José Alfonso Esquibel, “Uncle Pony”
May 1, 1941, Ledoux, New Mexico– December 18, 2017, Las Cruces, New Mexico
The tenth child of Emilio Esquibel and Librada Tafoya Esquibel, Alfonso left New Mexico in 1953 with his mother and siblings for Cheyenne, Wyoming. In 1955, he returned to New Mexico to live with his dad and older brother Emilio. After his mother and his siblings relocated to Los Angeles, California, he joined them there in 1957. Alfonso married Eleanor Marina Rueda in Los Angeles in 1960.
Alfonso attended school in Mora, New Mexico and Cheyenne, Wyoming. Alfonso worked hard all his life. In Cheyenne, beginning at age 11, Alfonso worked as a newspaper and shoe shine boy with his younger brother Antonio “Benny” and as a pin spotter at the bowling alley. He was proud to contribute 45 cents to a dollar a day to the family income, which paid the rent. In Los Angeles, Alfonso worked as a door-to-door salesman and in sales at Sears and White Front department stores. Later he and his brother Charlie became entrepreneurs, opening a furniture manufacturing business. After moving back to New Mexico in 1978, he became a licensed Realtor and sold insurance. Alfonso followed the Esquibel tradition and did some ranching. He retired from the NM State Taxation and Revenue in 2003.
Alfonso was a member of the Tertiary Order of Saint Francis, the Hermanos de Nuestro Señor Padre Jesus Nazareno in northern New Mexico, active in the Morada de San Antonio (Cleveland, New Mexico). This order is a lay brotherhood that preserved and practiced Catholic songs, prayers, and traditions in northern New Mexico for over three hundred years. Like the other Brothers, he kept his own cuaderno (handbook) of songs and prayers in his own handwriting.
Alfonso is survived by his wife Eleanor, daughters Christine Esquibel Wright (Salomón) of Las Cruces, New Mexico and Catriona “Kathy” Rueda Esquibel (Luz Calvo) of Oakland, California; grandchildren Steven Vega of Panama City, Florida, Cisco Vega of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Salomón “Chip” Wright of Chicago, Illinois, Maria Wright of Las Cruces, New Mexico; great-grandchildren Victoria and Zach Vega; sister Ernestina “Tina” Oden of Marysville, Washington, brothers Carlos “Charlie” (Jeannie) of Las Vegas, New Mexico and Antonio Benjamin (Deborah) of Northglenn, Colorado. He leaves behind many nieces and nephews across multiple states.
Alfonso was preceded in death by his beloved mother Librada, his father Emilio, sisters Altagracia, Grace Cora, Juanita (Jennie) García, Maria Julia Herrera, and brothers Alfred, Teodoro “Ted,” Emilio Juan, and Fernández “Freddie.”
A Rosary will be held at 10:00 am, followed by Mass, on Thursday, December 28, 2017 at St. Genevieve’s Catholic Church in Las Cruces, NM. Lunch and fellowship at the Wright family home, 2335 Tuscan Hills Lane, Las Cruces, NM will follow after funeral services.