Gilbert Daniel Ortega, 80, of Alamosa, Colorado, went to be with the Lord on November 10, 2023 after his long battle with prostate cancer.
Gilbert was born in Monte Vista, Colorado on March 3, 1943.
Gilbert spent most of his life in the San Luis Valley where he thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors – fishing, hunting, and camping. He was so fond of fishing, on weekends he would wake up his family SUPER early and head up to the mountains (Road Canyon, Creed, Rock Creek, Shaw Lake, many other places) where they enjoyed the entire day (or weekend) fishing, eating potato chip sandwiches, and appreciating nature.
Gilbert was extremely knowledgeable about car mechanics. On many occasions he could be found under the hood of a car overhauling engines, troubleshooting and/or fixing major/minor issues.
Gilbert had many hobbies, but one of his favorites was playing pool with friends or competing in pool tournaments. He was also a gifted artist who took pride in drawing, painting, crafting, and taking photographs.
Upon high school graduation, Gilbert joined the Army (and National Guard) where he served 6 years during the Vietnam War – he was very proud of his military service. He expanded his education at Adams State College. Gilbert went on to work for the U.S Forest Service where he designed mountain roads, eventually retired after 30+ years. During retirement Gilbert was not ready to settle down and began his entrepreneurial career as a videographer for the next 11 years.
Gilbert had a deep love and respect for animals. As children, his daughters can remember always stopping on the side of the road to cut alfalfa to take home to his rabbits. It can be said his passion was passed onto his children.
The most important aspect of Gilbert’s life was his spirituality and his relationship with the Lord. He spent many days studying the bible and/or having conversations (or a debate) with his family and friends; and in his final days was grateful for the VA Chaplin (Randy) who would stop by and read scriptures to him – this gave him peace.
Gilbert was proceeded in death by his parents Louie & Eva (Valdez) Ortega, his brother Anthony Ortega, his beloved Audrey Worker, and his son-in-law Jose Cordova.
Gilbert is survived by his brother Joseph Ortega, daughters Felicia Cordova, Sherrie Ortega (Antonio Rivota), Cristie Ortega, Loretta Conaway (Brent Conaway), his grandchildren Ashley Southard (Jj Southard), Michaela Aoyama, Anastasia Manzanares (Joshua De Santiago), John “RJ” Manzanares (Angie Romero), Davin Ortega; his great-grandchildren Alyssa Aoyama, Jaylynn Aoyama, Jesslyn Molina, Erica Molina, Alyanah De Santiago, Hoshea De Santiago, Charlett De Santiago, Mykah Manzanares, John Michael Manzanares; his step-sons Gary Coffey (Crystal), Brandon Coffey, his step-grandsons BJ Coffey, Isiah Coffey, Koby Coffey.
Gilbert’s last days were spent in San Antonio, TX with his daughter. Arrangements for an intimate viewing will take place at the Schertz Funeral home at 12:00 pm on November 15, 2023; afterwards he will be cremated. In the spring Gilbert will be taken home to the San Luis Valley for family and friends to pay their last respects and come together to celebrate his life. Afterwards, he will be placed next to his parents at the San Luis cemetery.
Thank you to the Veteran Affairs team in San Antonio, his primary care team, and the AlOmega Hospice nurses who assisted with the making Gilbert’s last months, weeks and days more bearable.
A special thank you to Denise Kivett who was always there to help with dad regardless of whether it was flying to Colorado to help on the road trip back to San Antonio, dad-sit, or to simply be there to talk or comfort him.