Matilde V. Romero peacefully passed away at her home on October 7, 2022, surrounded by her family at the age of 95. Matilde was born on March 14, 1927, in the home of her grandparents Francisco and Teodocia (Valencia) Montoya and her Tia Tita, Lorencita Montoya in Sombrillo, NM to her parents, Guzman Vigil and Antonia (Tonita) Montoya Vigil. She married Jose Erminio Romero on May 5, 1947, built a home, and started a family. On their 75th wedding anniversary, the Holy Father, Pope Francis cordially imparted an Apostolic Blessing on their marriage.
Matilde graduated from Santa Cruz High School in 1946 and earned a degree in Early Childhood Education from New Mexico Highlands University in 1978. After her children were old enough, she began her career as an educator. She taught Head Start for 20 years at Holy Cross, McCurdy, Chimayo, Arroyo Seco, Nambe, and La Comunidad Center in Santa Fe. She was instrumental in shaping the lives of many of the areas’ children through her creativity, adaptability, listening, collaboration, empathy, and patience. Skills she learned by raising her six sons. Matilde was especially proud of her children, modestly referring to them as her greatest accomplishment. She encouraged her sons to follow their dreams and their passions which led them to successful careers in dentistry, pharmacy, chiropractic, military, and private/public service.
In retirement, Matilde demonstrated her creativity and talents by devoting time to art and writing. After painting a masterpiece for each of her sons, she moved on to weaving and tinwork and finally concentrated on creating straw appliqué crosses and writing for enjoyment. She is a published author, some of her stories featured in “Mixed Beans” and “Ayer Y Ahora” which was the 2006 recipient of the New Mexico Heritage Presentation award, New Mexico Anthologies. She presented some of her writings at the Museo Cultural de Santa Fe through readings and vignettes. “The Case of the Cut Percha in Kangaroo Court” was published in the Tapestry Magazine, Lansing, Iowa, in 2006. “Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Lupita,” a poem, was published in the Santa Fe New Mexican Pasatiempo in May 2000 and La Herencia, in 2006. Meet Barkie, a story about the family dog, was published in 2009. Of noteworthy significance is an unpublished story titled, “Centennial Friendships,” about circumstances that brought the Vigil and Bell families together, a friendship that lasted a lifetime. Another story, “Nobody ever Asked,” is about her school days, a family favorite. Matilda was also a commissioned artist in straw appliqué. Her commissioned piece is displayed on the main altar at the Museo Y Convento at the Plaza de Española.
Matilda was the brainchild and driving force for successfully naming two bridges (the Freddie I Branch Bridge in Santa Cruz/Sombrillo and the Dos Romeros Bridge in Cuyamungue) for local veterans who served in Viet Nam and WWII.
Matilda was well known in the Santa Cruz Senior Center, often participating in committees, activities, and volunteer work. A member for over 35 years, her goal was to build a community where people felt they belong and where folks could come to laugh and joke. Featured in a Senior Center article, it stated that seniors at Santa Cruz were thankful for her dedication and leadership and went on to say that it is this type of dedication that makes way for future senior leadership and allows for the continuation of senior services.
Matilde is survived by her husband of 75 years, Jose Erminio Romero; her six sons: Dr Francisco Romero (Regina), Dr Charles Romero (Lisa), Dr Ronald Romero, Jerome Romero, Eric Romero (Peggy) and Chris Romero (Gina). Grandchildren: Darrell (Ana Marie), Jennifer (Peter), Carlos, Alicia, Lance (Rachel), Erica (Carl), Celeste, Estevan, Alex, Justin (Claudia) and Zachary. Great grandchildren: Amadeus, Raine, Evan, Sienna, Julian, Pascual, Charlie. Siblings: Amy Schultz, Lilly Martinez, David Vigil. She is preceded in death by her grandparents, Francisco and Teodosia Montoya, her Tia Tita, her parents Guzmán and Tonita Vigil, her siblings: Flora Chavez, Bernie Cordova, Frances Holt, Christina Vigil, Mike Vigil, Bobby Vigil, and Sylvia Salazar.
The family wishes to thank Matilde’s caregivers, nurses, home health aides, hospice team and family members, especially Lorenzo Olivas, who provided care and comfort to their dear mother and wife. The family also wishes to thank the Santa Cruz Parish home bound ministry for providing spiritual guidance and comfort.
A Rosary will be held on Sunday, October 16, 2022 at 4:00 pm at DeVargas Funeral Home in Espanola, NM . A Mass will be held on Monday, October 17, 2022 at 3:00 pm at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Santa Cruz, NM. Burial will take place on Tuesday, October 18, 2022 at 12:30 pm at The Santa Fe National Cemetery in Santa Fe, NM.
The family of Matilde Romero has entrusted their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Beautiful Espanola Valley. www.devargasfuneral.com 505.747.7477