Esther Garcia, age 74, a resident of Questa passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family on January 5, 2020. She is preceded in death by her parents, Max and Tessie Ortega and sister Betty Ortega. Esther was a very strong minded and outspoken woman who cared dearly for the people and the community of Questa and Northern New Mexico. She served for numerous years as the first female Mayor of Questa. She also played an important role with the restoration of the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Questa. Esther was one of the primary traditional voices driving the designation of both the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and the Columbine Hondo Wilderness. Esther was a tireless advocate for the preservation of traditional land and water uses on public lands as well as the conservation and protection of clean water, healthy watersheds and healthy wildlife populations. Esther worked closely with the following organizations: Rivers and Birds, NM Wilderness Alliance, NM Acequias Association, Land Grant Council, Questa School Board member, Questa Library Grant, Questa Achievers 4-H Leader, Questa Quilt Guild, and received the NM Mother of the Year 2015, NM Woman of Excellence Award, and Taos County Unsung Hero Award. Esther was incredibly wise, funny, deeply spiritual, kind, diplomatic, brave, passionate, fierce and just a lovely human being all around. She was truly a peacemaker and a bridge builder. She loved all her family dearly and will be missed by all who knew her. Esther is survived by her husband of 55 years, Eugene Garcia; children, Myra Garcia, Christine Rodriguez (Ricardo), Lori Archuleta (Juan), grandchildren, Caitlin Garcia, Megan Archuleta, Kelsey Rodriguez, Nicholas Rodriguez, Marissa Archuleta and great-granddaughter Alanna Favre-Bulle; siblings, Max Ortega Jr. (Monica), Robert Ortega Sr, and Julie Lucero (Mark) along with sister-in-law Andrieta Ortega, plus many loving nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. Rosary will be recited on Thursday January 9, 2020 at 6:30pm at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Questa. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday January 10, 2020 at 10:00am at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Questa with burial to follow at the El Pueblito Cemetery. The family of Esther Garcia has entrusted the care of their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home of Taos. 575-300-5288 www.devargastaos.com
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