Carmelita Gallegos Archibeque passed away on November 4, 2017 in Cortez, CO at the age of 88. She passed peacefully at her home with family by her side.
She was born on December 13, 1928 to Adolfo Gallegos and Eufemia Gurule Gallegos, in Cebolla, New Mexico. Her family moved from Cebolla, NM to Ignacio, CO and then to McPhee, CO where her father worked at the local sawmill. After her father died from a work accident, her family then moved to Cortez, CO.
Growing up, Carmelita was always the “teacher/caretaker” of her family but her formal education stopped at the 8th grade. Coming from a hard working family, she was forced to quit school and find work to support her family. At the age of twelve, she secured employment as a nanny for other families starting at $7 per week with an additional .50 cents if she made tortillas. Even though she was forced to seek employment to support her family, she always hoped to return and complete her formal education.
While in Cortez, she worked for various restaurants and cleaned houses at the same time. She married Mike Archibeque on October 25, 1947 in Cortez, CO and had four kids, Brenda, Gene, Marina, and Robert. Carmelita and Mike Archibeque were married for 65 years until his death in 2012. Carmelita and Mike Archibeque owned and operated Mike’s Painting and Drywall for many years and it was during that time that she was able to go back to school and complete her GED. Education was important to Carmelita as she taught Spanish for the Montezuma-Cortez School District and participated in community and national organizations like VISTA, Volunteers in Service to America.
Carmelita was very proud of her family’s military service and worked at the local sawmill during the “Rosie the Riveter” era during WWII. Her husband and two sons were Veterans and served during WWII and Vietnam eras. To know Carmelita was to love her. She always had a smile on her face, a new story to tell about her grandkids and great-grandkids, and she made sure you didn’t leave her table hungry or without your fill of coffee.
Carmelita is survived by her two daughters; Brenda Maez and husband, Bennie of Cortez, and Marina Fresquez and husband, Emmett of Cortez; eight grandkids, numerous great-grandkids, and many nieces and nephews. Carmelita was preceded in death by her parents, Adolfo and Eufemia Gallegos; husband, Mike Archibeque; her sons, Gene and Robert Archibeque; her brothers, Pete, Adonais, Victor, Domingo and Gilbert Gallegos; and sister, Delphinia Gallegos.
The family would like to thank their extended family, friends, and community members for their well wishes and support during this difficult time. Per Carmelita’s request, the family will be hosting a gravesite ceremony/dinner in her honor in the springtime - Carmelita’s favorite time of year.