Former Phippsburg resident Belarmino "Ben" Montoya passed away July 29, 2007, at Alta Vista Regional Hospital in Las Vegas, N.M., of cancer. He was 88.
Ben was born July 18, 1919, to the late Rita Herrera Montoya and Severiano Montoya in Cannoncito, N.M. He lived in New Mexico until the age of 20, when he came to Colorado.
He was united in marriage Jan. 26, 1937, with Stella Quintana in Sapello, N.M.
Ben started working for the Denver Rio Grande Railroad, formerly the Salt Lake Railroad, in 1939. Ben and Stella lived in numerous Colorado towns including Rollinsville, Parshall, Tabernash and Hot Sulphur Springs. In 1948, they moved to Mt. Harris, where they lived for 10 years until the coal mines closed. In February 1958, the family moved to Phippsburg, where they lived until he retired in August 1979.
Ben and Stella raised their children and became a part of the Phippsburg community. Ben enjoyed fishing in the Pleasant Valley area, and the family had many picnics on the Gore Range and Rabbit Ears Pass. Ben loved hunting with his sons, brother, son-in-law and friends. Ben and Stella took the children to movies (mostly Westerns) for entertainment, went on rides in the country and taught the children to play baseball. He also liked listening to baseball games on the radio. He was an avid Broncos fan. He loved children and enjoyed many good times with his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren. He had a great sense of humor, enjoyed teasing and was a patient and gentle man.
In May 1985, Ben lost his best friend and loving wife, Stella, to cancer.
In December 1987, he married Lucy Pacheco from Tecolete, N.M. They shared 19 years of marriage.
Preceding him in death were his parents, Rita and Severiano Montoya; his wife, Stella Montoya; brothers, Amadeo "Tony" Montoya Sr. and Ralph Montoya; sister, Mariita Espinoza; brothers-in-law, Lorenzo Quintana, Baldamar Quintana and Robert Quintana; stepdaughter, Juana Sandoval; nephew, Tony Montoya Jr.; and niece, Lucy Montoya Martinez.
He is survived by his children, Dahlia Romero of Arlington, Texas, Katie Smith and her husband, Morris, of Aurora, Dora Devoe of Denver, Virginia Montoya of Denver, Jean Frey and her husband, Jon, of Parker, Leroy Montoya of Oak Creek, Ernest Montoya and his wife, Pam, of Edgartown, Mass., and Lilly Simpson of Denver; stepson, Flor Pacheco and his wife, Betty, of Tecolete, N.M.; grandchildren, Bob Smith and his wife, Linda, Greg Smith and his wife, Jenny, Rusty Smith, Lorena Battle, Katrina Devoe, Victoria Liquez and her husband, Lance, Toni Rath and her husband, Aaron, Joshua Frey, Nicole Frey, Shoshonna Montoya, Tashena Montoya, Sierra Montoya, Tyanna Montoy, Dustin Montoya, Benjamin Montoya; and seven great-grandchildren.
Rosary services were held Aug. 2, 2007, at Our Lady of Sorrows Church. Funeral services were held Aug. 3, 2007, at Our Lady of Sorrows Church. Pallbearers were Vicente Pacheco, Martin Pacheco, Adam Pacheco, Dustin Montoya, Joshua Frey and Joseph Montoya. Honorary pallbearers were Bob Smith, Greg Smith, Rusty Smith, Benjamin Montoya and Zachary Pacheco.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in memory of Ben Montoya to the Historical Society of Oak Creek and Phippsburg, P.O. Box 1, Oak Creek, CO 80467.