Ramona Bustamante

Obituary
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Ramona Espinoza Bustamante, age 86, died Sunday, April 7, 2013, at her Good Samaritan Society Las Cruces Village residence, surrounded by family. Born Dec. 7, 1926, in Vinton, Texas, to Guadalupe Espinoza and Luz Casas, Ramona was a woman of deep faith, family and hard work. She learned the value of hard work and entrepreneurship early on, as she helped her father manage their farm in La Mesa, N.M., doing everything from paying the field workers at the end of the day to driving tractors. In 1945, Ramona married Manuel R. Bustamante and began their life together in La Mesa, N.M. After the passing of her husband in 1975, Ramona returned to school to get her GED, graduating with her son, Manuel, in 1977. Ramona worked tirelessly to support her family, primarily in the same way she showed her love - through food. In May 1992, Ramona was recognized for 17 years of service to Gadsden Independent School District, having served as the Gadsden High School cafeteria manager. The time not spent in the high school kitchen was often spent in her own, making tamales to send her daughter, Isela, to Rome, Italy, baking and decorating wedding cakes for her personal business, or making champurado and pan de huevo for guests coming to her home for Las Posadas. Ramona also worked for State Farm Insurance in La Mesa, N.M., and taught candy-making workshops at Stahmann Farms. Ramona was a dedicated member of San Miguel and San Jose Catholic churches in the South Valley. She served as a lector, catechism teacher and Cursillista. She was a member of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Society, Legion of Mary and Grupo de Oracion. And of course, she helped with church fiestas and graduation parties. Ramona continued to share her faith even in retirement through her F.R.O.G. ministry, with the help of her friend, Petra Calderon, reminding people through the gift of the ceramic frogs she painted to ""Fully Rely On God."" In retirement, Ramona also spent her time serving as a volunteer at Mesilla Valley Preschool and Mesilla Elementary, when her grandchildren, Monita and Philip Alvarez were students, doing word search puzzles and making fried bologna sandwiches. Ramona is now reunited with those who preceded her in death: her husband, Manuel R. Bustamante; son, Isidro E. Bustamante; parents, Guadalupe Espinoza and Luz Casas; brothers, Eduardo, Salvador and Juan Espinoza; sister, Julia Valenzuela, and son-in-law, Jon K. Vogel. Those left to cherish her memory are her brothers, Lupe and Gabriel Espinoza; son, Manuel E. Bustamante; daughters, Lorenza B. Vogel and Isela Alvarez (Philip "Buddy"); grandchildren, Jennifer Nunley (Shane), Esmeralda Bustamante, Manuel "Rocko" Bustamante, Monita Chip (Ryan), and Philip Alvarez; great-grandchildren, Heather Wood, Hailiey Purdy, Mercedes Nunley, Alexis Nunley, Cameron Nunley, Ethan Tuchfarber and Miranda Tuchfarber; and great-great-grandchildren Bridgett Purdy and Marissa Young. Visitation for Mrs. Bustamante will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Baca's Chapel of Prayer, 300 E. Boutz Road, where the prayer vigil and rosary are scheduled for 7 p.m. The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday, April 12, 2013, in San Jose Catholic Church, 353 Josephine Street in La Mesa, with Rev. Rogelio Martinez officiating. The rite of committal and interment will follow in San Jose Cemetery, where she will be laid to rest. To honor Ramona's love for faith, family and food, a comida will be held at San Jose Church Hall following the funeral services. Serving as casket bearers will be Lupe Espinoza, Manuel E. Bustamante, "Rocko" Bustamante, "Buddy" Alvarez, Philip Alvarez and Ryan Chip. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Ramona's name for the restoration of San Jose Catholic Church, PO Box 278, La Mesa NM, 88044. Entrusted to the care of Baca's Funeral Chapels of Las Cruces, 527-2222, your exclusive providers for ""Veterans and Family Memorial Care."" For online condolences, logon to www.bacasfuneralchapelslascruces.com.
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Apr. 10, 2013
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