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Miguel Ortega, a true example of unwavering love and generosity passed away on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, at the age of 87 surrounded by his loving family.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife Della Ortega, father Manuel Ortega, mother Rose Torres, sisters: Anita Ortega, Celina Ortega, brothers: Gilbert Ortega and Emilo Ortega.
Miguel is survived by his daughters: Jo Ann Ortega, Karen Ortega-Lopez and husband Jim, Regina “Gina” M. Ortega and partner Matthew Marquez; adored grandsons, who were the light of his life, Michael “Mike” J. Ortega, James E. Lopez II and fiancée Selena; and a great grandchild on the way that he was so hoping to meet.
Miguel was born on May 10, 1936, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Miguel's life was characterized by his courageous spirit, loving and giving nature, and a selflessness that touched the hearts of everyone he knew.
Miguel was a life-long member of the Sociedad Neo-Mejicana de Mutua Proteccion No. 2 de Alameda, Nuevo Mexico (SNMDMP No. 2). He loved to go to the annual meeting to watch “El Baile de Las Escoba;” he would just sit there, smile and laugh at everyone.
Miguel retired from both Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. and from the New Mexico Army National Guard, with the rank of Sgt. after 30 years of service. He spoke regularly about both, missed working, missed his friends, but often shared stories to reminisce about the old days.
Miguel's passion for life was evident in his love for sports. He was a devoted baseball, basketball and football fan. He was so proud to have played baseball, football and basketball for the Valley Vikings. Up until this last year, he would still go watch the high school basketball games to cheer on his Vikings. He was so proud to be part of the first graduating class for the Valley Vikings, go 1956! Following high school, he continued his love for sports and played on numerous basketball night league teams, and also continued his love for baseball and played semi-pro for several years. He coached little league baseball for numerous years at North Valley Little League and Alameda Little League. His enthusiasm was infectious to all who watched the games alongside him. His joy and love for sports easily transition over to his family who he would spend time with watching games.
Miguel’s other passion was that of farming and gardening. He loved his animals and always said you can tell a lot about a person based on how they interact with animals and how the animals interact with them. Miguel loved to ride horses, he always said it was a sense of being free. He loved his garden, loved to see it transition and flourish. He always said, make sure to share…. He felt strongly that we learn the importance of growing our food, to appreciate it, to not take it for granted.
Those who knew Miguel were blessed to experience his strength, his courage, his extraordinary capacity to care for others. He was the epitome of selflessness, often putting the needs of others before his own, always. His love was unconditional, and his grandchildren were the recipients of an affection that knew no bounds. They will forever cherish the memories of their doting grandfather, whose stubbornness—always in the best way—was a source of strength and stability in their lives.
Miguel's easygoing demeanor was a comfort to his friends and family. His presence brought a sense of peace and reassurance that will be deeply missed. His courage, whether facing life's challenges or standing up for what he believed in, inspired those around him to live with integrity and purpose.
Generous to a fault, Miguel's legacy is one of love and giving. He lived a life that exemplified the very essence of kindness and courage, leaving behind a tapestry of memories that will continue to warm the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to know him.
Miguel Ortega's journey through life was a testament to the power of love and the strength of the human spirit. As we say farewell to this remarkable man, this remarkable man we call our father and our grandfather, we celebrate a life well-lived, full of joy, laughter, and an unwavering commitment to others. His memory will live on as a guiding light, a reminder of the profound impact one life can have on many.
Miguel's Life Celebration will begin with a Visitation on Thursday, February 8, 2024, at 5:30 pm at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church located at 9502 Fourth St. NW, 87114. Rosary will be recited at 6:30 pm. Final Viewing will take place on Friday, February 9, 2024, at 7:30 am at Salazar Mortuary located at 400 Third St. SW, 87102. Mass will be held at 9:00 am at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church. Miguel will be laid to rest following the Mass at Gate of Heaven Cemetery located at 7999 Wyoming Blvd. NE, 87109. Reception will follow in the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church Parish Hall.
Pallbearers will be Michael Ortega, James Lopez II, Jim Lopez, Chris Santillanes, Steven Saiz, and Victor Lovato.
Honorary Pallbearers will be Philip Ortega and Larry Ortega.