Surrounded by her loving family, our beautiful daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, role model and friend, Lydia Schodorf-Vandiver entered peacefully into heaven on May 10, 2013. Born in Las Cruces, N.M. on Oct. 15, 1948, Lydia is the daughter of Elias and Mariana L. Lopez. As the second oldest of nine children, Lydia helped her mother to raise and care for her younger siblings. A graduate of Las Cruces High School, she started work as a candy striper at the age of 16, beginning a nursing career that would span over 40 years. As a result of her driving passion to help others, she had many accomplishments and touched many people in her lifetime. Lydia moved to Albuquerque to raise her two daughters while attending the University of Albuquerque where she became a registered nurse and emergency medical technician. She worked for Albuquerque Ambulance and became an instructor for new EMTs entering the emergency medical field. Focusing her dynamic energy on emergency medicine, Lydia moved to the University of New Mexico Hospital emergency room as a nurse and ultimately became a flight nurse on the hospital's Lifeguard helicopter service. She retired from UNM after 20 years of service to begin a new facet in her career in Oriental Medicine. Lydia graduated from Southwest Acupuncture College as a doctor in Oriental Medicine which included studies in China to complete her degree. She opened her own practice, which integrated theories of both eastern and western medicine. A believer in treating the whole being; physical, mental emotional, and spiritual she also studied traditional Mexican folk healing both in the United States and Mexico to incorporate into her practice. However, helping people through her own office was not enough. Her desire and compassion for those in need drove her to push herself even further. Lydia involved herself with the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault in the community. She helped to develop the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) program in the state of New Mexico and was awarded a certificate from the governor in recognition for her accomplishments. As the clinical coordinator for the Albuquerque SANE Unit for over 15 years, Lydia personally recruited and trained dozens of nurses in the state to complete exams on women, children and men who suffered from sexual assault and interpersonal violence. She completed thousand of exams over her years of service and became an expert instructor and witness in court testimony on these issues. Lydia was an integral part of the work to open the Family Advocacy Center in Albuquerque which will positively impact victims of violence for many years to come. She also helped to develop and open La Piñon Sexual Assault Recovery Service in Las Cruces. Lydia always strived to improve the quality of health care in all fields of service. As important and fulfilling as her professional life was to her, her family always came first. Lydia is survived by her mother Mariana L. Lopez, and eight siblings: Erma Nichols, Elias L. Lopez Jr., Alfredo Lopez, Oscar Lopez, Carla and husband Guy Floyd, Dolores Lopez, Monica and husband Pete Dorr, Priscilla and husband Robert Romero. She was most proud of her two daughters, Kerry and husband Jon Caldwell, Darci and husband Russell Blaschke. The brightest light of her life was her five grandchildren, Jarred Salas, Cesleigh Salas, Haley Ryan, Avery Ryan and Chance Caldwell. She was blessed to witness the birth of her great-grandson Noah Elijah Ky Salas and was a kind and loving aunt to many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her father Elias Lopez and was beckoned to and met in heaven by great-grandson Jayden Zane Lopez. Her life was an amazing journey towards her new adventure in everlasting paradise. She will truly be missed. Services will be held on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 beginning at 8:30 a.m. with a rosary and mass at St. Genevieve's Parish at 100 S. Espina in Las Cruces. A memorial service to celebrate Lydia's wonderful life will follow at Getz Funeral Home at 11 a.m. at 1410 E. Bowman. Arrangements are with Getz Funeral Home and Getz Family Crematory, 1410 E. Bowman Ave., Las Cruces, NM 88001. To sign the local online guest book, visit www.GetzCares.com.
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on May 14, 2013