Montoya, Rosa Meraz


Rosa Meraz Montoya entered through the gates of Heaven on April 3, 2020. We are saddened by this tragic loss from pancreatic cancer, but we are uplifted knowing our beloved Wife, Mother, “Mamacita”, Teacher and Friend, Rosa, is with the angels and saints in Heaven. She is now reunited with those we lost before her. Her 89 years on earth were filled with family, faith, love and happiness.

Rosa was born on June 16, 1930, to Rosa and Juan Meraz in Tucumcari, NM. Her parents immigrated from Chihuahua, Mexico, to ensure their children would have every opportunity they never had. Although her parents had only third-grade educations, they worked tirelessly for their children. They raised five children, Hortensia, Ester, Juan, Enrique and Rosa.

After graduating from high school, Rosa worked for several years as an office manager of a credit union in Tucumcari. When she was twenty, she met the love of her life, Fred Montoya, who was introduced to her by her sister, Ester, and her brother-in-law, Joseph G. Madrid.

Fred grew up in northern New Mexico in the coal-mining town of Dawson, and after graduating from high school (the first in his family to do so), he served in WWII in the Army infantry. Upon his return, Fred took advantage of the GI Bill and graduated from the University of New Mexico as a civil engineer. His first job as an engineer was with the U.S. Geological Survey, and his first assignment took him to Tucumcari, NM, as a hydraulic engineer. Most importantly, he met Rosa there, and after a whirlwind six-month engagement, they married on September 8, 1951.

Rosa and Fred lived in Tucumcari for the first four years of their marriage, but then Fred was recruited by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This new position took them and their two young children, Regina and Robert, to Albuquerque, NM. Within the next three years, their family grew with the addition of two more sons, Victor and Andrew.

Even though Rosa was bilingual (English and Spanish), one of the brightest students in her high school, she didn’t have the opportunity to attend college. She, however, never took “no” for an answer. When her youngest child entered first grade, Rosa decided she wanted to go to college to become a teacher. While raising four young children, she attended the University of New Mexico and graduated with a degree in Spanish and bilingual education. She taught for a year in New Mexico before the U.S Army Corps of Engineers took her, Fred and their four children to Dallas in 1971.

Rosa continued teaching Spanish, bilingual education, and English as a Second Language at North Garland High School for a few years. The Dallas Independent School District beckoned her, and she taught for many years at Thomas Jefferson High School (TJ). While still raising her children and teaching a full course load at TJ, Rosa earned her M.A. from East Texas State University (now known as Texas A&M University-Commerce).

Rose was an encouraging, inspirational and uplifting mentor, role model and champion for her students and her four children. She could identify with many of her students, as she didn’t speak English when she started grade school and she came from impoverished circumstances. She knew what it was like to suffer discrimination as a Hispanic, as a woman and as the child of immigrants, but she told her students not to let anyone else define them and to believe in themselves.

Rosa encouraged her students to stay in school and to go to college. She regaled them with stories of her own children (an attorney, an orthodontist, and real estate and business leaders). She told them if she and her children could do it, so could they. She would still hear from former students who became teachers, bankers, lawyers and entrepreneurs. Her “kids/students” and her own four children knew they always had Rosa in their corner and that she believed in them and knew that each of them could succeed in whatever endeavor they chose.

Rosa is survived by her husband of 68 years, Fred Montoya, their four children and their spouses and loved ones, Regina Montoya and Paul Coggins, Dr. Robert and Debbie Montoya, Victor and Deborah Montoya and Andrew Montoya and his dear and special companion, Sharon Dillon; five grandchildren, Jessica Montoya Coggins, Aaron and Ryan Montoya, Heather Anderson and her husband, Phillip, and Stephen Montoya, as well as two great-grandchildren, Jett Jaykus and Zane Anderson. She is survived by many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, as well as her sister-in-law, Mary Montoya.

Rosa is preceded in passing by her parents, Rosa and Juan Meraz; her sisters, Hortensia Ortega (Tony) and Ester Madrid (Joseph), her brothers, Juan (Paulita) and Enrique (Teresa), as well as her two sisters-in-law, Estela Esquibel (Caskie) and Refugia “Ruth” Trujillo (Nick), and her brother-in law, Albert Montoya. She is also preceded in death by Peter Anthony Montoya, her infant son.

Due to COVID-19, a private burial service will be held at Calvary Hill Cemetery on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at 3:30 pm.

In lieu of flowers, we kindly ask you consider a contribution to the Dallas Education Foundation (DISD), via this on-line link: or via check at 9400 N. Central Expressway, Dallas, TX 75231 (Attn: Mita Havlick), or to the Catholic Charities Foundation, 1421 W. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, TX  75247 in memory of Rosa Montoya.

Please leave the family condolences and share memories on this website.


19 replies on “Montoya, Rosa Meraz”

Terry & Mark says:

Andrew – we heard the news this morning. Please know that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. You’ve been a good and loving son. Sending you much love!

debi montoya says:

What can be said about one of the most influential women I’ve ever known. Born with the grace and intelligence that most only dream of. If it’s true what the great and powerful Oz said “A heart is not judged by how much it loves, but by how much it is loved”..a greater woman never existed, for her children showed respect and love for her the likes I’ve never seen. I remember the day I asked you “what shall I call you?” and you smiled at me at said “call me mamacita, mi hita”. debi #1

Esther McElfish says:

My deepest condolences to Regina and your entire family. Rosa led an amazing and full life, touched many people in such a positive way. Blessings & Love to all of you.💜

Kim Rothfus says:

My sincere condolences in the loss of a wonderful person. Mrs. Montoya was an excellent teacher and beloved by many at NGHS.

Frank and Pam Coggins says:

Your Mom was a great example and served as a bright and shining light for all she met and worked with. Your accomplishments served to reinforce your Mom’s belief that anyone can reach their goals and not be slowed by any obstacle.
She and Fred raised leaders and her life reflected the long shadow cast by silent giants

Louis Caldera says:

Regina, I was so sorry to hear this news. Please accept our deepest condolences. I loved reading your mother’s story and about her fierce determination to help her children and everyone’s children succeed. You are your mother’s daughter! How wonderful that she got to see you run for mayor of Dallas! I loved the ads with your mom and dad and the testament to the love and values she instilled in you. Your mom and your family are in our prayers.

Kathy and Pete Stanton says:

We’ve been blessed to be nextdoor neighbors with Rose and Fred for 16+ years. Rose is so sweet and caring to everyone, I can see how she was such a wonderful teacher. They watched our kids as they are growing up. And Rose saved my teenage son several times when he got locked out of our house and she had the spare key we had asked her to hold on to. She will be deeply missed. But we can take comfort in knowing that she is no longer suffering and she is in heaven watching over everyone, I’m sure. Sending love and prayers for Rose and her entire family. An extra big hug for Fred – please let us know if we can help with anything!

Victoria Calder says:

Regina and Paul,
Skip and I were so saddened to hear of your loss. Please accept our deepest condolences. What a beautiful, rich life Rosa lived and such an amazing legacy she leaves behind! We send blessings and prayers for you and all of her loved ones.

Julie Do says:

prayers and condolences for dr montoya and his family. ❤️

Claudia Sanchez Cantu says:

My deepest condolences to the family. I was blessed to have had Mrs. Montoya as my ESOL teacher in 1988. She made a huge impact in my life and education. Thank you Mrs. Montoya for teaching so many generations of immigrants how to speak English. I will forever be grateful.

Martha Rocha says:

Regina, so sorry to learn of the loss of your beautiful mother. You are in my thoughts and prayers. May the peace of God surround you and your family during this sorrowful time.

John Martinez says:

Regina, please accept my condolences for the loss of your dear mother. You and your family will be in my prayers.

Toby Galloway says:

I’m so sorry for your loss. Sincere condolences.

Sharon Dillon says:

Rosa,I met you on April 16, 2017. You greeted me with an open heart and a twinkle in your eye! I applaud your strength and your many accomplishments. Through your love and guidance, your children grew into talented entrepreneurs devoted to their family. I will miss our backseat conversations and cherish those memories. As promised, I will love Andrew always.

Mike Schulman says:

Regina and Paul, please have our deepest sympathies. What an inspirational woman!!

The Kimbroughs says:

A loss like this is something you never get over, you just move past it the best way you can. Our deepest sympathy to Fred, Robert, Andy, Gina and Vic.

Nancy Cain Marcus says:

Dear Regina and Paul,
The exemplary life of Rosa Meraz Montoya is an inspiration that evokes respect and admiration. You and your family have my heartfelt sympthy. May Mrs. Montoya rest in eternal peace.
With every condolence,
Nancy Cain Marcus

Jeanne Whitman says:

Regina, Paul, and Jessica:
When I read Mrs. Montoya’s story, so much of Regina and Jessica made sense: intellect, perseverance, unrelenting focus, achievement–and, clearly, a heart full of love.

I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Please accept my deepest sympathy,


Sandy and Reg Kimbrough says:

To Fred, Robert,Andy,Gina and Vic please accept our deepest sympathy for your loss. This will be something that you will never get over. But you will find a way to get through it in time. Again please accept our love and condolences.

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