Bennie, 86, lifelong resident of Pojoaque, NM, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Sunday, November 21, 2021. Bennie was born on March 9, 1935 in Nambe, NM where she grew up. She married Willie Trujillo and moved to southern California, relocating soon afterwards to Jacona, NM, where Bennie and Willie built a home and raised their children. Bennie was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother and will be greatly missed.
From the time she was a child, Bennie loved to sing and dance. As a teenager, she sang with her sister Tillie at their father’s Adobe Night Club. She also loved to dance, and when she met Willie, he was the perfect dance partner for her. They were good dancers. They could do the Jitterbug and dance the Corridos with the best of them. They could always be seen on the dance floor at weddings and at the annual Firemen’s Ball in Pojoaque.
Family was very important to Bennie. As a young mother, she made life fun for her children. When her kids were playing outside with their toy cars, she would use a garden hoe to make little roads in the dirt. She would scratch out a hopscotch court in the dirt, find just the right stone, and then join her kids in playing hopscotch. She loved Elvis Presley movies and would pop huge grocery bags full of popcorn and buy sodas so the family could go to the drive-in theatre to see Elvis. On the drive home, Bennie would find a radio station that was playing the Spanish classics, or songs by Elvis or Patsy Cline. Then she would turn up the volume and sing along.
During the summer months, Bennie made sure to take her young children to visit family. She did not like driving on the highway. She would drive through the back dirt roads of Jaconita, up past Candido’s, and across the Pojoaque Pueblo to see her sisters Lorraine and Tillie, so her kids could play with their cousins while the adults visited. Then it was off to Grandma’s house across from the Nambe church, where there were always little green apples to pick and eat with salt. Summertime also meant camping and fishing trips. When the great fishermen returned to camp, Bennie would be there, frying chicken over the open fire – just in case they didn’t catch any fish!
It's hard to think of Bennie without seeing her making masa in that special little metal bowl, quickly forming dozens of perfectly round tortillas. She was happy to show others how easy it was to make tortillas, but they never turned out quite as good as hers. The tortillas she made were always counted, as were the pints of green chili she had put up, each time trying to break her own record. If you were lucky enough to stop by while Willie was roasting green chili on the wood stove in the casita, you could count on a spam and chili sandwich, with one of Bennie’s freshly made tortillas. Every morning she would get Willie’s lunch ready for work. One tortilla sandwich with egg, spam, and chili for breakfast and one without egg for lunch, coffee in the thermos, and cookies for dessert.
Bennie has left this earth, but she will live on in our hearts. We will think of her when we hear a Patsy Cline song, when we watch an Elvis Presley movie, or when we eat little green apples with salt. We can choose to believe that she has found her dance partner Willie once again. Maybe she is feeding him a spam and chili sandwich so he will have the energy to dance the Jitterbug in a place where the music never stops and legs never get tired. Dance on, Bennie! We will miss you.
Bennie was preceded in death by her loving husband of 62 years, Willie Trujillo, infant son Ronald Trujillo, son-in-law Floyd Roybal; parents Carmel and Juanita Romero, in-laws Solomon and Elaiza Trujillo; sisters Lorraine Montoya and Ben, Tillie Garcia and Johnny, Carmen Herrera; brother Eloy Herrera; brother-in-law Eligio Griego: brothers-in-law Patricio Trujillo, Orlando Trujillo, Martin Trujillo and Bobby Quintana, sisters-in-law Cecilia Wood and Stella Trujillo.
Bennie is survived by her children; Donald Trujillo and wife Linda, Charles Trujillo and wife Joyce, Debra Roybal, Louise Oakeley and husband Tim and close family friend Alex Herrera; grandchildren Jason, Scott, Kandice, Karissa, Krystle, Desiree, Jonathan and Joshua; great grandchildren Jude, Violet, Harvey, Theodore, Trinity, Syler, Avery and Cole; brothers David Romero and wife Lugie, Mino Romero and wife Agnes, Sammy Romero and wife Christina; sisters MaryAnn Griego, Sophie Howard and husband Harry, Vangie Herrera; brother-in-law Frudy Herrera; sisters-in-law, Mary Quintana and Loyola Trujillo; brothers-in-law Tony Trujillo, Jerry Wood, John Trujillo and wife Anna, Jake Trujillo and wife Diane.
Services will be held on Thursday, December 16 at Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Catholic Church in Pojoaque with a rosary at 9:30 am, followed by a mass at 10:00 am. Private interment at the Pojoaque Cemetery.
The family of Bennie Trujillo has entrusted the care of their loved one to the DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Espanola Valley. 505-747-7477 www.devargasfuneral.com