"As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs for you, O God." Psalm 42:1
Nemecio was the oldest of 9 children born to Nemecio and Leonor Montoya. He was born on the family's ranch home located in the middle of the prairie of Wagon Mound, NM. It was here where he learned the life lessons that he then taught his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was forced to start school at an early pre-Kindergarten age because he only knew Spanish at a time when speaking his native language was disciplined out of him. He would travel the long distance to school even riding his horse to dances in high school. He loved sports and had the privilege of playing basketball for Wagon Mound High School. Shortly after graduating from high school, Nick was drafted to the military and served with the U.S. Army during the Korean War. When he returned in 1952, he used his GI bill to attend New Mexico Highlands University and became the first member of his family to earn a college degree, graduating with a BA in Education.
His college education yielded him the biggest prize of all because he met the love of his life, Christine Apodaca while they were both attending Highlands University in Las Vegas, NM. They married in 1957 and lived in Springer, New Mexico where Nick taught at the New Mexico Boys School. It would be the beginning of an 18-year long career of teaching. In 1959, the Lord blessed them with their firstborn son and shortly thereafter, two daughters. Over the next few years, his siblings would move to California where he too was eager to follow. The young couple packed up their '63 Chevy and 3 babies and headed west to Southern California. By 1964, the young couple and three small children were settled in their home in La Puente, California not far from his roots as an industrial arts and mathematics teacher at Sparks Junior High School. Eventually they would add another daughter to their young family and move to West Covina.
He was forever photographing family and events and always had his camera around his neck waiting for the moment to say "Spark?" When you felt interrupted by the moment his response was always, "We're making history."
Every year Nick's family made their annual trip to the "Ranch" in Wagon Mound (usually around Bean Day) where he taught his children his love of nature and animals. The tiny 2-bedroom ranch house somehow held 4 families and at least 12 grandchildren during this annual trek but he loved being with his brothers as they butchered a calf or a goat for a matanza later that day. Nick and his brothers would also spend their time branding cattle and herding calves during the annual Wagon Mound trips. Over time, he imparted his loved of horses to all his children and it was at the Ranch that they and their cousins enjoyed horseback riding on the prairies of Northern New Mexico.
NIck and Christine returned to New Mexico in 1975 where they bought a Tastee-Freez restaurant and operated it until 1978. Nick retired but spent countless hours maintaining the apartments he owned while operating a tax-preparation business all the while continuing to raise goats, cows, chickens, West Highland terriers (westies) and of course, horses. During these years, Nick rode his horses to wonderful destinations including the Pecos Wilderness and Sandia Mountains. He enjoyed the outdoors and was also willing to take another adventure especially if it involved camping and horseback riding. His horseback riding in various parades with Los Caballeros was also a favorite of his. Nick and Christine also loved traveling and had the privilege to see some exciting places. They toured Europe three times, visited the Holy Land and traveled to Mexico many times, and also toured Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile and Brazil. Nick was very fond of national parks, monuments, Presidential libraries and state capitols. He traveled all over the United States and had officially seen every state, except the Carolinas, at least once.
In 1982 Nick began a relationship with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He was faithful to read his Bible and glean life's truths from it. After Nick became a believer, some of his siblings joined him on this faith trip and they shared their love of the Lord together. "Well done, good and faithful servant."
He battled prostate cancer for almost 2 years but on November 4, 2019, Nemecio "Nick" Montoya left his earthly home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He joins his parents: Nemecio and Leonor Montoya; siblings: Richard Montoya, Samuel Montoya, Olivia Olson and Secundino Montoya; niece, Nancy Montoya and nephew, Samuel "Sammy" Montoya.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Christine Apodaca Montoya; children: Ronald Dennis Montoya and his son, Dominic; Gloria Salazar and husband Louis and their children: Luke and wife Chantal, Roman, Clarice and Madeline; Karla Paul and husband Rick and their children: Nathanael and wife Olivia and grandson, Braden, and Jacqueline; and Deana Montoya-Evans and husband Everett and their children: Joshua, Loreigh and grandson James, and Jannine and husband Kasey; his siblings: Federico Montoya, Joe Montoya and wife Maria "Cuca", Maria Montoya Sullivan, and Robert Montoya; aunts: Domie LeFebre and Josie Rivale; godchildren: Joseph Pino and wife Cyndi, Michael Vigil and wife Mindy, Rick Montoya and wife Charlene, Arthur Archuleta, Cindy Montoya-Guzman, Kathy Bustos Edwards and husband, Paul, and Martha Ann Dickson; numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, many neighbors and friends. Our special thanks to Armada Hospice for their loving care of him and especially to Crystal, his caring nurse.
Nick's Life Celebration will begin with a Visitation on Friday, November 15, 2019 from 3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. at Salazar Mortuary followed by a Time of Reflection also on Friday at 7:00 p.m. A Life Celebration Service will be Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Salazar Mortuary. A Final Viewing will be on Monday, November 18, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. at Salazar Mortuary and we will then proceed to Santa Fe where he will be interred at the Santa Fe National Cemetery at 11:15 a.m. with military honors.
Pallbearers will be Nathanael Paul, Luke Salazar, Joshua DiGesu, Roman Salazar, and Dominic Montoya. Honorary pallbearers will be Jacqueline Paul, Jannine Bubrowski, Loreigh Bennett, Clarice Salazar and Madeline Salazar.
To send flowers to Nemecio's family, please visit our floral section.