Marcelo Gilberto Abeyta


Marcelo Gilberto Abeyta

Marcelo Gilberto Abeyta, age 88, a resident of La Joya, N.M., passed away on Feb. 1, 2022.

His battle with cancer in recent years showed his courage in facing life’s challenges with a smile. Despite the pain, Marcelo was a hero and stayed strong until the end. He was born on Nov. 19, 1933, in Veguita, to Marcel and Amparo Rubio Abeyta.

Marcelo is preceded in death by his loving wife of 49 years, Edwina Abeyta; brothers, Norberto, Eusebio, and Vences; and sister, Josephine.

He is survived by his sons, Andrew (Lilly), Thomas (Lorraine) and Tim; daughters, Bernadette Sinclair (Ronnie) and Mary Chavira (Henry); grandchildren, Robert (Sarah) and Roy Sinclair, Ronda Sanchez (Emilio), Derek (Amber), Adrian (Sarah) and Sydney Abeyta, Henry Chavira Jr., Celina Garcia (Juan), Lorena Baca (Tristin), Loretta Chavira, Cody (Asia), Crystal and Angela Smith; brothers, Abran (Sally), Ines, Miguel (Ollie), Refugio (Cathy) and Beltran (Adela) Abeyta; sisters-in-law, Fidelma Romero, Emma Griego and Carol Chavez; brother-in-law, Rodney Helms; and several great grandchildren and one great-great grandson.

Marcelo served his country in the U.S. Army and was an original native of Veguita in his early years, and a resident of La Joya for most of his life. He was a founding member of the La Joya Acequia Association and was instrumental in reestablishing the acequia irrigation system, the La Joya Community Development Association, the La Joya Charitable, Educational and Assistance Organization and the La Joya Mutual Domestic Water Cooperative Association. Marcelo was also active in the El Camino Housing Authority.

In addition to his work in the community, Marcelo was an Hermano of the Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno Morada. He was truly an icon of the community on many levels. Before retiring, Marcelo ran a successful bookkeeping and tax service in Belen.

He was a great gentleman and lived a full and eventful life. Marcelo touched so many people along the way and impacted so many lives. He was a true treasure and a very wise man who always offered good advice. Marcelo’s motto was, “Keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut.”

As an active member of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, he and his wife served as mayordomos many times. Marcelo loved the Lord and showed it by his great acts of faith, service, love, and hope. Many a time he counseled others in times of distress with his faithful words, “Do not let your heart be troubled.”

Marcelo’s parting words were always “Adios, Adiosito.”

A viewing, Rosary and Funeral Mass were held at San Juan Catholic Church in Veguita on Monday, Feb. 7. Interment followed at La Joya Catholic Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Adrian, Daniel, and Derek Abeyta, Henry E. Chavira Jr., Patrick Griego, Anthony Lopez, Al Romero and Robert John Sinclair. Angela Smith was an honorary pallbearer. Good night, Dad!

Please sign Marcelo’s online tribute at Romero Funeral Home, 609 N. Main St., Belen.


Barbara Bransky


Barbara Bransky

Barbara Bransky, a former resident of Belen, passed on Jan. 31, 2022, after a brave struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. She was 82.

Barbara was born on May 22, 1939, in Saukville, Wisc., and was the youngest of five children of Bertha and Erhard Glander. She grew up in Wisconsin but later lived in Illinois, New Mexico and Minnesota.

She is survived by her children, Arthur Fromm, Merri Fromm (Gaius Nelson); Phil’s children, Airella “Laura” Levarko and Seth (Jennifer) Bransky; as well as grandchildren, Bridget Fromm Trent, Tamara Nelson-Fromm, Katherine and Elizabeth Bransky, Naamit, Yoav, Maayan and Daniel Levarko.

She was preceded in death by her husbands, Philip Bransky and Arthur Fromm.

Barbara loved line dancing, books, theater, travel and cycling. She once bicycled across the entire United States with Phil. She was an avid volunteer for the Belen Harvey House Museum. She was a great Yahtzee enthusiast. Most of all she cherished her many friends, especially those from the Sunrise Bluffs community.

In lieu of flowers, the family of Barbara asks that donations in her name be made to the Belen Harvey House Museum, 104 N. First St., Belen, N.M., 87002.


Jose I. Castillo


Jose I. Castillo

Jose I. Castillo, age 82, a resident of Belen, passed away on Jan. 31, 2022.

He was a member of Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church and Calvary Chapel Rio Grande Valley. Jose was a farmer, husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend. He loved God and his family very much. Jose was a hard worker and dedicated his life to taking care of his family.

Jose is preceded in death by his parents, Ignacio and Flora Chavez Castillo; brothers, Elias and Ralph; and sisters, Viola and Viviana.

He is survived by his loving wife, Rita Castillo; sons, Richard (Andrea), of Albuquerque, Ignacio (Brandy), of Los Lunas, and Matthew (Erin), of Los Lunas; daughters, Mary Castillo, of Belen, Joann Jaramillo (Mark), of Belen, and Lisa Trujillo (Carlos), of Belen; 22 loving grandchildren; brothers, Melquides (Lydia), of California, Benjamin (Vangie), of Belen, Patrick, of Santa Fe, and Robert, of Belen; and sisters, Mary Helen and Angela Vigil (Juan), of Albuquerque.

A visitation will be held at Calvary Chapel Rio Grande Valley at 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 15, with a Funeral Service at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Our Lady of Belen Memorial Gardens.

Please sign Jose’s online tribute at Romero Funeral Home, 609 N. Main St., Belen.


Gertrude Olguin Locey


Gertrude Olguin Locey

Gertrude Olguin Locey, age 92, a resident of Jarales, passed away on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, surrounded by her family.

She was born on April 26, 1929, in Jarales, to Fernandez and Doloritas Olguin. Gertrude grew up in Jarales with her other siblings. She graduated from Belen High School in 1947, when she worked at the courthouse, and from there she began working for the Belen Consolidated Schools as a bookkeeper. Gertrude eventually retired from the Belen Schools after serving more than 32 years.

She was a member of Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church. Gertrude enjoyed crocheting, sewing, gardening and baking different kinds of goodies and treats during Christmas time. She also enjoyed traveling with her sister, Ramona Baca. They went to several places in the U.S., such as New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Laughlin, Nev.

Gertrude also cherished her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren; she was always active with them going hiking to the river, fishing, playing basketball and just spending time with them.

She would always go get her hair done weekly with her hair dresser, Rose, whom she loved and built a friendship with. Gertrude also loved and enjoyed her fur babies, her dogs, Rico, Peaches and Milo. Gertrude was a strong and loving person with gentle heart and she will truly be missed.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Fernandez and Doloritas Olguin; brother, Vicente; sisters, Annie McGuiness, Octavia Garcia, Albieta Benavidez, Nila Ulibarri, Polly Budagher, Carmen Jaramillo, Ramona Baca, Emily Aragon and Mary Nigg; and great-grandson, Deryle Sanchez.

Gertrude is survived by her daughter, Pamela Locey; son, Robert Locey (Catherine); grandchildren, Christopher (Esperanza Ruiz) and Adam Emanuel Sanchez (Angelina), Robert Jr., Joshua (Alaina), Ashley (Nathan Gutierrez) and Nicholas Locey; great-grandchildren, Jonathan Ruiz, Samantha O’Grady, Jordan Ruiz and Adam Anthony Sanchez; great-great grandchildren, Aiden Gutierrez and Myla Locey; and numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives.

A visitation will be held on Thursday, Feb. 10, at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church at 9 a.m., with a Rosary to be recited at 9:30 a.m. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Our Lady of Belen Memorial Gardens.

Please sign Gertrude’s online tribute at Romero Funeral Home, 609 N. Main St., Belen.


Salvador “Sal” Martinez


Salvador “Sal” Martinez

Salvador “Sal” Martinez, age 86, of Belen, passed away on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, to peacefully rest in wait for the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

On Jan. 20, 1936, Sal was born as the sixth of 10 children to parents, Jose and Vicenta Martinez. His love and dedication toward the well-being of his family was his life’s work.

Sal stopped attending school in the third grade so he could start working on the family farm, fondly referred to as “the ranch.” When asked, he would say he was a graduate of la Escuela del Pan Duro, the School of Hard Knocks. Life was not easy, but Sal believed that whoever was born to be a tamale, the husks would fall from the sky, meaning what is meant to be, will be — “Que sera, sera.”

He met the love of his life, Telesfora “Tillie” Cordero, at the ranch. They were married on Sept. 12, 1963, and together, Sal and Tillie, raised their family. He was a hard-worker and an entrepreneur. Sal sought and made opportunities to provide for his family even when there were none.

In March 1990, Tillie passed away and, six years later, after 30 years of owning a successful nightclub, he suddenly retired, handing the keys of Sal’s Bar and Restaurant over to his son.

Sal was baptized as a Seventh Day Adventist and dedicated the remainder of his life to God, beginning his ultimate work as a missionary. He regarded this as his proudest decision and life’s purpose, sharing the biblical truth to all who would listen and completing his life with peace of heart, mind and spirit.

Sal is preceded in death by his wife, Tillie Martinez; and siblings, Bruno, Christina, Consuelo, Juan and David.

He is survived by his six children, 18 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren one great-great grandchild; siblings, Stella Parra, Elias Martinez, Anna Pando and Josie Martinez; as well as many nephews, nieces, cousins and friends.

The services celebrating Sal’s life were held on Friday, Feb. 4, with Sal laid to rest next to his wife at Los Lentes Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, he requested donations be made to the Belen Seventh Day Adventist Church – New Church Building Fund(

Thank you and may God bless you to everyone who came together to celebrate Sal’s life and glorify God, to the Belen Seventh Day Adventist Church, and to Noblin Funeral Home.

“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see!”

Arrangements were handled by the caring professionals at the Noblin Funeral Service Belen Chapel, 418 W. Reinken Ave., 505-864-4448, where an online guest register is available at


Max Montaño Jr.


Max Montaño Jr.

Max Montaño Jr., 62, of Belen, took his final breath on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022.

Max was born on Thursday, Oct. 1, 1959, in Grants, N.M., to the late Max Sr. and Mary (Armijo) Montaño. He was raised in San Mateo and Peralta with his siblings.

After graduating from Los Lunas High School in 1977, he then returned to Grants for a short period of time to work in the uranium mines. Max continued working various jobs, including bartending at El Nido, and became a guard in Los Lunas for the state prison system.

On Aug. 6, 1983, Max decided to follow his own dreams (and of course be his own boss), so he opened Montaño’s Family Restaurant in Belen with his (then) wife, Janet Montaño. In 1985, they had their only child, Desiree Montaño, whom Max taught the importance of hard work, and how to enjoy the little things in life. Together, the three built Montaño’s restaurant as local staple of the Belen community and beyond. He was so proud when it received awards including, Top 10 Best “Hole in the Wall” Places in New Mexico.

Max was very involved in the Belen community, as well as Valencia County. He was a big supporter of the Valencia County Fair, buying and donating many animals to the Boy’s and Girl’s Ranch over the years. Max was very passionate about serving Our Lady of Belen Parish, where he served for 20 years on the Fiesta Committee and was the Fiesta Padrino in 2002. He was very involved with St. Mary’s School, where he was on the St. Mary’s Home and School Board.

Max was also very active in local politics throughout the years, an accomplished bowler, and a devout Dallas Cowboys fan to say the least! He would always defend his Cowboys to anyone — win or lose.

Max loved his two granddaughters, Zayley and Analeyah, with all his heart; they were his entire world. He loved his two godchildren, Manuel “Manny” Garcia Jr. and Danielle Garcia, very much.

Max Montaño was a prominent businessman in our community. He is loved and will be missed dearly by all those that knew him.

Max is preceded in death by his parents, Max Sr. and Mary Montaño; siblings, Alex Montaño and Dora Montaño-Garcia.

He is survived by his only child, Desiree Montaño; and his grandchildren, Zayley and Analeyah Torrez; former spouse, Janet Montaño; and his only remaining sibling, brother, John Anthony Montaño. Max “Nuni” is also survived by his loving godchildren, Manuel “Manny” Jr. and Danielle Garcia. He is also survived by an amazing extended family of uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins and close friends.

A Catholic Mass will be held at the Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church on Wednesday, Feb. 16, with a visitation at 10:30 a.m., a Rosary 11:30 a.m., and a Funeral Mass at 12 p.m., followed by a reception held at La Dos Gringas. Burial will be private and scheduled for a later date.

Per the family’s requests, please wear your favorite NFL jersey, preferably Dallas Cowboys. Also please, no flowers. If you would like to make a donation in Max Montaño’s memory, please contact Noblin Funeral Home at 505-864-4448.


Lupe Padilla


Lupe Padilla

Lupe Padilla passed away peacefully on Jan. 14, 2022, and went to be with her heavenly Father at the age of 63.

She was born and raised in Barstow, Calif., on Nov. 22, 1958. She has resided in Belen for the last 25 years.

Lupe is preceded in death by her son, Victor C. Padilla; parents, Cipriana Cordova and Charlie Cordova; and brother, Leroy Cordova.

She is survived by her loving husband of 47 years, Victor Padilla. She will be lovingly remembered by her daughter, Maria Hoselton; sons, David and Adam Padilla; grandchildren, Tyler, Aiden, Elijah and David; sisters, Diana, Linda and Gloria; brothers, Charlie, Toby and Joe. She was loved by many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

She was a member of the Sunshine Church in Belen.


Espidiona Susana Pino


Espidiona Susana Pino

A wonderful wife, mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, cousin, teacher, neighbor and friend to many passed peacefully in her sleep to join all the beloved who have gone before her.

Susan’s life of adventure began in San Marcial, N.M., and was paved with the love of parents and extended familia, who demonstrated how it is possible to work hard and love with all your heart. The family grew with two younger brothers, Casey and Joe. Throughout her life, she shared stories of their days on the farm and the “trouble” they caused or avoided as Susan was a great storyteller!

From her tales of high school years in Belen, we imagined that it was the glory days of this community from Isla’s Drive-In to first job at Whiteway Cafe. She was grateful for those friendships formed in the 1950s and the women who laughed and cried on each other’s shoulders over the decades.

In her first semester at Highlands University in Las Vegas, N.M., she met a gentleman named Mario Pino, who opened the door for her as she walked into a local department store. A few years later, after working as a single woman at Sandia Laboratories, she and Mario became husband and wife at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church. They chose Belen as the place to raise their family.

As a beautiful woman with a sense of humor, solid sense of style, wisdom and intelligence, Susan brought her best self to working in retail at Becker Dalies Department Store. Then she was a specialist to young children at Central Elementary School, and she taught herself how to use computer programs at Belen Junior High to help special needs students know that they were capable and deserving of attention.

After retirement, she enjoyed watching her novellas, and put her heart and soul into being a wonderful grandmother and traveled the country with Mario to connect with their loves in Illinois, Kansas and Colorado. Susan cooked the meals and baked the desserts that will always bring her to mind but will never taste the same without her touch.

When she got her first iPad, her adventures continued online with emails containing jokes, prayers, selfies, updates on family and later, Zoom meetings during COVID. In these Zoom meetings, she asked us all to mute our microphones and raise our hand when we had something to say — she was back in the classroom and the adventures continued to the moment of her death.

Susan is survived by her loving husband of 60 years, Mariano (Mario); daughters, Stephanie Pino-Dressman (Terry Dressman), Rozanna Pino Kurpius (Charles Kurpius), Leslie Pino Durant (Rick Durant) and Linda MacEachen (Michael MacEachen); her brothers, Joe Gonzales (Georgia) and Casimiro Gonzales (Connie), 12 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins, who loved her, all feeling better about themselves after time with her.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Nazario and Josie Gonzales; her daughter, Sofia Marie; and friends and relatives who are now waiting as she takes a place at the table of a great banquet that has been prepared for her since the beginning of time by God our Savior.

May the prayer that was on a card by her bedside offer you the peace that Susan found in this life and brings back full circle round to a loving God.,

“My past, oh Lord to your mercy,

My present to your love,

My future, to your providence.” ~St. Padre Pio

A vigil, Rosary and Funeral Mass will be held at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church on Monday, Feb. 14. The vigil will be from 9-10 a.m., with the Rosary 10 a.m., and the Funeral Mass will begin at 11 a.m. Interment will be held at Our Lady of Belen Memorial Gardens immediately following the Funeral Mass.

Arrangements are entrusted to Romero Funeral Home.

The family suggests in lieu of flowers, contributions in her name be directed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Donate online at Donate by mail to: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38105.


Angelina “Angie” Vasquez


Angelina “Angie” Vasquez

Angelina “Angie” Vasquez, age 81, a resident of Los Lunas, passed away Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022.

She was a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Peralta.

Angie is preceded in death by her parents, Alejandro Moya and Remedios Chavez; son, Jessie; brothers, Filimon and Manuel; and sister, Theresa.

She is survived by her loving husband of 53 years, Eugenio Vasquez; son; Gene (Darlene); daughter; Sandra Munoz (Ever); nine grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and many nephews and nieces.

A public viewing will be held at 12 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 15, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, with a Rosary to be recited at 1 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 1:30 p.m. Interment will follow.

Pallbearers will be Sheldon Downing, Jose Emilio Valdez-Vasquez, Ever Muñoz, Adam Lee Enriquez, Javier Enriquez and William Gonzales. Honorary pallbearers will be Eden Muñoz, Guadalupe Muñoz, and Evelyn Muñoz.

Please sign Angie’s online tribute at Romero Funeral Home, 609 N. Main St., Belen.

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