PATSY GUSTAMANTES HERRERA, 76, passed away peacefully at her home on Monday, August 12, 2019, surrounded by the love of her family.
Patsy was born on November 13, 1942, to Richard and Genoveva Gustamantes. After the early death of Genoveva, Richard married Susie Vigil who was very special in Patsy’s life. In July of 1965, Patsy married Jose Delfin Herrera. They spent 33 years married and raised four children together. Jose preceded her in death in 1998.
Patsy was born in Roswell, where she worked alongside her family of ranchers until they moved to Cortez, CO, in 1956. Raised in a ranching family, she learned the importance of hard work and understood what it meant to be stewards of the animals in her care. Pat graduated Valedictorian of Cortez High School and was the first in her family to go to college. After seeing her crippled cousin come home on crutches after spending time at Carrie Tingley Hospital, she knew the profession she wanted. In 1966, Pat graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Occupational Therapy. Early in Pat’s career, she worked at Colorado State Hospital, Tri-Counties Regional Center for the Mentally Challenged in Lompoc, CA, and University of Utah Medical Center.
After Jose’s retirement in 1987, the family moved back to Roswell where she worked for the Roswell Independent School District for six years. After seeing the desperate need for therapists in the southeast part of the state, Pat had a vision. In 1993, Patsy and Jane Batson were instrumental in the creation of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at ENMU-Roswell, which Pat directed until her retirement in 2008. During the fifteen years under her leadership, the OTA program graduated more than 250 COTAs, including her son Jose, and brother Frank. Even after retirement, you couldn’t keep Pat away from therapy. She enjoyed retirement by working part-time for Los Pasitos as well as for her brother, Frank at A-Z Therapy Services.
In 2017, Patsy was recognized at the national American Occupational Therapy Association’s meeting in Philadelphia, PA, as being a pioneer of women in Occupational Therapy. She dedicated over 50 years to the profession while transforming minds, bodies, and spirits. Although Pat devoted her life to therapy, Pat’s greatest achievement and joy was her unending love and support for her children and grandchildren. Patsy’s generous heart and unselfish demeanor will be what is remembered most about her.
Those left to cherish Patsy’s memory are her children: Genevieve Herrera, Jose (Luisa) Herrera, Jr., Suanne (Anthony) Mestas, and Gabriel Herrera; brothers: Senovio (Presella), Ray, Joaquin (Mary), Richard Jr. (Frances), Frank (Cynthia), Felipe (Lisa) Gustamantes; sisters: Beatrice Lopez, Lisa (Moses) Medina, and Veronica (Hector) Macias; grandchildren: Angelica, Amanda, Stephanie, Christopher, and Steven Herrera, Christian (Lisa) Martinez, Rose (Joe) Castillo, Jessica (John) Olivo, Marissa Herrera, and Ryan and Isaiah Mestas; great-grandchildren: Anthony Joe, Destiny, Joe-Joe, Arianna, Luis, Mia, Gabrielle, Jose, Carlos, Leandro, Chris Jr., Marcella, Xavier, Estrella, Mia, Ezmie, and Adrian.
Pallbearers are Christian Martinez, Anthony Joe, Steven & Chris Herrera, Jessica Olivo, and Ryan Mestas.
Honorary Pallbearers are Destiny Martinez, Marissa Herrera, and Isaiah Mestas.
A Viewing will be held at Anderson Bethany Funeral Home on Friday, August 16, 2019, from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, followed by a Rosary at 7:00 PM. A Funeral Mass will be held at Saint Peter’s Catholic Church on Saturday, August 17, 2019, 10:00 AM. Interment will follow at South Park Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations to be made to the Down Syndrome Foundation of SENM in Patsy’s name.
Patsy’s tribute was written in her honor by her loving family.