On a beautiful blue-sky morning, with spring in the air, an unexpected and profound sadness surrounded the Velarde-Warren Family. Surrounded by her family, the gates of Heaven opened and our mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother entered into the Lord’s Kingdom. Embraced by Jesus and greeted by her mother, father, sister, and many relatives. Her Spirit and Soul entered into a new and exciting chapter of her life.
June was very proud of her family’s legacy. Her family served in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War (both sides), Spanish American War, World War 1, and World War 2. On her mother’s family side (Troutman, Abram) traveled from North Carolina, leaving behind an expansive farm, and traveled by covered wagon to Northeastern Oklahoma. Rebuilding a large farm and cattle ranch. She was a relative of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt. On her father’s family side (Warren, Moore) she was the Great-Great-Great Granddaughter of Chief Nunnadihi Path killer, Chief of the Tennessee Cherokee Nation. Her clan was the Red Paint Clan. She was related to many famous outlaws, gangsters, mobsters of the 1930’s.
Juanita June Warren Velarde was born January 11, in Treece, Kansas. A small mining and farming community in Southeastern Kansas, better known as tornado alley. Growing up amongst the tall expansive corn fields and coal mining town was an adventure all by itself. Watching and helping families devastated by tornados and rebuilding many of her own homes that were destroyed by killer tornados. Helping relatives raise barns and homes and gather crops. Witnessing firsthand of a mine collapse and waiting for her father to emerge from the coal bucket being pulled by a mule. Being happy that he came out, but sad for the other families. At times living by railroad tracks she witnessed the compassion of her family helping and feeding Hobo’s. At a very young age she was a child model, gracing the covers of many popular national magazines. Her formal education was in a one room schoolhouse. Learning the importance of reading and writing. In time her father contracted black lung disease and the families adventure was about to begin. Visiting every state west of the Mississippi River. Living in her family’s cabin in Estes Park Colorado was breath taking, seeing the majestic Rocky Mountains, and realizing the towering mountains were very different from the flat land that was home. Moving to Yellowstone and seeing firsthand the beauty of Mother Earth. Living in Seattle was an eye-opening experience. Seeing and feeling fog for the first time in her life was an experience that lasted throughout her life. Seeing the occasional fog in New Mexico brought back many vivid memories. Traveling along the West coast highway she was in awe of the mighty redwoods. Never seeing trees such as these back home had a lasting impact of how majestic and beautiful our Nation is. Living in San Francisco was a daily adventure. Her childhood memory of the ending of World War 2 and trying to make her way to the Warf lasted hours. The celebration and joy of a Nation at peace profoundly impacted her view of war. She always commented how our Nation was so united at that time and everyone supported each other. Sharing war stamps and helping “the boys” overseas. Her father being a Union President of the steamfitters Union was offered a job in Los Alamos. Traveling to New Mexico and arriving in Española was a shocking experience, since there was no housing. Living at “tent city” at Loudermilk property she bared the cold and at times lived in the family car. Finally finding
housing in Velarde she met the father of her children, Edward Velarde. Marrying Edward, she helped establish one of the Valleys first fruit stands. Her vision and guidance helped build the largest fruit stand in New Mexico and the largest Organic orchard in New Mexico. Challenging her family to start a canning business and eventually canning many different and unique products. She grew the canning operation from a few jars to 30,000 jars annually. Creating and developing new flavors of jams and ciders. In 1966, she, along with 4 other families, New Mexico Department of Agriculture, and the Santa Fe League of Women Voters started the first Farmers markets in New Mexico. Helping open Taos, White Rock, Los Alamos and what is now Santa Fe Farmers Market. She was a vendor at all of these markets for 56 years. In 1957, June and many other families helped organize and build the first fire station in Rio Arriba. Seeing the need for land she personally knew a family that had the right piece of property. After many long conversations and many cups of coffee, he gave the community the property. Making her promise that the property would belong to the community and would be only for the Velarde fire station. This was the only promise that she could not keep in her lifetime. Helping raise funds and joining the Women’s Auxiliary was a blessing and a curse. When her son decided to join the fire department along with many family friends the nightmare that she lived many years later would haunt her every time “her boys” answered a call. Her close cousin was a firefighter and died a line of duty death. He was trying to save a mother and her two children when they all perished in that horrible fire. Every call would bring back memories and the funeral that followed that tragic time in her life. Not wanting to discourage anyone she kept that fear in her heart. In 1967, June was approached with the opportunity to become a teachers’ aide. This was a new task and seemed exciting. After her first week she was inspired by helping teach and mold young children. A few years later she was given the task of teaching children to read. Seeing the need for teachers she decided to become a certified teacher. Teaching, raising a family, helping with farm work, she decided to take night classes. 7 ½ years later she graduated from College of Santa Fe with honors. June earned her ESL certificate and taught Spanish to many children. Many students would recall her Kansas accent spin on Spanish words. Many of her former students would visit her and joke and remind her of the Spanish she taught. Her students always commented how she dressed fashionable for the time. In 1979 she approached the parents of her students and challenged them to help raise money for a trip to Disneyland and other amusement parks. After several months and many obstacles, she was able to take 30 students on a road trip. The memories and excitement lasted her lifetime. Many students still recall the fun and joy they had. Her teaching career spanned 40 years and thousands of students. Teaching a brief time at Alcalde and Ohkay Owingeh. Most of her teaching career was in Velarde. Many students would visit the farm store or see her at various locations in the Valley. Always expressing their gratitude and how her teaching impacted their lives. Many would tell her that her teaching skills helped them in their own lives. Always joking and telling her “You taught me and my children.” Sometimes not remembering a name, but always a face. When she would hear of the death of one of her students it would bring sadness and heartbreak for a loss of a young life. Remembering her student was her way of coping with a young loss. She encouraged and helped many friends become teachers. She collaborated
closely with many educators, Ms. Pauline Gallegos, Ms. Maria Arellano, Ms. Luanna Martinez, and Ms. Imelda Romero, just to name a few. She was honored, by her daughter, Judy, and Granddaughter, Maya, becoming teachers also. Never one to complain or afraid of demanding work, she was up early and worked tirelessly at her family’s fruit stand. Many visitors would ask her about her family’s farm and where she was from. She traveled twice to Mexico and expressed her concerns on her last visit, Mexico is changing and not for the good of their people. June loved to read at an early age and continued throughout her life. Reading many books and magazines at a fast pace. Working on crossword puzzles and challenging her children to answer any of the questions. She loved talking and sometimes eating lunch with her farm workers, the “boys” as she fondly called them, was a time to help them and energize their life and reach for the stars. She worked with many of the sales ladies at her farm stand. She enjoyed talking to them and mentoring these young ladies. She would call them her “sales ladies.” Always willing to listen to their problems but making all her “boys” and “ladies” find a solution to their problems. She continued a family tradition by donating to many worthy causes. She always helped those that were less fortunate than her. Donating to Father Flanagan’s Boys Town, Saint Joseph’s Indian School, Wounded Warriors, Saint Jude’s Hospital, ASPAC, and Food Depot just to name a few. She was an avid animal lover and had many pets over her lifetime. She was a force of nature and an inspiration to all that knew her. She will be forever greatly missed. There was so much more to June’s life than what is written here. Her childhood and her adventures in every state.
June was proceeded in death by her father, George Elmer Warren, her mother, Goldie Mae Abram Warren. Her Paternal Grandparents Cyrus Warren and Emeline Hartung. Her Maternal Grandparents Arthur Abram and Lillie Troutman Abram. A Sister Hazel Bond, Nephew Tommy Wayne Bond many other relatives, all from Kansas. The father of her children Edward Velarde.
June is survived by her children, Sharon Velarde, Judy Velarde, Linda Velarde and Partner Guillermo Chavez-Rosette, Eddie Velarde, and Shannon Talent. Grandson Jeremy Rodriquez and wife Dynelle. Grandson Cisco Velarde and Fiancé Rita Daniels. Granddaughter Desiree Velarde and granddaughter Maya Velarde. Great grandchildren, Caleb Velarde, Caiden Velarde, Jocelyn Rodriguez, Jake Rodriguez and Kalia Velarde. A nephew Tony Bond of Kansas. Her two beloved pets, Pickles, and Bandit.
Pallbearers are, Darwin Yazzie, Joseph Sunday, Ryan Campion, Marvin Armijo Jr. Shannon Talent, and Guillermo Chavez-Rosette.
Honorary Pallbearers are all her Grandchildren and Great grandchildren.
Following her family’s tradition and her wishes, a private service will be held, and she will be laid to rest at her family’s farm in Velarde.
Her wishes were no flowers and to donate to a worthy cause in her name.
The family of Juanita June Velarde has entrusted the care of their loved one to the DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Espanola Valley. 505-747-7477 www.devargasfuneral.com