School 06

Esperanza Gonzales

September 5, 2020


Esperanza Gonzales de Baca, 83, passed away on September 5, 2020. She was born October 14, 1935 in El Rito, NM.  She was preceded in death by her daughter, Catherine (Cathy), brothers, Roy Baca, John Baca, sister, Estefanita Rascon, parents, Jesus and Magdalena Baca.  She leaves behind her husband of 63 years, Nelson O., sons, Nelson (Danny) and Cristobal (Cris), brother, Eduardo Flavio Baca (Esther), sisters, Zoraida Martinez, Socorro Hunt (Edgar) and Bertha Arnold (Roger), granddaughters, Desiree Chambliss (Jared), Kimberly Magles (Darren) and Lorita Henry, 11 great grandchildren, and dear friends, Arlene Padilla, Antoinette Rubolino Garcia, Cora Garcia, Viola Sisneros and Matthew Baldonado.

Esperanza graduated from El Rito Normal School as valedictorian in 1955.  She earned a music scholarship to N.M. Highlands University, later graduated from the California State College in Los Angeles, with a B.A. in math and education. She obtained a Master’s Degree in school Administration from N.M. Highlands University.  Her travels included Portugal, Spainm France, Morroco, Panama, Mexico City and much of the U.S.  Her other passions were documenting her ancestry, researching N.M. history and writing documentaries of El Rito.

She loved El Rito tremendously and dedicated her life to teaching elementary school children and young college adults.  “Mrs. G.” was also an elementary school principal as well with the Mesa Vista School District for 23 years.  In honor of her community, she obtained permission from the U.S. Forest Service to change the letter “N”. located on the north mountainside above the town to a letter “E”.  She and her students proudly completed the momentous project.  Also, with her students and community volunteers she helped clean the roadways.  With the assistance of Pauline VAroz, archeologist Dr. Jun Sunseri, Jose Vasquez and others, she spear-headed a mission to acquire the El Rito Community Cemetery from the U.S. Forest Service. She helped to establish the first medical clinic in Placitas (El Rito), which later became the community library.  She served 35 years as secretary/treasurer for the El Rito Methodist Church.

Esperanza is remembered as compassionate, dedicated, generous, hardworking and caring.  She loved to garden, cook, can and crochet.  She often shared her flowers and produce.  Her flower gardens are admired in the community.  In lieu of flowers please contribute to the American Cancer Society.  Funeral services are not scheduled at this time however, a celebration of her life will be announced at a later date.  Esperanza’s motto in life “Sí se puede y ustedes tamién pueden cumplir con sus sueños.”

The family of Esperanza Gonzales has entrusted the care of their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Espanola Valley. 505-747-7477  

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