Frances M. Diehl died Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. She was resident of Glendo, Wyo., and part-time resident of Alamogordo. She had lived in Alamogordo since 1969.
Her entire life, she celebrated her birthday as Nov. 1, 1933, only to discover at retirement that her real birthday was on October 31, 1932. She was the fourth child of Antonio Cándido Montaño and Andrelleta (nee Arechuleta) Montaño.
At age 5, she was pulled from the family home and was raised by the Sisters of Charity at St. Vincent's Orphanage in Santa Fe. When she was just 16, she "ran away" from the orphanage, and retreated to find other family in Canjilon, N.M. Her family was one of the original land grant families of northern New Mexico. She later moved to Casper, Wyo., where she met and married her husband Charles N. "Chuck" Diehl.
Frances' life was filled with her devotion to her children. She had three sons: Alfred J. Cordova, of Tularosa; Jesse "Philip" Cordova, of Tesuque, N.M.; and Charles "Chipper" Diehl (deceased), of Dallas, Texas. She also had two daughters: Jacqueline "Jackie" Diehl, of Sunspot, N.M.; and Lorena "Lori" Diehl, of Albuquerque. She is also survived by five grandchildren: Annette, Michelle and Verlinda "Mae" Cordova, all of Tularosa; Dara Montoya and her husband, Chris, of Tesuque; and her only grandson, Jared Cordova, also of Tesuque. She also had four great-grandchildren: Gabriel Briggs (deceased) and Stephanie Cordova, of Tularosa; and Jett Cordova and Aisha "Sha" Montoya, of Tesuque.
She and Chuck had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary just prior to his death in 2008. Together, they enjoyed building the family cabin in Wyoming and working on old cars/airplanes. They also partnered together and operated both Casper Upholstery, in Casper and later a paint spraying business "Wyo-Air" in Alamogordo.
She was a lifetime member of the Commemorative (Confederate) Air Force. Through the CAF, she and Chuck restored several "warbirds" including a complete restoration of a German ME-108 Messerschmitt "Taifun" (N2231). She was also very proud to have founded an unofficial group of CAF Airsho ladies for whom she dubbed the "Lounge Lizards," who met every year at the CAF's annual homecoming airsho.
Frances was an accomplished artist and her creative talents were often called upon. She was a member of the Elk's Does organization and a longtime member of the American Legion Auxiliary. Her greatest joy of all however could be found in fishing. There was rarely a summer where she couldn't be found without a fishing pole in her hands. She loved to garden and work on her yard and adored her faithful dogs that had kept her company. Most of all, it was her stubborn and determined efforts that pushed her through life's adversities.
Frances had numerous brothers and sisters. Survivors include her sisters: Lari Armijo, of Santa Fe; and Erlinda Montaño and Stella Martinez, both of Albuquerque; and also numerous nieces and nephews scattered throughout Wyoming and New Mexico. She loved being known by them as "Pancha."
Her sister, Marina Martinez, and her brothers Alfonso Montaño and Raymond (Cándido) Montaño also preceded her in death.
Services are not scheduled. Per her wishes, her ashes will be scattered in Wyoming at a later date.
A memorial gathering will also be scheduled in Alamogordo at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to a local veteran's organization such as the Disabled American Veterans or the Wounded Warriors project.
The family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Hamilton O'Dell Funeral Home to direct the arrangements. Cremation will take place at PCS.
To sign the online register book, please visit www.hamiltonodell.com.