Lifelong Archuleta County and Colorado resident Amadeo “Andy” Martinez joined his maker on Aug. 27.
Amadeo was born on Nov. 11, 1928, to Lucas and Maria (Archuleta) Martinez into the thriving and tight-knit community of Trujillo, Colo. He was raised in a multigenerational setting with his grandparents, Moises/Ruperta Martinez and Leon/Pitacia Archuleta, and many of their brothers and sisters as his closest neighbors. The families that formed this clan spoke Spanish as their first language and they worshiped at the St. James (Santiago) mission church. The church was built between 1914-17 and consecrated in 1917 and still stands as one of the remnants of that era in Trujillo. Amadeo was one of 10 children, but because of the closeness of this extended family, Amadeo was raised with many whom he treated as brothers and sisters: Everyone was a primo and the elders were all treated with respect and fondly referred to as “Tios” or “Tias.”
Trujillo was a vibrant place during his youth. He attended school and first learned English in the local school. He spoke often of his teachers such as Mrs. Maestas at the school and his first catechist who was Papacito Moises. The lifelong influence they had on him in terms of his values of kindness and being helpful to others was obvious. The Catholic Church was central to his being and he recalls going by horse and buggy with his father to get the priest from the Pagosa Junction train station so the local communities of Juanita, Trujillo and Pagosa Springs could have mass. He was baptized and received most of his sacraments at the St. James mission church. Trujillo had a small general store, a traveling baseball team and a dance hall. The local midwife and curandera (medic) was his grandmother, Pitacia, and as a youngster, it was his responsibility to accompany her. He spent many a night fetching whatever she needed in order to perform her medical services. His Papacito Moises may have been the oldest alter server ever. Likewise, Andy served the parish needs of St. James in Trujillo and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Pagosa Springs until his final moments.
As a teenager, he worked with his father, brother Manuel and sister Corina (because she wouldn’t leave the ranch work to the men …) as a sheepherder and rancher in Trujillo and Bayfield. At 19, he began a four-year courtship with Eva Espinosa of Pagosa Springs. He left the ranch to work construction in Utah with his sister and brother-in-law (Bennie and Clara) and his cousins (Marcelino Archuleta and Joe Martinez). When he first asked for Eva’s hand in marriage, his request was denied. For those that knew him, he was a force of nature; a very creative problem solver, charismatic, fun loving and nothing if not determined. He became a part of the effort to build the current Immaculate Heart of Mary church. He, amongst many local parishioners, worked bingos and various fundraisers to raise nickels and dimes and they worked nights and weekends to provide the labor to complete the church. He took local employment with Aubrey Fowler at the Moorehead garage, where he developed a lifelong passion for fixing vehicles and making every garra (junker) work until it could go no more. He also learned the retail business, where his extraordinary service skills came into play. The Espinosa family acquiesced to this ambitious, highly principled, enthusiastic and determined young man. Andy and Eva were the third couple to enter into the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony in the newly completed Immaculate Heart of Mary church, on April 2, 1951.
In 1957, Andy went off to barber college and shortly thereafter opened up a barbershop in Pagosa Springs. He cut hair off and on for 35 years in Pagosa Springs, Durango and Ignacio. He became the barber for generations of many families in the area. He also worked in construction as a teamster for 15 years working on various projects throughout the state. Many will recall he drove senior citizens from place to place as he became known for providing services to the less fortunate. Officially, he was a driver for El Centro for 15 years.
He held a variety of jobs in his career, but his vocation was to work on behalf of the less fortunate. For all of his life, he could be found delivering food or helping out a neighbor, or helping a grieving family with counsel or being with a child who needed help. He was “found” doing these things because he never, never spoke about helping others, he would just do it. With the same gusto, he would celebrate a wedding, a birth or an achievement. He greatly enjoyed music and dancing. It is these qualities that drew many to him for counsel, advice and wisdom.
He served his community in a variety of roles including his final post as the charter and current board member of the Archuleta County Low Income Housing Board of Directors. In fact, he attended his last board meeting just two weeks before he began his final journey. He was a tireless advocate for the most needy, which took him into politics and other civic and social matters. He served humanity through his role as a father and the patriarch in the Martinez-Archuleta family and various roles he played in the church, community and state. In his final act, he requested the family pray a rosary with him. At the completion of that rosary, he went into the arms of his “Tatito Dios,” ending a 30-year battle with various heart ailments.
He is proceeded in death by his grandparents, Moises and Ruperta Martinez, Leon and Pitacia Archuleta; his parents, Lucas and Maria Martinez; his sisters and their husbands, Juanita and Lazaro Salazar, and Corina and Porfirio Martinez; and brothers Manual, Moises and Rupert Martinez.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Eva (Espinosa), and their three children and their spouses: Leonard (Kindra) Martinez, from Albuquerque, N.M./Pagosa, James (Edna) Martinez, from Albuquerque, N.M., and Vindred (Wendell) Qualls, from Durango, Colo. His grandchildren, Alba Palmira Oaks (Marlon), from Baltimore, Md., Alyssa (Fernando) Trujillo, from Phoenix, Ariz., Laila Estrella Martinez and Jose Martinez, from Albuquerque, N.M., Tristan Martinez and Spencer Martinez, from Durango, Colo., and Mallorie Godbold, from Ignacio. Great-grandchildren Mia Valencia, from Albuquerque, N.M., Anthony and D’Angelo Trujillo, from Phoenix, Ariz., and Kaidence Oaks, from Baltimore, Md. He is also survived by his siblings Moises, Wilfred, Lucas, Celestino Martinez and Dolores Perez and numerous nephews and nieces.
Thursday, Sept. 1, at 5:30 p.m. at Pope John Paul II Catholic Church at 353 South Pagosa Blvd., there will be a rosary at 5:30 p.m., eulogy at 6 p.m. and a viewing. Afterwards, there will be a reception in the church foyer. Everyone is invited to share and celebrate Andy’s life. Friday, Sept. 2, at 10 a.m. at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church on Lewis Street, there will be a Mass with the burial to proceed at Hilltop Cemetery. All guests are invited to join the family for a meal at the Catholic Parish Hall nominally at 12:30 p.m., immediately following the burial service.
The family is requesting donations in lieu of flowers, for the preservation and care of the historic Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. Please make checks out to Immaculate Heart of Mary and on the memo line write “Andy Martinez.” Send donations to 353 S. Pagosa Blvd., Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.