JIMMY J. ORTEGA SR., 71, resident of La Madera, left this life to his eternal life surrounded by his loving family with love and prayers on February 21, 2021. He was born in La Madera to Carlos Sr. and Augustina Ortega on July 25, 1949. After working for 37 years for the local telephone company, he was enjoying the life of retirement with his beloved wife of 52 years, Connie. He embraced his Jicarilla Apache heritage by building drums at his Apache Drums workshop and gallery. As co-founders of Apache Drums Community Social Center, he and Connie hosted many memorable community dinners, fundraisers, and community events up until the recent pandemic. He was a devout Catholic as an hermano of the Cofradía/Fraternidad Piadosa de Nuestro Padre Jesús de Nazareno at the Morada de Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas in Los Ancones for over 50 years, was president and member of the parish council, and a member of the Knights of Columbus. His beautiful and strong voice echoed in many churches, moradas, chapels, and towns all over the country when he sang alabados and prayed prayers from his beloved Cofradia. He was a devoted husband and a proud father to his four children. An avid outdoorsman, hunter, fisherman, rancher, farmer, sports fanatic, and drum-maker. Served as a union representative for the Communications Workers of America union and as a board member for: Mesa Vista Consolidated School District, Alamosa Livestock Association, La Madera Water Association, and La Madera Acequia Association. He was the village handyman that helped every neighbor and never said no when asked to lend a hand. If he didn’t know you, he made sure you knew him, and he would know someone that knew you. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Carlos Sr. and Augustina Ortega; granddaughter, Dominica Jaramillo; sister, Betty Lou Garcia; brother, Felipe Ortega; niece, Cassandra Ortega and nephew, Melvin Garcia; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Natividad and Simonita Varela. He is survived by his wife Connie Ortega; children, Doreen (Dean) Jaramillo, Bernadette (Marvin) Gonzales, Jimmy Jr. (Kelly) Ortega, Stephanie (James) Martinez; grandchildren, Felicia, John Gonzales, Katarina, Antonio, Augustiniano Ortega, Bryce, Julianna, Audrina Martinez, Marissa Trujillo and Bryanna Jaramillo; great-granddaughter, Kalista Romero; aunt, Grace Martinez; fur-babies, Bonita, Daisy, and Señor Pardo; brothers and sisters, Carlos Jr. (Virginia) Ortega, Ernesto (Mary Ellen) Ortega, Vina (Frank) Ortiz, Ana (Michael) Twitchel, Ina (Leonard) Mirabal; a close niece, Francine Kain; close nephews, Carlos III, Leon, and Marcus Ortega; Godchildren, Shane Clayton, Alyssia Varela, Greg Griego, Piedad Varela, Danielle Griego, and Jalynn Varela; brothers and sisters-in-law, Porfirio (Brenda), Roselio, Elsie, Arturo, Frances (Ted), Gilbert, Donald, Joseph (Ruth); brother-in-law, and Godson Marvin (Hope); numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews all who he loved dearly and many relatives and friends. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, in-person services will be private and limited to immediate family only. Following is a link to live stream services https://youtu.be/HhZi5QTpK1A His grandsons serving as pallbearers, John, Antonio, Augustiniano and Bryce and sons-in-law, Marvin, Dean, and James. Honorary pallbearers will be his granddaughters, Felicia, Katarina, Julianna, Audrina, Marissa and Kalista. The family extends their heartfelt thanks to the first responders from the Ojo Caliente Volunteer Fire Department, James Mustoe, the medical and healthcare staff at UNM and Kindred hospitals in Albuquerque for the care they gave. Special thanks to Catherine Borner and Lynn Goudis for their support, visits, and phone calls. In lieu of flowers, the family requests you make donations to the Apache Drums Community Social non-profit organization or a local charity of your choice. The family of Jimmy J. Ortega, Sr. has entrusted their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Española Valley.
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