SAN FRANCISCO—Virginia Ramos, known as the ‘Tamale Lady’ to many, passed away on Thursday, September 27.  In the 1980s, Ramos emigrated from San Jalisco, Mexico to San Francisco where she raised seven children and traveled bar to bar selling her homemade Tamales. 

Her initial goal was to open a standalone Tamale operation in the Mission District.  In 2013, she’d raised $19,201 on Indiego with assistance from San Francisco Board of Supervisor David Campos. Commenting on her death, Campos stated that she was “a mentor, a confidant, and an advisor to many people.”

Many of her friends and customers took to Twitter to pay their respects.  Editor of Curbed SF, Brock Keeling, tweeted:

“Virginia Ramos, the Tamale Lady, was a staple of my nightly escapades at the Phone Booth back in the day, way, way back in the day. A San Francisco icon. Much love. She will be missed.” 

Shotwells Bar – Berr tweeted: “RIP aka Virginia aka Tamale Lady. She was a great friend to all of us at Shotwells for more then 10 years.”

She was 65 at the time of her death, an exact cause of death has not yet been determined by medical examiners. A GoFundMe page was set up by Virginia’s daughters. As of Tuesday, October 2, $350 has been raised of a $25,000 goal. 

The following information was posted on the GoFundMe page:

“Friends and family we know that The Tamale Lady has touched many lives and everyone would like help honor her. The Vigil will be from 4-7pm with the rosary at 7pm on Tuesday October 9th at Duggan’s on 17th Street. The Funeral Service will be at Mission Dolores Church Wednesday October 10 at 11am. Thank you all in advance and appreciate all your support in such a difficult time for our family.”

Written By Ophelia Luchin and Donald Roberts