Mary N. Gonzales
Mary N. Gonzales, 101 years old, peacefully ended her journey through life on November 18, 2013 after spending her remaining days amidst her family.
Brought into this life as a fragile infant weighing only five pounds, Maria Natividad Torres was born at her home in Vermejo, NM, two months earlier than expected. Immediately after her delivery by her Grandma Antonita, Maria was wrapped securely in a handmade blanket and tucked into a small box, which was placed on the edge of the open door of a warm oven.
One hundred and one years ago, on June 28, 1912, in this makeshift incubator, Maria Natividad who preferred to be called Mary N., began a life during which she would live primarily in Valdez, CO and later in the Trinidad Inn Nursing Home. Mary was the remaining child born to Jose Bonifacio Torres and Secundina Gurule. Her father, Bonifacio was killed in a mining accident in 1937 in the Frederick Coal Mine in Valdez, CO.
When asked one day by her daughter Margaret, who she would like to meet if she could meet anyone in the world, Mary quickly responded, “My mother, because I never got to know my mother”. Mary’s mother, Secundina, died Vermejo, NM in 1918 as a result of the influenza when Mary was only 6 years old.
Mary was baptized on August 25, 1912 in Tercio, Colorado and on October, 12, 1927 was confirmed in Tercio. At the age of thirteen, because of the untimely death of Mary’s step-mother in 1925, Mary’s formal education ended so that she could assume the role of mother to her 11 month old half-brother, and 3 year old half-sister —a responsibility she held for several years.
During the summer of her 16th year, to help with family finances, she worked in what Mary referred to as the “Big House” at the Vermejo Park Ranch in Vermejo, New Mexico.
On March 5, 1935 Mary married Jose De Gracia (JD) Gonzales in the Las Animas County Court House in Trinidad. Together they owned and operated the West Side Inn in Valdez, CO for 30 years.
During her prime, Mary loved to sew, crochet, fish, dance, and gamble. She visited Italy, Spain, Florida, California, Washington, Texas and New Mexico. She served as a volunteer at the Colorado Welcome Center, was an active member of the St. Ignatius and Holy Trinity Churches, the Kennedy and Sayre Senior Centers, La Casa De Confediacion, and the Guadalupe Society. A registered voter in Las Animas County since 1948, Mary often served as an election judge during both primary and general elections in Segundo and Trinidad.
Left to cherish her memory are Mary’s children: Ernie (Patti) Gonzales, Bonnie Shannon, Margaret (Robert) Apodaca and Joe (Rose) Gonzales. Mary also leaves behind her son-in-law Oney Chavez and her beloved grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
Along with her parents and siblings, Mary is preceded in death by her husband JD; her daughter Rose Chavez; son, Alberto Gonzales and her half-brother Ben Torres and her beloved Albert Torres.
Active pallbearers for Mary are her grandsons: Bob Chavez, Trevor Shannon, Jason Gonzales, Dave Shannon, JD Gonzales III, and her great-grandson Bob Chavez Jr.
Honorary pallbearers are her granddaughters: Renee Candelaria, Tracy Ayala, Jessica Lamden, Lisa Fontenot, Jennifer Mejia, RoxAnne DeBella, and Elvira Gonzales.
Visitation will be Sunday, November 24 from 3-4: PM at Comi Funeral Home. Rosary at 9:00 AM on Monday, November 25 at Comi Funeral Home. A funeral mass will be celebrated at Holy Trinity Church at 10:00 on Monday, November 25 with interment to follow in the Trinidad Catholic Cemetery.
Condolence cards will be received at 318 E. Godding Ave, Trinidad, CO.
Arrangements made under the direction of the Comi Funeral home.