PRICE - Della M. Gonzales, age 99, passed away peacefully on Oct. 18, 2011, surrounded by her daughter JoAnn, sons Tommy and Don, and special daughter-in-law Faye.
She was born in the small community of Lumberton, N.M. on May 13, 1912 to Elias Montoya and Sophia Abeyta. She married Abe Landavazo in 1930. They had four children: Lawrence, who died at 16 months of age; JoAnn Legat; Tommy Landavazo; and Don (Faye) Landavazo. She married Phil Gonzales on Dec. 24, 1955, and moved to Price in January 1956, where she has lived since.
Mom had a difficult life, losing her parents by the age of eight. She and five sisters and one brother were then raised by their grandparents. After helping raise her younger siblings she left home and married our Dad. After they divorced she raised us in Albuquerque, N.M. supporting us by cleaning houses for five years, riding the city bus to three or four jobs a day, never complaining. Shortly after she married Phil we moved to Price in the dead of winter, arriving to a two bedroom farmhouse with a coal stove and coal furnace, not exactly the sprawling ranch we had been led to believe awaited us. Mom often said she would have taken us back to Albuquerque if she hadn't sold the house and if she had a car (and knew how to drive). But, true to form, she stuck with it and grew to love the country life, working the farm, riding horses, and herding cows. She was a member of the Star Riders Riding Club and rode well into her 70's. If we could have put her on a horse she would have still been riding. She was a lifelong member of the Catholic Church and probably said enough Hail Mary's to get us all into Heaven.
After her husband, Phil, died in 1993 she continued to live an active and productive life. For several years she assisted her son, Tommy, in cooking the delicious food for his popular food truck. She loved fishing (only if she caught them), crocheting, playing (winning) gin rummy, gardening, killing weeds, and "throwing away water". This year is the first that she did not can tomatoes or other vegetables and had been looking forward to doing so again. Her life was devoted to helping others, whether they were family or not. Her greatest joys were her children; 13 grandchildren; 33 great-grandchildren; 37 great-great-grandchildren; two great-great-great-grandchildren; special in-laws (whom she didn't think of as anything other than her family, especially Faye); special "adopted" daughters Anita Perea and Jeanie Scarlet; many nephews, nieces and cousins; and special friends and acquaintances. All loved her. She often said how lucky she was to be loved by so many. We reminded her that we were the lucky ones and she only received what she gave so deeply to so many. She endured numerous health problems throughout her life, including cancer, pneumonia, major surgeries, heart attacks, and strokes. We called her the Energizer Bunny because she just kept going and going and going. Unfortunately, the past few months were just too much, even for her. At the end she quietly slipped away without pain or distress. It is hard to imagine life without her but we believe she is in Heaven with her loved ones who went before her: husband Phil; sisters Jenny, Emily, Julia and Sally; brother Elias; her parents Elias and Sophia; son Lawrence; and special grandson Leslie L. Davenport II.
Thank you mom for giving us so many wonderful years together. We love you so much and look forward to seeing you again.
Funeral Mass, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, 10 a.m., Notre Dame de Lourdes Catholic Church, Price. Vigil service Monday evening 7 p.m., Fausett Mortuary, Price. Family will be at Fausett Mortuary Monday at 6 p.m. and Tuesday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. prior to services. Committal service, Wellington City Cemetery. Services are in care of Fausett Mortuary. Family and friends may sign the guest book and share memories of Della at www.fausettmortuary.com.
Our special thanks to all the wonderful people at Parkdale Care Center and Castlview Hospital for their professional and compassionate care of Mom over the past few months. Also special appreciation to Dr. Wayne Cox and Dr. Shane Gagon for doing everthing possible to keep Mom with us. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to any charity.