Elizabeth Ann Castillo Kirby
The Elizabeth we knew is no longer with us; she has transitioned to all that awaits her after a full and good life.
For Pamela Kirby Blackwell (husband, Michael Blackwell) and for Todd William Kirby (wife, Shelley Young Kirby), Elizabeth was their all-nurturing, unqualified-loving, prideful mom, who was the primary reason for their being who they have become.
For Ayla, Porter, Maya, Stratton, Anna and Aaron, she was a loved grandma. For Gloria, Michael and Steve Castillo, she was the example-setting older sister, who always loved them. For others, she was the beloved daughter, granddaughter, daughter-in-law, aunt and relative. For her good friends, Elizabeth was the loyal, energetic and creative friend with whom they enjoyed talking and sharing their life.
For me, L. William “Bill” Kirby, Elizabeth Ann was my North Star, the person who pulled me toward having a balance in my life, the reason for much of my meaning, my respite, my safe place and the love of my life for more than 50 years of marriage.
Elizabeth Ann Castillo was born to Nona Amalia Sanchez Castillo and Jose Inez Castillo on Sept. 1, 1946. Every day of her adult life, Elizabeth was grateful for the blessing of having a mother who was a constant source of wisdom, encouragement and love.
Elizabeth grew up in Belen, where she attended St. Mary’s School through eighth grade and graduated from Belen High School in 1964. Subsequently, she attended both the University of New Mexico and New Mexico Highlands University, where she graduated with a degree in education with an emphasis in home economics and minor in art history.
Elizabeth’s first career job was as a talented home economist with Public Service Company of New Mexico for six years. During those years, our too-interrupted courtship ended, and our marriage began Nov. 5, 1971. Soon after, Elizabeth made a career transition to teaching and was an incredibly sensitive, dedicated, and effective elementary and middle school teacher while also being the primary breadwinner.
Six years later, she turned in her lesson plan and transitioned to being the full-time parent, schedule-coordinator, chauffeur, cook, maid, mother bear, spouse-supporter, do-everything-for everybody-stay-at-home-mom. Additionally, she became the reliable family-representative volunteer, the Cub Scout or Girl Scout troop leader, the attendance office caller, a high school Parent Advisory Committee president, an Albuquerque Museum docent, a jazzercise aficionada and a book club enthusiast.
One passion for Elizabeth was the creative arts. She enjoyed and excelled in the culinary arts, painting, sculpture, sewing and making all media of handicrafts. A second passion was traveling internationally, and she enjoyed immensely the museums, churches, culture and shopping which overseas travel provides.
Certainly, she was a devout Catholic all her life. To the best of her ability, Elizabeth continued doing all these things until an unrelenting mixture of illnesses combined to progressively limit the activities that she could do physically. Her greatest regret was that during the last 12 years of her life she didn’t get to fully be the grandmother that she dreamed of being.
Our family is profoundly indebted to the wonderful caregivers who gave generously of their abundant, nurturing “cariño” during Elizabeth’s convalescence: Bertha, María, Leticia, Mary, Valerie, Andrea, Olivia, Darica and Sherrie, thank you.
Elizabeth’s final transition was Nov. 2, 2022, and she will remain in our hearts forever.
Memorial contributions may be made in Elizabeth’s memory to Catholic Charities of Central New Mexico atccasfnm.org, 2010 Bridge Blvd. SW, Albuquerque, NM, 87105, 505-724.4670.
A Rosary and Funeral Mass took place at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Albuquerque on Nov. 14-15, and internment at Our Lady of Belen Cemetery.
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