Manuela O. Peña, (Nellie), (Meli) of Alamogordo, passed peacefully into Paradise on March 9, 2023, at the age of 92. She was born on July 13, 1930, to the late Refugio Lechuga and Geronimo Ortega in Marcia, New Mexico. Manuela's father passed away when she was a very young girl. Her mother was then remarried to Jose V. Sanchez, who would raise Manuela as his own.
Manuela moved to Nebraska, where she grew up working in the beet, bean and potato fields alongside her parents and siblings. During this time, she would occasionally travel back to Alamogordo to visit, reconnect and stay with her Ortega family. It was also during this time she would reconnect with her childhood sweetheart, Jose "Nati" Peña, who eventually traveled from Alamogordo to Nebraska and proposed to Manuela. They were joined in marriage on August 19, 1951, in Mitchell, Nebraska. They would return to Alamogordo, where they would start their life together for the next 54 years and raise their two children, Robert Andrew and Rose Marie Peña.
Once her children were on their own, Manuela began her career as a daycare provider in the Alamogordo area and worked for over 30 years taking care of young children until she retired at the young age of 80. She was known fondly as Ms. Manuela or Teacher Manuela to all her "kids" as she so lovingly referred to them.
Manuela is preceded in death by her loving parents, Geronimo Ortega, Refugio Lechuga Sanchez, and Jose V. Sanchez; her devoted husband, Jose Natividad Peña; her beloved son, Robert A. Peña; and loving brother, Larry Sanchez.
Manuela is survived by her daughter of the family home, Rose M. Peña; daughter-in-law, Blanca Morales-Peña, of Las Cruces; grandchildren, Andrew (Rosa) Peña, Olivia (Raul) Peña, and Raquelle Peña; great grandchildren, Jordan Centrella and Marciano Gutierrez; all who were the loves of her life. She is also survived by her sisters, Lola Hills of Naples, Florida, and Lupe Sanchez of Lyman, Nebraska; nieces, Janell (Mark) Hill and Nicole Hills; nephews, Benjamin Young and Lorenzo (Lesta) Sanchez; numerous cousins and other relatives from her Ortega family and many good friends that she made along the way.
Manuela's family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you and much gratitude to the GCRMC staff, nurses, doctors, for all the compassion, professionalism, care, and support shown during her stay at the hospital and her eventual passing. Thank you also to Dr. Kay and her staff for their care, the wound care staff at Alamogordo Physical Therapy and Wellness Center for all your patience, compassion and care.
Manuela will be greatly missed by those that knew her and loved her.
The Rosary for Manuela Pena will be recited at 10:30 am, Monday, March 27, 2023, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 am, Monday, March 27, 2023, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church with Father Marcel Okonkwo, Celebrant.
Burial will follow at Immaculate Conception Catholic Cemetery.
The Pena family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Alamogordo Funeral Home to direct the services.
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