1918 - February 15, 2008
Bennie (Veneranda) Maria Tafoya was born Aug. 10, 1918, to Ramon Gallegos and Refugio (Gonzales) Gallegos in Ranchos De Taos, N.M.
She was the eldest of eight children.
She grew up during the Great Depression and told many stories of what life was like then.
She lived in and around Taos, N.M., while growing up and moved to California after she married Alfredo Tafoya in 1942. She moved back to New Mexico in 1944.
She lost her husband to a brain aneurysm in 1950. She never remarried.
She moved to Craig in 1955 and made Craig her home until her death Feb. 15, 2008. She worked as a maid and cook to support her family.
She is preceded in death by many family members. Her father died in 1962, and her mother in 1969. Her youngest sister, Margarita, died as an infant. Her sister Lucy died in 1995, and her brother Ramon in 1997. Her other three sisters then passed away; Carmen in 2001, Perfie in 2006 and Vangie in February 2007. Lastly, her youngest brother, Casey, died in June 2007. She lost a grandson, Faustine Martinez, in 1986, and a great-grandchild, Hannah Preston, in 2005.
Bennie had five children, 20 grandchildren, 39 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren.
She is survived by her four daughters, Berlinda Delgado of Craig, Ruth Lujan and her husband, Loreto, of Grand Junction, Mary Sanford and her husband, Chuck, of Steamboat Springs, and Yolanda Cruz and her children, Monica, Anastasia, Heather, Alexandria and Johnathan, who reside in Craig. She also is survived by her son Steve and his wife, Melissa, who live with their two youngest boys, Benjamin and Daniel, in Castle Rock.
Bennie helped raise some of her grandchildren - Debbie, Ann, Tom, Francine and Mario, by whom she also is survived. Debbie and Jim Joseph now reside in Grand Junction, as well as Debbie's three children, Kenny Thomas, with his wife, Sami, and their child, Isabella; Jennifer Tafoya; and Christina with her husband, John Swanson, and their two boys, Andruw and Jacob. Ann and James Montes reside in Allentown, Pa., with their two boys, James and Antonio. Tom and Angela Tafoya live in Ft. Worth, Texas, with their six children, Veronica, Laura, Julie, Tom, Katie and John. Tom also has an older son named Zachary. Francine and Andy Preston live with their two daughters, Lauren and Lindsey, in Wernersville, Pa. Mario Delgado lives in Craig with his children, Domenic, Marcus and Charisma.
Bennie's other grandchildren and great-grandchildren are Anthony Delgado and his wife, Jennie, and their children, Brittany and Raven, also in Craig; Ryan M.M. Pfahl and his wife, Courtney, in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Steven D. Tafoya in Reno, Nev.; Kathy and her husband, Israel Delacruz, of Perrington, Texas and their children, Israel and Christina, who both are married, live in Texas, and each has two children; Tammy and her husband, Tanner Duran, of Scottsdale, Ariz., with their two children, Cassandra and Jessica; Brenda Kent and her daughter, Annabella of Steamboat Springs; Earl Kent of Craig and his son, Clayton; Denise and her husband, Mike Vail, and three sons, Joseph, David and Michael; Del Salazar of New Mexico and his wife and three children; Robert Salazar and his wife, Renee, in Mesa, Ariz., with their children, Jeremiah, Justin and Brittany; and Richard Salazar of New Mexico.
She also is survived by her two sister-in-laws, Teresa Gallegos of Denver and Ruth Gallegos of Taos, N.M. Bennie had numerous nieces, nephews and friends who knew her as "mom" or "grandma."
Some of her hobbies were bingo, going to the yard sales and watching her Broncos. She loved to listen to her music. She also loved to travel and visit her family or friends, which she did very often.
She was raised Catholic, and her faith in God never wavered. She taught her children and grandchildren the Word of God. She was a person who would always step up to help others in need.
She was all about her family - which she devoted her life to. She had a great sense of humor and could light up the entire room with her smile. In the last years of her life, Bennie suffered from many health issues, but her spirit never faltered. She always said that when the Lord was ready for her, she was ready too.
Her family remained with her tirelessly in her final weeks. She died Feb. 15, 2008, at Sandrock Ridge Care Center. Funeral services were held February 20, 2008, at St. Michael Catholic Church. Interment was at Craig Cemetery.
Pallbearers were Tom Tafoya, Anthony Delgado, Mario Delgado, Carmen Delgado, James Montes, Ryan Pfahl and Victor Gallegos.