2-2-1929 - 2-18-2019
Viola Maldonado passed away peacefully on February 18, 2019 at her home in Walsenburg, Colorado surrounded by her family. Viola was born on February 2, 1929. She was the daughter of Sally and Frank Gutierrez of Rouse, Colorado. She attended Walsenburg High School where she was an “A” student and baton twirler. Viola married her only love, Modesto E. Maldonado, on August 4, 1949. They were a devoted couple for over 67 years until Modesto passed away in 2017. Viola had recently been honored in a loving celebration of her 90th birthday on February 2, 2019.
Viola was the fourth of ten children and grew up during The Great Depression. She shared many stories of the harsh family life she experienced growing up in a coal mining camp. Always resilient, Viola lived a life of optimism, kindness, and joyful dedication to her family. Together with Modesto she raised seven children. She delighted in all things children. She was a loving mother, grandmother, and great grandmother and spoke proudly of all their talents and achievements. When her own children grew older, Viola found she had more to give. Viola earned an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education from Trinidad Junior College. She became a Headstart teacher, nurturing and loving many children in the Walsenburg community for 20 years. Her impact in that role could be seen many times when her students, now adults, would approach her, hug her and say, “You made such a difference in my life. If not for you...”
Throughout her life Viola had friends of all ages. As a young woman she would do hair for her elderly neighbors. They, in turn, taught her cooking and baking from the old country. She always made time for a cup of coffee, a baking or sewing lesson and kindness. In her later years she was blessed by caring friends who would return her kindness in many ways, including Viola Pacheco, Margaret Maldonado, Ruth Major, Ida Garbizo, Eleanore Smircich, and Janet Behringer, Janet Turkovich and many others. Lucky were the many friends that shared a cup of coffee with Viola.
In her younger years Viola was employed at the local JC Penny store, sold Avon, waitressed at The Black Angus Restaurant, and made Chipita Jewelry. Viola was best known for her many talents as an artist. She loved sewing, quilting, tatting, knitting, crocheting, bead jewelry making and design, china doll making, tole painting, and china painting. The beauty of her spirit will live on in her works.
Viola is preceded in death by her husband Modesto, her parents Sally Thornton and Frank Gutierrez, Sr., siblings Bertha Gaines (sister), Frank Gutierrez (brother), Charles Gutierrez (brother), Gloria Martinez (sister), Gladys Vigil (sister), Manual Gutierrez (brother).
Viola is survived by seven children, Pearl (Levi Crespin), Vernon (Juanita), Maudie (Georgia), Janelle (Ken Saad), Adrian (Brenda), Tammy, and Brenda, (Bill) Maldonado; eleven grandchildren, Marlon, Tage, and Kelan Crespin, Desarey and Brandon Maldonado, Mahri Saad, Matthew, Brianna, Marissa, Vanessa, and Austin Maldonado, and one great grandson, Dominic Maldonado (Trey). Viola is survived by siblings, Ruth Turvey (sister), Jim Blades (brother) and Eleanor Seba (sister) and many nieces and nephews. She will be missed by Bambi, her sweet toy poodle and protector of 18 years.
Viola and her family were truly blessed by the loving care and attention received from the staff and management from the Spanish Peaks Veteran’s Retirement Home, and The Sangre de Christo Hospice.
Service: Catholic Mass at St. Mary’s Church of Walsenburg is scheduled for May 18, 2019 at 10:30 am, followed by a reception at the Father Delany Hall.
Online condolences, www.MontgomerySteward.com