Cover photo for Stella Vigil Roybal's Obituary
Stella Vigil Roybal Profile Photo

Stella Vigil Roybal

January 12, 2021

Stella Vigil Roybal passed away peacefully in her San Pedro home on January 12, 2021, just minutes before she was to have reached for her first cup of morning coffee. She spent the previous evening visiting and laughing with others until retiring for the night. Laughter was one of her reliable companions throughout life.

Stella was born April 13, 1925, in the mountain village of Cundiyó to Pedro and Petronila Vigil in the adobe home built by her father before New Mexico statehood. She had 13 siblings, four of whom are among her survivors.

Fellow students first at the Allison-James School in Santa Fé then at Menaul High School in Albuquerque, Stella and Amos Roybal were married at the First Presbyterian Church in the capital in August 1946. Stella, having completed early years of college, had begun teaching multiple grade levels in a one-room schoolhouse in Cundiyó. Amos, of Truchas, had recently returned from front-line combat in World War II.

Stella and Amos raised five children at the San Pedro home that they purchased in the early 1950s. The small home sat on about a half-acre and soon Stella asked her young husband if he might consider buying just a tiny patch more where she could grow radishes. Amos, instead, bought about another acre behind the home, fertile property that the couple farmed faithfully and with considerable joy as if the land had dropped down from Heaven, itself. During growing seasons, vegetables, fruit and flowers filled the land around the home. Hoes, rakes and shovels were always close at hand.

One morning last summer, Stella happily prepared to go into her garden after being confined indoors by an injury for days. “¡Hoy me la pagan las yerbas!”  (Today, the weeds are going to pay for it), she said through a smile while reaching for her worn, straw hat.

Stella had remained active and determined like that for years on her own. Amos, whom Stella warmly referred to as “mi viejo,” was in every sense the love of Stella’s life. He died in December 2009 with Stella at his side. It was a marriage of 63 years.

As a child, Stella left her bare footprints all over the hills that surround Cundiyó. She had no interest in the weaving that occupied her sisters indoors so she assigned herself to collect dry firewood amid trees of juniper and piñon.

Imprints of her long life stay with her children: Elsa Trujillo and husband, José Alfonso, of Sombrillo; David and wife, Marlene, of Cundiyó; Sylvia of Española; and Thomas and partner, Cecilia Ortiz, of Chimayó. Stella and Amos adopted granddaughter, Benina, who they raised. Grandson, Erik Roybal, lived in the home and for years cared for his grandparents. Mely Fierro also served as a very loving caretaker during Stella’s final year.

Eldest son, Tim Roybal (wife Anna) of Medanales, is among those who preceded Stella in death.

Besides her children, Stella is survived by many loving grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and in-laws.

Stella will be buried at the Veterans National Cemetery in Santa Fé amid strict COVID-related restrictions. In lieu of a restricted memorial service, the family expresses gratitude to all who will keep Stella in their memories during years that come.

The family of Stella Roybal has entrusted the care of their loved one to the DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Espanola Valley.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Stella Vigil Roybal, please visit our flower store.

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