Isabel Marie Pacheco

Longtime Monte Vista resident Isabel Marie Pacheco, 89, died June 27, 2023, at the Rio Grande Hospital in Del Norte, Colo. It was with great love and sorrow that her children, all present at her passing, said their goodbyes.

Isabel’s life began in the family home at Seven Mile Plaza, outside of Monte Vista, Colo., on March 15, 1934. She was the daughter of Juan F. Trujillo and Lydia Torres Trujillo. The Torres and Trujillo families were early pioneers in the San Luis Valley and Isabel was the granddaughter of Pedro “Pete” and Sofia Trujillo whose Trujillo homestead on the Medano near the Great Sand Dunes National Park is now a National Historic Landmark. She married the love of her life, Hipolito Q. “Paul” Pacheco, on Jan. 31, 1951. They enjoyed more than 65 years together until his death in 2016.

Isabel worked for 20 years as a receptionist at Monte Vista Eye Care where she enjoyed greeting and serving clients of the Center. Family members still encounter former clients who tell of missing her friendly greetings and great service. Other outside-the-home jobs during her lifetime included assistant manager at Montgomery Ward, sales associate at the old McDonalds clothing store, and counter girl at Hesteds Five and Dime. For a time, she and Paul became business owners when, along with a few partners, they purchased the old armory (now Hope’s Castle). The venue with its large wooden floor served as a roller-skating rink during the day and a dance hall on Saturday nights. Local and outside live bands drew in revelers from across the Valley. Later, the couple became sole proprietors and the establishment became the El Toro Restaurant and Lounge specializing in home-cooked New Mexican dishes.

Isabel was an engaged community member. She served as treasurer for the Lariat Water and Sanitation Board and joined other community leaders in working toward the annexation of the Lariat community into the City of Monte Vista. She served for a time as PTA president and was an avid Monte Vista Pirates fan supporting band and sports programs over the years, especially when her children and grandchildren were involved. Many hours were spent sitting through cold and windy weather even as she experienced mobility issues in later years.

 Isabel was a lifetime member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Monte Vista. She and Paul were supporters of St. Joseph School during its existence and she served as a catechist in the parish religious education program for several years. Today, parishioners at the Saturday evening mass will miss seeing her in the fourth pew from the front. As her health issues became more pronounced, it was her strong faith that gave her strength.

Most of all, Isabel devoted herself to the tasks and challenges involved in raising a large family. This was the true work and contribution of her life. She loved her garden and the family enjoyed fresh vegetables in summer and canned fruits and jams in winter. With a family of six daughters, her sewing machine was kept busy on projects that included several prom, homecoming, and wedding dresses. She left behind several crochet afghans that will be treasured by their owners. As a grandmother, she delighted in visits with her grandchildren and was famous for remembering each one’s birthday. In later years, she enjoyed television programs like Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, EWTN, and House Hunters. She followed current affairs and was proud to never have missed an opportunity to cast her ballot.

Isabel is survived by her adult children, Shirley Atencio, Monica Wolfe, Michael Pacheco, Angela Mascarenas (Jim), Christi Martin, James Pacheco (Rhonda), and Natalie Martinez. She will be cherished and dearly missed by 67 grandchildren and great-grandchildren who were the joys of her life and by Chico, her pet chihuahua who, as family members attest, trumped all. She is also survived by the sisters she loved, Arcelia “Arcy” Valdez (Frank) and Martha Francisco (Andrew), and by numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, neighbors and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Paul and daughter Debra Jean Cawley, as well as her grandson, Nicolas Wolfe, infant granddaughter Heather Pacheco, and sister Cordelia Trujillo.

In celebration and thanksgiving for Isabel’s life, and in keeping with the practices of her faith, a Vigil, Rosary, and sharing of memories will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 30, at St. Joseph Catholic Church followed by a reception in the church hall. A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, July 1, 2023, at the same location with interment to follow at the San Luis Valley Cemetery. Donations in Isabel’s memory may be made to either St. Joseph Church in Monte Vista or to the Rio Grande Hospital in Del Norte, Colorado.

Rogers Family Mortuary is in care of the arrangements. To leave online condolences, words of comfort, and tributes for Isabel’s family, please visit