June 16, 1930 - April 3, 2020
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: www.dallasisd.org/DEF/donate 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.
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