A rosary is scheduled for 7 p.m., Thursday, May 24, 2012, at St. John’s Catholic Church, for Josephine Nelson Montoya, 86, who passed away Saturday, May 19, 2012, at her home. Funeral Mass will also be at St. John’s Catholic Church at 10 a.m., Friday, May 25, 2012, with the Rev. Juan Antonio Gutierrez officiating. Burial will follow in South Park Cemetery.
Josephine Nelson Montoya was born in Roswell, on Sept. 11, 1925. Her father Frank Nelson came from Sweden and made his way to Ft. Stanton and Lincoln in the early 1900s, where he met and married Ramona Zamora Padilla. Eventually, they made their way to the booming town of Roswell in 1919. Josephine grew up on Stanton Street near St. John’s Catholic Church, where their family name around the neighborhood was termed “Los Sweesos.” Josephine attended Roswell schools including Missouri Elementary, South Junior High and Roswell High School (she had a really cute Red & White cheer, to boot). She left Roswell during her high school years and moved to San Pedro, Calif., where she worked in the Long Beach shipyards during World War II. Josephine eventually returned to Roswell in the early 1940s and married Pete Trujillo Montoya after his return from the war. They made their home at 205 E. Van Buren St. They never moved from this home; and it still remains the family home.
Josephine worked as a nurses aid for many years at the St. Mary’s Hospital. During the span of her career as a nurses aide, she gave birth to and raised seven children. After St. Mary’s, Josephine worked as a caregiver to many elderly or ill people in the Roswell area. She was known for her caring and loving demeanor with her patients.
Don’t be dismayed; even though she had a big heart, she was not one to be double-crossed.
In addition to her own children, she devoted much of her time and love to the rest of her family. She carried a reputation of always having more presents at Christmas time, just in case someone showed up unexpectedly. She did have a shy side to her, but once she got to know you, there was no way of making her stop talking or joking around with you. At times you could find her talking pig-Latin with some of the family members who understood it. She could give you the family history or someone’s phone number by heart, and she never forgot to have ice cream and cake on her family’s birthdays. She loved going to the casino, and although she was legally blind, she could push the buttons pretty good and was often lucky (but not as much as Pat). She didn’t play cards at the casinos, but she was the one who taught many of the grandkids how to play several card games, including poker, which she probably picked up from the Montoya side. She loved music and dancing; one of her favorite songs was “La Charanga,” which she would dance up a storm with the grandchildren. She was famous for being the one to teach the kids and some of the grandkids how to drive; or she would just load up the kids into the car and take them for a joyride around town or some parking lot…
Mom actually played a little softball in her younger years, and was often called “la Gueda” by the spectators. She always had her kids involved in different types of activities including baseball, swimming, fishing and crafts. She loved to travel! In her early years, she would take the family on vacation, mostly to Arizona or California. Even after going blind, Mother never turned down an enjoyable trip to Arizona, Louisiana, Colorado, the Dakotas, Washington state or Texas.
Yup, Josephine was quite a person and full of life. She gave unconditional love to her kids and cherished her family and friends. Her being the last of the Nelson clan, she reigned as our matriarch for many years. She gave us 86-plus years of herself and hopefully left an inspiration to the people whom she touched to live life to the fullest, not to let anything stop you from enjoying life, and always to love your family.
Josephine was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Pete T. Montoya; brother Frank Nelson; sisters, Nestora Savedra, Sophia Gonzalez and Lucy Nelson; grandchildren, Denise Morales and Anna Lara; and great-grandchildren, Chloe Lara and Elijah Romero.
Josephine is survived by her daughters, Virgie Romero and husband Eddie, of Roswell; Jessie Carabajal and husband Chris, of Las Cruces, Helen Ortega and husband Daniel, of Roswell, Debbie Montoya Moore and husband Trent, of Roswell; and her sons, Pete R. Montoya and wife Diane, of Los Lunas, Frank Nelson Montoya, of Los Alamos, and Jerry Montoya, of Roswell. Also surviving her are her grandchildren, David Becerra, Eddie Romero Jr., Greg Romero, Jeanette Otero, Renee Montoya, Danny Ortega Jr., Jeanette Montoya, Michael Becerra, Jeffrey Ortega, Johnny Giron, Jason Montoya, Dominic Anaya, Vanessa Astrada, Jeremy F. Montoya, Joseph F. Montoya, Jeremy L. Montoya, Fernando Sanchez, Joshual Nunez, Valerie Lopez, Leticia Montoya, Bernadette Montoya and Eric Romero; 45 great-grandchildren, five great-great-grandchildren, and one great-grandchild on the way.
Pallbearers will be Eddie Romero Jr., David Becerra, Jeffrey Ortega, Renee Montoya, Jason Montoya, Bernadett Montoya and Trent Moore. Honorary pallbearers will be Ruben Becerra, Della Quintanilla and Aurora Martinez.
A special mention is made for the loving care given by Linda Moreno, Olga Fuentes and Wilma Reynolds of Comfort Keepers; Sally Juarez; and Vista Care Hospice.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at ballardfuneralhome.com.