Table of Contents
- Website dedication to Fidel Montoya - by Fidel "Butch" Montoya,Jr.
- Tribute to My Father - Pete Gilbert Montoya - by Ruth Ann Ludwig
- Some personal thoughts about picture pages - by Fidel "Butch" Montoya,Jr.
In appreciation to my nephew Jeffrey Cordova who gave me the unique once in a life time opportunity to share part of our heritage and life story on the Internet.
This website is dedicated to the life and memory of
Fidel Montoya, Sr. and his family
Fidel Montoya was born and raised in Questa, New Mexico. He was born on June 1, 1920. He loved his father Florencio and his mother Patrocinia very much and spoke often of the days growing up with his brothers and sisters in Questa. My father died in Denver, Colorado after a long illness on January 25, 1984. Per his wishes, we buried my father in El Pueblito Cemetery, back home in his beloved Questa. He always had a story to tell about when he was growing up in Questa. He spoke of the times that they took wheat by horse and wagon to San Luis, Colorado to the old flour mill there. My Dad said by wagon it took several days to go and come, but my father made it sound like an adventure rather than a difficult, slow and dangerous journey. For him it was all part of growing up in Questa. (This picture is courtesy of my brother, Richard S. Montoya).
He often told stories about the times when miners and their families lived up at the old Moly mine site in a tent city. This was part of the housing arrangements provided by the company mine. My Dad said it was often cold during the winter, but the mine offered a school that many of Questa children were able to attend. He remembers the ice and snow hanging on the tents, but still, living in the tents was something the miners endured as well in order to provide for their families. The work was hard, but hard times made good people better he said.
He was so proud of being from Questa. He always managed to get that fact in whenever he was visiting with people. He kept news articles about Questa, and followed the ups and downs over the years. The Moly mine provided good jobs, but then cut backs would come along or the mine would close down altogether...depending on the price of molybdenum. But he always found the sliver lining no matter what the economic conditions were in Questa. I think this was because of his upbringing. He often spoke of his father and mother being resilient parents and always found a way to provide for the family.
My father always spoke about his many Tios, Tias, and countless primos (cousins). As a young child, I remember visiting with my Dad many of these wonderful and welcoming relatives in their homes in Questa. Everywhere he went, he was welcomed with a warm embrace (abrozos) and something warm to eat or drink. I have heard stories that my Grandfather Florencio was a man that everyone looked up to and respected. I think my father took after that trait, because I remember people always had something nice to say about my Dad. He loved people and especially loved visiting everyone when he would come on one of his many visits to Questa.
I took advantage of working on this website to honor the memory and life of my father and his love for his father Florencio, especially his mother Patrocinia, and his brothers and sisters. After my Grandfather Florencio died on July 6, 1941, my Grandmother Patrocinia became the matriarch of the Montoya family. My Dad told us that she was a strong and wise woman. Never remarrying, she chose to raise the family on her own, and by looking at my Dad, his sisters and brothers, she did an excellent job!
When my grandfather died, my Dad would have been about 21 years old at the time. Shortly before the death of his father, he left Questa and joined the U.S. Army during World War II. He traveled around the country during his training, and before he was stationed in North Africa during the war. He told stories about being on the troop transport ships and how they recognized the danger of the ship being sunk or the times the waves and weather would toss the big ship to and fro. He said they prayed a lot in the lower decks because so many of the soldiers were afraid of what might happen to them. Before being shipped overseas, he spent some time in the New York City area. He made many friends with the people from Spanish Harlem. He would attend some of the Spanish churches there in that community. In 1967, my Dad and I traveled back to New York City and we made it a point to go to Spanish Harlem. Surprisingly, he found some people at the Iglesia Juan 3:16 who still remembered him from the late 1940's. As usual, everyone seemed genuinely glad to see him again. I thought for these people to remember a young soldier from a small town in New Mexico, he must have made a good impression on them.
He also shared so many stories about growing up with his brothers and sisters, whom he loved so much. According to my Dad, there were no finer people than his family. He always loved to visit them and talk about the good ole days in Questa. I remember when we moved to Bingham Canyon, Utah where my Tio Ismael and Tio Pete lived and worked. They made us feel right at home when we got there with the U-Haul trailer in tow. I remember they helped my Dad find a job working in a tunnel and an apartment for us to live in. We lived on the second story of an old creaky apartment house on the main street in Bingham. (Today, we would probably would call it a "loft" or "highrise apartment"). I remember the day we moved in and thinking about having to transfer to another elementary school. I had to be in the first grade or second grade when we moved to Bingham. Yet, I have so many vivid memories of the town, the school, our family, and our weekend trips to the big city...Salt Lake City. We would go to buy groceries, clothes, and maybe a hamburger and coke. I remember we often went with my Tios and their families. And yes, sometimes on Sunday after church, we would go to the park and enjoy the day and a picnic lunch. Eating out at a restaurant was a luxury we rarely enjoyed.
I remember when we traveled to Questa or to other towns, my Dad and Mom would always stop along the way and buy lunch meat, potato chips, white bread, and if we were lucky, soda pop or punch. We would stop along the way somewhere shady and away from the main road for a quick lunch and stretch. There is a place between Taos and Velerade where we always stopped for our roadside lunch when we traveled this way. Even today as we drive along this particular highway, I always manage to point out that special place. While thinking of this place, my mind will often slip back to being with Mom and Dad and those wonderful years we had together. At the time, I didn't realize one of the reasons they bought food to eat on the road, was because we didn't have a lot of money to eat in a restaurant. We were poor and didn't know it! (Today, it seems unless we find a nice restaurant, we are grumpy and unhappy).
Speaking of being poor, the fact is we were by no means rich, but we never knew we were poor. Dad and Mom always provided the very best for us. When it came to get clothes for school, thank God the Sears and Montgomery Wards catalogs which were handy to put things on "lay away" for school. (Another plus to the Sears and Monkey Wards catalogs, it meant we had something to read in the outhouse and we never ran out of toilet paper because there always was another new catalog in the mail). Speaking of which, it was a red letter day, the day the Sears and Montgomery Wards catalogs came. It gave us time to flip through the catalog and dream and fantasize about new toys or clothes. Or at other times, I remember this one man, Mr. Medina, who had a second hand store in Center, Colorado and always allowed us to come by the store when a "new" shipment of old clothes and shoes came in. We would be the only ones in the store going over someone else's throw-aways or give-aways. But to us it didn't matter, because we always found some good bargains...and besides, no one knew our shoes or clothes came from the "segunda". (Or now known as a "thrift store"). I can tell you that we never went to school shoeless, but can't guarantee that our shoes maybe didn't have a hole or two. Often time it seemed like we had to walk great distances to get to and from school. And yes, although we didn't have to walk through 6 feel of snow, it was a distance to walk every day, but walking with other friends and neighborhood kids, we had a good time.
I remember living in Questa after we moved from Bingham Canyon. We lived in my Tio Pete's house, which my Dad later bought from my Tio. The house wasn't very big, but I honestly don't remember it being very small either. We always had plenty of wood and coal in the stove or wood heaters to keep us warm. I remember the warmth of the big pot belly stove in the family room, front room and bedroom...all being just one big room. We did a lot of sharing of our living space with one another in those days. This was certainly days before we could afford a television, so at night we would gather around an old GE radio that once belonged to my Mom's parents, and listen to family programs, music, or radio evangelists on the air. This was a nightly ritual for my Dad and me. He loved at times to get on the "short-wave" band and try to find some far away place to listen to. Living in this house meant that at night we could go to sleep with the windows open and we could hear the soothing relaxing ripple of the Cabresto Creek that ran in front of the house. Besides providing a source of relaxation, the creek provided the water we needed for cooking, drinking water, and our weekly Saturday night bath in the wash tub. Whoever of the kids got in first, got the cleaner and warmer water. As more of us bathed in the water, the shadier and colder it got. In the end though, we felt clean and ready for church on Sunday morning and another long week.
My Dad and Mom were preachers for the Latin American District Council of the Assemblies of God for over 25 years. They preached and pastored churches in Colorado and New Mexico. They loved being in the ministry and loved pastoring churches. They simply loved the people they ministered to. My Dad and Mom were both great speakers and could deliver long and life changing sermons and messages. As a result of being preachers kids, we moved from town to town a lot, but we met so many good people along the way. I remember growing up in Farmington, New Mexico where my parents pastored a church, La Iglesia Cristiano de las Asambleas de Dios for over five years. I always called this my "formative years", because it was the time I attended elementary school. This by far had to be one of the the best places we enjoyed as a family. If a family could have a "golden age", in my opinion this was it for us. The memories of the people of Farmington and my parents preaching and teaching are still vivid and wonderful memories for me today...and besides, for my Dad, we were close to Questa.
But getting back to this website, I wanted our family and children to know some of the family and Questa stories my Dad always shared with us. Too many stories have gone untold because we forgotten them or eventually lost in our hurried pace in life. In the old days before books were written, the "quentos" or stories were passed from generation to generation by repeating the stories orally from time to time around the kitchen table eating big fat warm tortillas with butter, or sitting around the pot belly stove eating freshly roasted pinon, or at other family gatherings and events. This is how our history was kept alive and become part of our heritage. Today we are blessed with the Internet and other technology to do our part of passing on stories of the past and "cuentos de mi Papa o de nuestra familia"!
It my hope and prayer that we keep our rich heritage and history alive for our children, our grandchildren, and for those who someday will wear the MONTOYA name or be a descendant of the family. It's my vision that they will experience a greater sense of pride because of their knowledge about their heritage and past history. I hope they will always remember to pass along to the next generation stories and narratives about our families and our past history and family heritage!
Words of advice and counsel for all of us from Deuteronomy 4:9: "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Deuteronomy 6 4-9: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates." Verse 13: "Fear the Lord your God, serve him only...." Good advice I am sure my father, the preacher, would give all of us today!
(Evidence that I almost followed in my Father's footsteps as a Preacher)
A Tribute to My Father - Pete Gilbert Montoya - 83 Years Old - May 1, 1997
by his loving daughter - Ruth Montoya Ludwig.
Today I spent a few hours visiting and listening to my father talk about his life, his birthplace, his heritage and his childhood memories. I could write a book. I was so filled with emotion that I couldn't wait to come home and write down my feelings. I would like to share them with you.
I can't express how much pride I feel for father, who is such a spiritual man and who has given so much of himself to everyone around him. Being the oldest child in his family. He has such wonderful memories of his birthplace, Questa, New Mexico, his father, mother, and siblings. The hard times they all endured and survived. He loved his brothers Ismael, Fidel and Filomeno like they were his own sons. They looked to him for guidance and he was always there unselfishly for all of them. No matter what!
He remembers when Tio Meno came to live in Utah for awhile, it was a difficult time for him, being from such a small town. My Dad took such care with him, helping him with car payments until he could get on his won. He worried about him and cared about him so much. He expected nothing in return. He just wanted him to do well.
My Tio Ismael was a wonderful man. He loved to tease me endlessly. He came to Utah with my Dad when Dad decided to leave Questa to find work in the mines. They both came with everything they owned, their families in tow and both of them were able to find work. Our families always lived close by one another and my Dad and Tio Ismael always looked out for each other. My Dad remembers when he was having a lot of back problems and just barely able to work. My Tio Ismael got mad at him and told him to go home. Later that evening he came over to give my Dad some money just in case he had to be out for awhile. This is how the two of them were with each other. The way brothers should be.
I can’t count how many times my Mom and Dad would get us all (jam packed) into our car every summer and go to Questa for our annual summer vacation. My Dad, on miner’s wages would take us all back to his hometown that he loved so dearly. I’m sure there were times when both families would go to Questa at the same time. Where we would all sleep I’ll never know, but we always managed somehow when we arrived at my Grandma Patrocinia’s. We waited patiently until we reached the top of the hill in Questa when we could look down on the village and see that red roof on grandma’s house. When I was little, she seemed like such a mean Grandma. Years later, I came to adore, appreciate and admire the great lady that she was. When us younger kids were put to bed, I remember the grownups would stay up visiting for what seemed like hours! I remember then my Grandma’s laughter and I knew she was so happy to have everyone in her home. I went to sleep.
First thing every morning, the roosters would crow and Grandma would start frying bacon and eggs and making tortillas on her big green stove. The smell will remain with me forever, such as the smell after a rainstorm has passed over Questa. The wet sagebrush! There was nothing that reminds me more of my Dad’s hometown more than that. I took a week off this year from work and spent a few days with my brother Paul in Questa. On our drive down, when we were nearing New Mexico, it started to sprinkle and that familiar smell triggered my childhood memories. I mentioned this to him. It made him chuckle, but I sensed that it reminded him of the area too. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains have always drawn Paul back to Questa. This year I finally understood why? He has such wonderful, genuine people around him and the sigh he made for his property overlooking miles of Questa and the surround area describes it perfectly. “Highway to Heaven”.
This past year, my Dad gave me an old Indian drum that has been in our family since we left Questa. My brothers and sisters and myself remember seeing this drum in every house we lived in. To anyone visiting my home, this drum would have no significance other than one of my Kachina dolls looks great sitting on top of it. To me there is so much history that goes with that drum. I will treasure it all the days of my life. I have told this story to my children and they were amazed. Every year, my Mother and Father would share their home, food and stream with the Indians from Taos as they made their annual trek to the mountains behind Questa to get the red dirt they would use as face paint for their celebrations. The Indians would also hunt and pick berries. They always passed back through our property and would stop and give thanks with a basket of berries and deer meat. My Father made friends with one of the Indians who gave him the drum and remained friends with him until a few years when he passed on. I had the opportunity, along with my sisters to meet Frank Romero at his home at the Indian Pueblo. I couldn’t believe that we could actually drive back to Frank’s home without being stopped like most tourists are. We spent some time with Frank and his wife and were made to feel most welcome. Every time I look at that drum, I think of the long friendship that endured between my Dad and his fallen friend and the gift of sharing.
As the years passed, my Dad would continue to go to Questa, not once, but sometimes 3 times a year to be close to his Mother and brother Meno. If he heard she was not well, he would drop everything and get on the road. A lot of times he would go through Denver to visit his brother Fidel whom he adored. When Tio Fidel was so ill, my Dad wanted to be with as much as he could. He would drive to Denver and spend time with him. It broke his heart to see him so ill. The love he has inside of him for all his family is extraordinary. It is special, he would never dream of doing or saying anything that would hurt them. I believe this is the reason my Dad is in such good health. He is at peace with himself, he can look in the mirror and be proud of the person he is! He is a very wise man!
I am so proud to be his daughter. He raised 7 children on miner's wages. He wanted the best for all of us. He set a good example and would give us anything he had if we needed it, all we had to do was ask!
I can't express the joy my family and I feel when we go into his home. My children take their shoes off, head for the cookie jar or just curl up on his couch. There is so much love there.
His grand-daughter Kisty Meyer, daughter of Dave and Bernice Meyer graduated a week ago from the University of Utah with a Psychology Degree. My daughter Jamie Leigh, will graduate next year from Southern Utah University with a Business Administration Degree. Their Grandpa Pete contributed to their education by leaving his beloved hometown of Questa, New Mexico and reaching for something better for himself, is children and grandchildren. My Dad has passed so much of his heritage and work ethic on to us. I can spend hours at a time listening to him speak about his Father Florencio and what a wonderful, giving, unselfish person he was. He was always making sure everyone around him shared in his bountiful harvest. My Dad inherited a lot from his Father.
I am so proud of being a Montoya from Questa, New Mexico, daughter of Pete Montoya and what he stands for, Genuine, Loving, Giving, and Spiritual all describe my Father, "Greed" he does not know the meaning of. God Bless You Dad - I Love You!
Some personal thoughts about the picture pages - by Fidel "Butch" Montoya
I have been very fortunate to be given the opportunity to select and edit many of the pictures shown here on this website. There were simply too many pictures to include all of them, but the pictures selected are a mere second in time that documents our family through the years.
Having to review so many pictures for this website at first seemed like it might be a tedious and time-consuming job. While I looked forward to reviewing the pictures, I just wasn’t sure what I would find in the picture search. Beverly Wagner and Alice Romero sent me a box full of old pictures. I didn’t know how I would select the pictures for the site, but as my wife, Patsy and I started to look at the pictures, my eyes watered up with tears as I saw so many images of relatives and days long past. Amongst all of the pictures, there most definitely were “classics,” and had to be included. We did our best and if some of your pictures are not here now, I have downloaded many of them and hope to include them in the future.
As I went through the pictures, it was as if I was transported back in time. I hadn’t seen many of the pictures, but all brought back memories of the times we spent in Questa with Grandma Patrocinia. Looking at the pictures, one thing is clear, it seems like Grandma never changed over the years, but clearly, she was the center of attention in every picture. Just by looking at the pictures, you can see the respect and love we had for our Grandma Patrocinia. She most definitely was the matriarch of our family. Grandpa Florencio died on July 6, 1941 and so there are very few if any pictures of him with the family. Looking at the pictures of my Tias, Tios, and primos was a journey down memory lane. As we went through the pictures, we laughed, paused, admired, cried, & scratched our heads trying to figure out who everyone was in the pictures. In some cases, we had to use a magnifying glass to get a real close up.
The pictures are placed here with honor, respect, and love for all of those portrayed here and whose images will be forever etched in our minds and hearts. The pictures most assuredly will help rekindle old memories and thoughts of the past, and for the younger members of our blended family, a mere glimpse into an honorable and memorable past of the Montoya family.
Perhaps the most amazing “icon” of our family that I am sure is vividly branded in our minds is Grandma’s house. Jake Montoya calls the house “La Casa de Adobe!” (A wonderful song on a CD by the Blue Ventures of Taos). Ruth Ann Ludwig writes in her tribute to her father, Tio Pete, that coming into the village of Questa, on the crest over looking the broad valley, how she strained her eyes to see the red roof on Grandma’s house. When we could see the red roof, we knew we didn’t have to ask anymore, “Are we there yet?” Many of us also remember how as we drove down Kiowa Road, a dusty and dirt road back then, how Grandma always seemed to be sitting by the window looking out as if she was waiting for us to come and visit.
As you browse through the pictures, it our hope that you too will be touched and be unafraid to show your emotions and love for our family. We truly have been blessed and as it says in the Holy Bible, “be fruitful and multiply.” There is no doubt we have done that! As we say in our family, “God is good…..all the time!” “Bless the Lord oh my soul, and all that is within me, Bless the Lord,” continues to be our prayer today.