Matilda Valdez, 84, passed away peacefully at sunset on Saturday, September 7, 2019 surrounded by her loved ones. She was born to Francisco and Ignacita Valdez and lived a full and beautiful life as a lifelong resident of the Nambé valley where she had deep roots and will be sadly missed by her family, friends and community.
She was preceded in death by her parents Francisco and Ignacita Valdez, brother Jose Edonias Valdez, nephew Frankie Valdez, madrina Estefanita Lujan, and son-in-law Jude Rivera. She was also preceded by cousins Lola Gonzalez and Nate Drisdale whom she grew up with like sisters and later in life they were aptly referred to as the Golden Girls. Additionally, just over a year ago she lost her beloved cat Coonie who was her devout companion over much of the last decade.
Matilda is survived by her daughter Margaret Rivera and her grandsons Patrick Duran (Erik Trinidad) and Gerald Rivera the three of which were the center of her universe. She is also survived by step-granddaughter Jessica Rivera, God children Donna Griego and Jake Herrera, her grandson Patrick’s two puppies Louie and Guinness who she lovingly referred to as “the boys,” as well as many other special family and friends.
Matilda graduated from Pojoaque High School in 1955 and had several jobs throughout her life, but most notably worked for the original Nambé Mills for 20 years as a supervisor in their local showroom and for the State of New Mexico until she retired in 1997. Her strong work ethic went far beyond the work day where she also committed herself to her family, community, land, water, animals, and faith. She served and volunteered as the Treasurer for the Acequia del Llano for 31 years eventually resigning her elected post in 2013. Throughout those three decades she maintained meticulous and detailed handwritten ledgers where she often calculated the math the old-fashioned way and knew every detail of this role. She was a dedicated parciante walking the fields and ditches and chasing the water to irrigate. She had a passion and love for the land and maintained fruit trees, vegetable gardens and such beautiful flowers throughout her property, especially her roses. All of this wisdom and passion was imparted from her to her family and many who she taught and shared it with along the way. She was referred to by many as “grandma” whether by friends her grandsons introduced her to from near or far or others that were touched by her smile, wisdom and hospitality that she will always be loved and remembered for. Public visitation will begin on Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Nambe, with a rosary to be recited at 6:00 p.m. Memorial mass will be celebrated on Monday, September 16, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. also at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Nambe, with a burial to follow at the Rosario Cemetery in Santa Fe.
Honorary pallbearers for Matilda are Jake Herrera, Manny Gonzalez, Johnny Valdez, Orlando Arévalo Alire, Lynette Trujillo, Antoinette Trujillo, Liana Hussein, Carl Griego, Jr., Serafin Vigil, Jr., Randy Vigil and Gabe Gallegos.
The family has entrusted the care of their loved one to the DeVargas Funeral Home and Crematory of Española Valley.