Fortunata S. Martinez, 91, from Los Luceros, NM, passed away peacefully at home on May 12, 2018 surrounded by her family.
Fortunata, also known as “Fortie,” was the youngest daughter born to Juan de Dios and Marina Sanchez on June 16th in Lyden, NM. She had many brothers and sisters, all of whom have preceded her in death.
Fortie attended Santa Cruz High School and was a long-time “Crusader.” After HS, she found employment as a telephone operator and mail carrier in Los Alamos during the Manhattan project; she was one of many that were housed in a Women’s Dormitory. During this time, she also ran two private bus depots in Los Alamos and, on weekends, worked at the counter of a local soda shop selling sundries, soda pop and ice cream. Once back from his WWII military service, her future husband, Antonio Martinez Jr., while attending a local dance, said he wanted to dance with the “girl in the Crusader sweater.” They courted for a few months after which, they married in May 1950 at San Juan the Baptist Catholic Church at San Juan Pueblo, NM.
They settled down in Velarde, NM and while there, had three children: Joseph, Marion and Alexine. In 1962, they bought a ranch and built a home in Los Luceros, NM. They had two more children, Pamela and Paula and made this their final home.
As a San Juan Parishioner, she was a member of the Altar & Rosary Society and the Tri-lingual Choir. She was on the Church Bazaar committee for many decades and assisted with the annual Church Picnic and Feast Day events.
In addition to attending and assisting Christian leadership “Crucillos,” Marriage Enrichment Programs and Youth catechisms, she and her spouse were active members of the Espanola community.
Though she worked at Cooks, Strauss General Store (which was later bought and owned by Bee Jay’s Dry Goods, prop, Sydney Block), as a Tour Guide at the State Capitol, a Parimutuel employee at the SF Downs and a Cashier at Lowe’s Grocery Store, Fortie was best known for her work as an Avon Representative for nearly three decades. During that time, she developed a huge customer base and received many President Club awards along the way. She had a great customer work ethic which helped her succeed in every endeavor.
Fortie instilled this same work ethic in her children; the same hard work mentality that was taught to her. She, along with her brothers and sisters and their families, would spend many of holidays with their Mother and Father in Lyden.
As a young wife and mother she would style her home (to meet the modern décor) and baked homemade bread/cakes as well as traditional foods for her family. She had a beautiful mezzo soprano voice and enjoyed singing with her family at home, at church and especially at Easter Sunrise Services and at Christmas time when they would go out caroling. She also loved to work outside, particularly when it came to planting and caring for her flower garden. Fortie had a flare for style and beauty which never faded even as the styles did.
Fortie is survived by her husband of 68 years, Antonio Martinez, Jr., her four children, Marion, Alexine, Pamela and Paula (husband Armando Sandoval). She is also survived by her four grandchildren, John David, Alex Antonio, Antonio and Marina; close family friends, Miquela Anaya and Katherine Brooks; and sisters-in-law, Peggy Sanchez and Pearl Sanchez. She is preceded in death by her son, Joseph; her parents, Juan de Dios and Marina (Madrid) Sanchez; her brothers and sisters, Jerry, Candie, Max, Jose Antonio, Eloisa, Aurora and Rupert.
The family wishes to thank all of those who cared for her over the last year, especially the Ambercare Hospice staff (Claudette and Heather--we love you!) and most especially Sat Atma who provided tenderness, compassion and care only matched by Fortie’s daughters. Public visitation will begin on Friday, May 18, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Velarde, with a rosary to be recited at 10:00 a.m. and a Mass of Christian burial to be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Burial will be held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Cemetery in Velarde. Serving the family as pallbearers will be Bruce Mascarenas, Mike Sanchez, John Benedict Martinez, Yancy Sanchez, Dion Sanchez and Lloyd Romero. Honorary pallbearers will be Luis Sanchez, Raymond Sanchez, Corrine Salazar, Tony Martinez, Tony Sanchez, Johnny Rivera, Ronnie Mascarenas and Monty Sanchez. The family of Fortunata S. Martinez has entrusted the care of their loved one to the DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Espanola Valley.