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600 Reynolds Avenue
Las Vegas, NM 87701
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Iona Gamertsfelder

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Iona Gamertsfelder Obituary
Iona May Inmon Gamertsfelder, 84, a longtime resident of Las Vegas, N.M., passed away on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013 due to cancer. She was born on April 29, 1929 at the Inmon Ranch in southern Luna County, N.M., to Thelma Gray Inmon and Elmore Inmon. She grew up with her older brother Jack on the family's cattle ranch. She and Jack did everything together. They took flying lessons at an early age and she became the youngest woman in New Mexico to earn a student pilot's license at age 16. Iona graduated from Deming High School in 1946 where she was active in the school band as a drum majorette. She represented Deming as a Sun Bowl princess in 1946. After graduation she began studies at the University of New Mexico and earned a B. S. Degree in Health Sciences and Physical Education 1950. She was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority. Pokey, as she was called by college friends, continued flying in college as a member of the UNM Flying Club, and played field hockey there as well. She was elected UNM's Popularity Queen and Lobo of the Year in 1949. While at UNM she met her future husband, Paul R. Gamertsfelder, of Raton, N.M. They married on Aug. 13, 1950. She began her teaching career in physical education at Albuquerque High School while Paul finished his degree work. After his graduation, Paul went to work for the Army Corps of Engineers and by 1951 was stationed in southwestern Newfoundland at Ernest Harmon Air Force Base. Iona joined him there in Stephensville where the first of their four children, John Paul was born in 1952. They returned to New Mexico in 1955, where Paul was hired by PNM. Their second child, Nancy Marie was born soon after their arrival in Belen and Laura Jo was born there in 1957. Another transfer brought the family finally to Las Vegas, N.M. in the fall of 1958. The last of their children, Gary Roy was born in Las Vegas, in 1959. Iona was devoted to raising their four children, but still stayed active in the women's bowling league and played golf throughout her life. She gave up flying to raise a family. In the early 70's she returned to college and began work on a masters degree at New Mexico Highlands University. In 1975 she and Paul moved to Santa Fe where he had been transferred by PNM. Iona became Council President of the Girl Scouts and loved traveling all over New Mexico promoting Girl Scouts. Upon his retirement in 1984, Paul and Iona moved to Green Valley, Ariz., where they enjoyed many years playing golf and tennis year-round and entertaining grandchildren whenever possible. Iona, refused to stay retired and earned her teaching certificate and went back into teaching in Sahuarita, Ariz. As if she wasn't busy enough, she worked to become re-certified as a pilot and it wasn't long before she was flying all over Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas and Oklahoma! She was very proud to be a member of the Ninety-Nines, International Organization of Women Pilots. In 1997, upon the tragic death of their son Gary, Paul and Iona returned to New Mexico to assume the care for their grandchildren Alicia Marie, Gary Raymond, and Aaron Paul in Rio Rancho, N.M. As soon as more suitable guardianship was found for their grandkids, In 1999 Paul and Iona built a home, which she designed, on the 17th fairway of the Pendaries Village Golf Resort in Rociada, N.M. She was a very dedicated member of the First United Methodist Church where she taught the children's Sunday school class for the last several years. Additionally she was a long-time member of local P.E.O. Chapter H, last serving as chaplain. She was preceded in death by her parents Thelma and Elmore; her older brother Jack; her son Gary: and by her husband Paul. She is survived by her sister Delia Perez and husband Tommy of Deming, N.M.; son John of Las Vegas, N.M.; daughters: Nancy Vigil and husband Michael of Lawton, Okla., Laura Tapia and husband Dennis of Santa Fe, N.M.; grandchildren: Karl Gamertsfelder, Paula Morris and husband Byron, Daniel Vigil and wife Charisima, Andrew Vigil and wife Amber, Patricia Tapia, Sarah Tapia, Tania Martinez and husband Manny, Denise Tapia, Alicia Lovato and husband Lorenzo, Gary Gamertsfelder, Aaron Gamertsfelder; great-grandchildren: Heaven, Ruby, Jasmyn, Lilyana, and a new baby boy; and many numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Cremation has taken place and a memorial service celebrating her life will be held at the First United Methodist Church of Las Vegas at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 28, 2013. Reverend Rosemary Pierson, pastor of the First United Methodist Church will officiate. The interment will follow in the Santa Fe National Cemetery at 11:15 a.m. on Monday, September 30, 2013. In lieu of flowers the family has requested that donations be made to Soul Passage, Hospice Consultation, P.O. Box 843, Rociada, NM, 87742 or to P.E.O. Chapter H, c/o Gertrude Johe, P.O. Box 3206, Las Vegas, NM. Rogers Mortuary is handling the arrangements.
Published in Deming Headlight on Sept. 26, 2013
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