On Sept. 13, 2013 we lost a man that touched so many hearts and made a difference in so many lives. He passed away in his sleep at his home in La Puenta, Calif., where he lived for 45 years. Leonel Matinez Montoya, whom many of us had come to know as "Leo" or "Big Leo" to some. He was born on Dec. 5, 1942 in Morenci, Ariz. and it was on this day the legend began. He was raised in Tortugas, N.M. The son of Juan and Cecaria Martinez Montoya. He was a brother to 14 siblings, an uncle and cousin to many and very dear friend to all who had the opportunity to know him. Leo was a proud American. He enlisted in the United States Army and after two years of service, he was honorably discharged. After his military career he moved to California where he eventually met and married his wife Sally on Sept. 5, 1964. They had been happily married for 49 years. Leo left his legacy with his wife Sally and five children, Socorro, Gloria, Abbie, Guy and Becky. Including 13 grandchildren, Audrey, Joshua, Danielle, Desiree, Sabrina, Andy Nicholas, Mark, Tabitha, Isabella, Joe, Jared and Sky, two great grandchildren Gunnar and Gracyn. Leo was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a member of the National Association of Letter Carriers, and retired after 28 years of service with the United States Postal Service in El Monte, Calif. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Loyal order of Moose in El Monte, Calif. and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars as well as the American Veteran's Association in Baldwin Park, Calif. Leo was a hard worker and always made sure that his family was well taken care of. As many of you already know if you needed any help you could always count on Leo to lend a hand. A husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, cousin and friend to so many. We are all going to miss you Leo! He is now with the two family members that had previously taken care of him when he was a child. His mother Cecaria Martinez Montoya and his sister Adela Montoya Ortiz. Services will be held Friday Sept. 27, 2013 at 7 p.m. at Virgin de Guadalupe Catholic Church in Tortugas, N.M. Mass will be held Saturday Sept. 28, 2013 at 10 a.m. at the same church.
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Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Sept. 25, 2013