Obituary: Juanita Jaramillo Gallegos

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On June 7, at the age of 89, our beautiful mother, Juanita Jaramillo Gallegos, passed from this life into the next to be with her Lord and Savior.

Juanita was born May 18, 1931, to Eudoro and Pilar Jaramillo, near Lumberton, N.M. She was the fourth of nine children and the eldest daughter. Juanita was raised on a ranch and loved the farming and ranching life. She loved to be outdoors helping her father and siblings with all manner of planting and gardening chores. 

On May 3, 1949, Juanita married Alfredo Gallegos, thus, the start of what we fondly call the “Gallegos Nation.” They started their married life in Lumberton and made their way to Pagosa Springs in 1959, their permanent home. In the home on South 9th Street, they raised their 14 children, and in time her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren (106 total at the time of her passing) would receive the blessing of her incredible gifts of love and caring for others. Each had a special place in her mind and in her heart. 

The daughter of a penitente, Juanita was a devout Christian. She spent so much of her life in prayer for others and in service to her church, where for over 30 years on every Wednesday, she led a rosary until her health prevented her from attending church. For many years, she was often asked by Catholic parishioners to lead and recite funeral rosaries at church, especially for the Spanish-speaking community, and those who had lost their loved ones and needed someone to help them. Juanita was always there for people in need.

A friend and inspiration to many, her door was always open to her many friends and her abundant family. She always had a pot of coffee on, or lunch on the table. Many remember her delicious tortillas, but really everything she made had that magic taste. She had a welcoming heart and welcomed anyone into her home, including occasional classes from our local high school who would come to her home for a cooking lesson or a southwest history lesson. 

Juanita is survived by her children: Sarah Sutton, Chris Gallegos, Lawrence Gallegos (Jessie), Ernest Gallegos (Mardel), Dorothy Gallegos (Trent Gamez), Alfred Gallegos Jr. (Tara Severs), Eleanor Gallegos, Stella McFatridge (Harvey), Anna Appenzeller (Tom), Sandra Schultz (Gary Batson), Nyana Janowsky (Dan), David Gallegos (Tina), Leticia Olson (Nick), and Anjelica Cardenas (Lorenzo). She was also survived by numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Alfredo Gallegos; her parents, Eudoro and Pilar Jaramillo; siblings Ruben Jaramillo, Flaminio Jaramillo, Eudorito Jaramillo; and by her daughter-in-love, Darlene Gallegos.

We are deeply thankful to our sister, Sarah Sutton, who devoted herself to the loving care of our mom for many years. More than that, Sarah was a beautiful friend and companion to our mother. Thank you!

Juanita’s loving spirit and strong faith won her the deep respect and devotion of all of her children. The foundation of our family, the rock to many, her absence will leave a void that will take time to fill. Though she will be missed beyond measure, we know in our heart of hearts that she is with her heavenly father. For her, the sun here has set, but it has arisen anew for her in that joyful place where we will see her again someday.

A private funeral Mass will be held at Pope John Paul II Catholic Church on Wednesday, June 10, at 10 a.m. followed by burial at the Juanita Cemetery in Juanita, Colo. The funeral Mass will be livestreamed at http://demo.popejohnpauliichurch.org/jp-ii-in-action/mass-streaming-online/ beginning at 9:30 a.m.