Ophilia G. Downey, 96, a resident of Albuquerque since 1972, passed away on Monday, March 30. Ophilia was born Nov. 28, 1923, to Ophelia and J. Felix Gomez at Pagosa Junction, Colo.
Ophilia was predeceased by her husband of 60 years, Allan K. Downey, her brother, Jose Felix Gomez, and her parents.
She is survived by her sisters, Maria Abeyta, of Westminster, Calif., and Liliosa Padilla, of Aztec, N.M., as well as her sister-in-law, Dodhi Gomez, of Vacaville, Calif., and their families.
She is also survived by her children: Karen Downey (Ed), of Beaumont, Calif.; Valerie Buseman (Ray), of Mullica Hill, N.J.; Alicia Rodriguez (Art), of La Jolla, Calif.; and Sean Downey (Abby), of East Montpelier, Vt. Her grandchildren include Brian Buseman (Vanessa) and Darren Buseman (Elizabeth “Biz”), both of Mullica Hill, N.J.; Dane Rodriguez (Kyra) and Zeke Rodriguez (Ashley), both of San Diego, Calif.; and Katrina “Kat” Rodriguez, of New York, N.Y. In addition, she is survived by seven grandchildren: Alex, Sophie, Christian, Declan “Dek,” Luke, Jackson, Hunter, Logan and Natalie “Talie.”
A rosary and Mass will be celebrated in the future along with a private interment at Santa Fe National Cemetery.
Ophilia grew up in the small rural town of Pagosa Junction, Colo., where her parents ran a family mercantile and sheep ranching business. Ophilia attended the town’s two-room schoolhouse through grade eight. For the next four years (grades 9-12), she went away to school at Loretto Heights in Denver, Colo., graduating in 1941. She earned a scholarship to Loretto Heights College in Denver, where she studied for two years before attending two semesters at Highland College in Las Vegas, N.M. By then, Ophilia had acquired sufficient college credits to earn her teaching certificate and returned home to teach grades one through four during the war years in the same two-room schoolhouse she once attended as a child.
In 1945, Ophilia moved to Pagosa Springs, Colo., where she qualified and began employment as a social worker in the Department of Social Services for the state of Colorado in Archuleta County. She visited and assisted many old-age pensioners, widows with children and mothers of World War II servicemen during those post WWII years until 1949.
In 1949, Ophilia’s life adventure continued when she married an Irishman from Pawtucket, R.I., (Allan Downey), who was in the Army and then the U.S. Air Force until he retired from the service. With their love and commitment to one another, Ophilia and Allan lovingly raised their children amid duty transfers and separations. They lived in Colorado, South Dakota, Ohio, England, Oklahoma and finally landed in New Mexico, where they retired in 1974.
Ophilia was a much-loved, strong, independent woman who was a devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt and cousin throughout her life. Her second devotion was to her church and religion from which she drew strength. She took great pleasure in gardening and listening to music of varying genres and taking daily walks. In earlier years, she loved to dance and enjoyed traveling, ceramics, embroidery, crocheting, sewing and baking.
We will miss Ophilia with all our hearts. We bid her good night and God bless with all our love.