December 28th, 1917 - April 8th, 2017
Eulogio Ortega 12/28/1917-2017
Eulogio Ortega, a life-long resident of Velarde, New Mexico passed away on April 8, 2017 at the age of 99 years of age. He is survived by his son, Albert Ortega (Anna Marie), grandson, Mark Ortega (Sandra), granddaughter, Margaret Crist, great granddaughters Arianna and Alyson Crist, and great great granddaughter Kaya Crist.
Eulogio was preceded in death by his beloved wife Zoraida, parents Carmelita and Alberto Ortega and siblings Esmeralda, Juaquin, Juan Maria Agustinano, Guadalupe, Pedro, Antonio, Luz, Amada, Maria, Carmen, Jose Maria Agustinano, Alberto, and Victoriana.
Eulogio was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico and attended Las Vegas North Elementary School, Robertson High School and New Mexico Highlands University. He earned a BA and MA degree from New Mexico Highlands University. He was a World War II veteran and served in the United States Army Special Services as a language specialist. He attended New York City College where he studied Italian and became fluent in the language. For the remainder of the war he was assigned to guard and live with Italian officers taken as prisoners of war. While living and working with the prisoners in New York City he gained a great love for classical music, opera and Italian food that lasted a lifetime. After the war Eulogio came back to Velarde and worked for the New Mexico Department of Welfare for several years. He then became a teacher and school administrator in the communities of Gallina, Dixon and Velarde New Mexico. He retired after 34 years of service.
Upon retirement he and his wife Zoraida studied New Mexico Spanish Colonial art. Eulogio learned how to carve wooden Santos and his wife Zoraida painted them. Their work became well known and can now be found in the homes of many private collectors and museums throughout the country. Their Spanish Colonial work has been featured in many Southwestern art books and periodicals. After Zoraida suffered a life threatening illness Zoraida had Eulogio build a chapel constructed in honor of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe as a testament of their faith. Zoraida painted the chapel’s altar screen, which has become a valued addition to the Hispanic retablo tradition. The chapel contains examples of their work as well as the work of other local artists and has attracted visitors from all parts of the country and world. In 1999 Zoraida and Eulogio were honored as Living Treasurers by the Santa Fe Living Treasures Society.
Throughout his life Eulogio found great joy in literature, reading and writing. He published one Novel, “Bobby Wouldn’t Cry” and left two additional novels in hand written draft form. He wrote many short stories, poems and left a daily journal dating back to World War II. During his lifetime he tried to read as many books as possible listed in the New York Times Best Seller List. He studied the religions of the world, theology, philosophy and begin each day with a period of meditation and prayer. After he lost most of his sight to macular degeneration he continued to listen to books on tape. He also loved his land and apple orchard in Velarde. He felt very close to the earth and could be found irrigating, pruning trees and working with his tractor during his spare time. Although he was legally blind, he would still drive his tractor through his orchard. Eulogio leaves many relatives and friends and will be missed by all.
A rosary will be held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Velarde at 3:00 PM on Wednesday April 12, 2017. A funeral Mass will follow at 4:00 PM. Interment will be held at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe at on Monday April 17 at 12:45 PM. Pallbearers include Carlos Ortega, Jerry Bunch, Danny Farrar, John Gutierrez, Jose Valdez, and Elmo Valdez. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Rivera Funeral Home in Espanola, New Mexico.
|Date of Birth
||December 28th, 1917
|Date of Death
||April 8th, 2017