Last of her generation, a lifelong resident of Arboles/Pagosa Springs and matriarch, Maria “Maxine” Maximiana Ribera, 94, was granted her angel wings with family by her side on March 16 in Arvada, Colo., where she resided with her daughter, Josephine, for the last six-plus years. Her final days were spent surrounded by family and friends that she had touched in some small way throughout her very memorable life.
Maxine was born July 12, 1926, to Ciria Baca and Miguel Antonio Gomez in Cabresto, N.M. She was the 12th child born of 15 children and one of only two daughters to live to adulthood. Growing up, she lived in Cabresto during the planting and harvesting season. Then, the family would reside in Rosa, N.M., during the winter months so that the children could attend school. The Rosa school went from first through eighth grades, so Maxine only had an eighth-grade education where she learned to read and write in English. With the help of a family friend, Don Tarango, she learned to read and write in Spanish. However, she was proficient in both languages, which she used to her advantage when playing Scrabble.
On April 9, 1947, she married Juan Mauricio Ribera in Rosa, N.M., and spent their honeymoon planting a garden for her mother. Together they had 12 children: six girls and six boys. She was content being a wife, mother and homemaker. They were the biggest supporters of their children obtaining a good education.
Maxine and Mauricio raised their children at their Carracas ranch, so their entertainment included swimming in the river, hiking up the mountains, playing outdoor games (red rover, marbles, jump rope) and riding horses, which she often participated in. Several of her grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends’ children loved to spend time at the ranch and have great memories of their times spent with her.
Maxine practiced a deep religious faith; whenever a family or friend departed from her presence, her parting gift was to bless each one. She made each of her family members a rosary. She was a member of the Arboles Carmelitas Society since 1984 and served as president, secretary and treasurer. She was also an election judge for many years until her health did not allow her to.
She was an amazing seamstress. She began sewing as a youngster. Throughout the years, she sewed all her children’s clothes, also costumes for her children and grandchildren. She began sewing quilts as a necessity, then later sewed beautifully designed quilts as a hobby, gifting the quilts to her immediate family. She also was very crafty and many other family members and friends were recipients of various sewing and craft creations. She loved dancing and listening to all genres of music.
Her favorite pastime was to play Scrabble any chance she had a willing opponent. In the past 23 months, she played 481 games of Scrabble — most often skunking her opponents! She played her last Scrabble game on Feb 22 with her grandson, Keifer. She taught her children, grandchildren, great-children, friends and caregivers to play Scrabble, earning her the title of “Scrabble Queen.” She also loved her Word Search books and completed many books during the last few years.
However, Maxine’s greatest joy in life was her family. She loved spending time with them, whether it was cooking, playing games, singing, praying or just chatting. Holding babies and playing with young children were her biggest joy; she gave them her undivided attention as her face radiated with love. She was close to many nieces, nephews and friends, with many affectionately calling her “Tia,” “Mom” or “Grama.” Anyone who entered her house left being a loved member of her family. She often said, “I am always willing to help where help was needed (when I was in better health). As of my old age, I still try to help where and when I can.”
Maxine was the last remaining aunt of her generation of the Ribera/Rivera family. Until her passing, Maxine and her sister, Isidora, were the last two remaining sisters of the Gomez family.
Maxine was preceded in death by husband Mauricio; infant daughter MaryAnna; son Waldo Gomez; parents Ciria and Miguel Antonio Gomez; grandsons Gabriel Ribera and Roger Perue; son-in-law George Perue; daughter-in-law Maxine Albo; 10 brothers: Malaquias, Cristobal, Claudio, Manuel, Pedro, Miguel, Teodoro, Horacio; a half-sister Cornelia Martinez; two infant brothers both named Jose; two infant sisters: Julianita, Teresita; teen sister Elena; and five great-grandchildren.
Maxine is survived by: sister Isidora Silva, Grand Junction, Colo.; sons: Mauricio (Inez) Ribera, Corvallis, Ore.; Dan (Susan) Ribera, Glasgow, Ky.; Patrick Ribera, Bayfield, Colo.; Chris Ribera, Tiffany, Colo.; Val (Sandy) Ribera, Bloomfield, N.M.; daughters: Maxine (Larry) Sena, Layton, Utah; Ramona Perue, Laramie, Wyo.; Irene Ribera, Westminster, Colo.; Arabella Ribera and Josephine Ribera, Arvada, Colo.; 28 grandchildren; 62 great-grandchildren; four great-great grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
“A limb has fallen from the family tree. I keep hearing a voice that says, ‘grieve not for me.’ Remember the best of times, the laughter, the song. The good life lived while I was strong. Continue my heritage, I’m counting on you. Keep smiling and surely the sun will shine through. My mind is at ease. My soul is at rest, remembering how I truly was blessed. Continue traditions, no matter how small. Go on with your life, don’t worry about falls. I miss you dearly, so keep up your chin. Until the day comes we’re together again.” — author unknown.
Due to COVID-19, all venues are practicing social distancing and masks must be worn at all times.
Viewing for Maxine was held on March 22 in Lakewood, Colo. Vigil services were held on March 22 in Arvada, Colo.
A rosary service will be held March 25 at 4:30 p.m. at St. Peter and St. Rosa Church in Arboles, Colo.
A funeral service will be held March 26, at 10 a.m. at St. Peter and St. Rosa Church.
Seating is limited, so immediate family will be the only ones allowed in the church. There will be a limited number for overflow in the basement, where it will be broadcasted to. Contact Josephine to be put on the list, if you haven’t already.
An FM broadcast will be available to those waiting in their vehicles to listen to the services at the St. Peter and St. Rosa Church in Arboles.
Interment will be at the St. Rosa Cemetery immediately following the funeral service.
Extended family and friends are encouraged to line Highway 151 by the church in Arboles and County Road 975 (the road to the cemetery) to honor our matriarch.