on him. Elsie was actually holding a lamp and trying to feed milk to the lamp.
Elsie worked in the UPRM for 34 years, and had to retire at a young age to take care of Javier, something she never regretted. She started buying houses, fixing them, and then renting them, which really went well for her economically.
Elsie’s other five kids all studied in the UPRM, becoming successful professionals. The twins are Industrial Engineers, Pedro is a Computer Engineer, José is an Electrical Engineer, and Ana is a CPA. They have given Elsie seven grandchildren.
César Gabriel is her oldest grandson, followed by Julián, Carlos Javier, Carlos David, Nadia, Nadine, and Diego. Elsie says she prefers her oldest grandsons because they have been with her the longest.
Elsie Granell has been active in many civic societies over the years. When she lived in Vista Verde, Mayagüez, she was one of the founding members of the Vista Verde chapter of the Lions Club. She won tamer of the year twice in that club.
She was also a member of the Social Civic Club and the Puerto Rico American Mother’s Association. On both of these clubs she won the Representative Mother of the Year award given to special mothers who deserved this recognition.
Elsie now lives with César and Javier in “Ensanche Ramírez”, in Mayagüez. She still has more than 20 apartments throughout Mayagüez, which she rents. Javier keeps Elsie company all the time.
Even though Javier is handicapped, he only needs Elsie to cook for him. Everything else he can do for himself. He also helps his mom with whatever she needs him to do without ever complaining.
Even though Elsie has had many accomplishments in her life, César has always been by her side helping her in the house and economically. He used to be the manager of a big factory in Mayagüez.
Even though Elsie could have been a professor for many more years, she is very happy with the life she has. Elsie’s daughter Ana, described Elsie saying: “she is one of the funniest women I know, everyone just loves being around her”.