DEL NORTE— Long time Del Norte resident Billy Bonifacio Montaño, 84, passed away quite suddenly on Aug. 29, 2019.
He was born on March 21, 1935 in Del Norte to Liberato (Lee) Montaño & Vita Thomas. Bill was raised by his grandparents, Jack and Piedad Thomas and went by Billy Thomas; a lot of people to this day only know him by that name.
Bill married Eva Montaño (Abeyta) the mother of his children in Taos, N.M. on Oct. 13, 1952. The family moved to California for about a year while he was enlisted in the U.S. Navy from May 8, 1953- May 7, 1957, during which he received a National Defense Service medal. His last duty assignment and major command was the U.S.S. Bushnell (AS-15) as a Seamen Recruit (SR).
Following his service he dedicated his life to the U.S. Forest Service from July 13, 1959 – Dec. 31, 2004 and retired after 45 years. Even after “retiring” you could find him at Forest Service making sure they were doing the job right. He loved the mountains and continued to take drives up to mountains, checking gates, the Forest Service buildings and campgrounds. He was always a jokester at work with the crews he was in charge of. His hobbies included working in his shop, raising rabbits as well as pure bred basset hounds and cruising around making deliveries. He was happiest when spending time spoiling his grandchildren.
Bill is survived by one sister, Isabelle Bell; the mother of his children, Eva Montaño; three of his children Debra Kay Chapman (Mike) of South Fork; Bill Montaño (Ramona) of Engelwood, Colo. and David Montaño (Lynn) of Fountain, Colo.; four grandchildren Amanda (Cliff) Chapman-Shaw of Monte Vista; Billy (Sidney) Montaño of Engelwood, Colo.; Christie Alexander of Fountian; Joe Jensen of Colorado Springs; five great-grandchildren: Tyler & Tegan Chapman-Shaw, Paris Montaño, Devin and Chevelle; a very special friend Linda Espinosa and her loving family, Nadia, Esteban and Nevaeh.
Bill was preceded in death by his grandparents, parents and siblings; Elias (Eli) Montaño, Louise(Chub) Brito.
His family was built with blood and bonds; many were lucky to call him Granpo.
A graveside service was held on Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Del Norte Cemetery with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to be made to Rio Grande Hospital
Services in care of Strohmayer’s Funeral Home.