Cleofas (“Cleo” and “Papa”) Albert Padilla, passed peacefully into his Savior’s Arms on August 4, 2023. He was surrounded by family who were a source of comfort and strength in his final days.
Cleo was born on August 24, 1946, and grew up in Belen, where he attended St. Mary’s Catholic School and graduated from Belen High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico and faithfully served our Country in the U.S. Air Force. In 1975, while teaching history at McKinley Middle School he met the love of his life Madeleine.
In 1978, Cleo and Madeleine moved to Corrales and Cleo started his custom cabinet and furniture business- Corrales Concepts. Cleo was a talented craftsman and artist and despite his humble beginnings, built a solid reputation for his work. In 1985 he built a gallery showroom for his business right off Corrales Road. His woodworking legacy lives on in houses, galleries and pro-shops throughout New Mexico and Colorado.
When he wasn’t working, Cleo was helping his three daughters with their passions and teaching them how to care for their animals, do well in school and whatever else they wanted to try their hands at. Cleo hauled his girls and their horses across the State and the Country to watch them do what they loved. Cleo was a wonderful husband, papa, and friend. In the latter part of his life, he took up golf and tried to be a good golfer, though the game always gave him a hard time or he gave it a hard time. He did, however, win some golf tournaments with several of his many good golfing buddies and enjoyed his time on the course with his friends.
Cleo played a significant role in his children’s and grandchildren’s lives and was a true and valued jokester, adviser, mentor and rock, not only for his family, but for many others. He was full of personality and larger than life to many and will be dearly missed by his family and friends. Cleo was a man of strong beliefs and opinions and was always direct, but was also warm and loving. There was nothing in this world like a hug from Cleo, it could fortify, comfort or protect and defend depending on the recipient’s needs.
Cleo loved his family and his wife with everything he had until the very end, and sought Madeleine’s hand and prayers up until his last breath. He never met a stranger and had a deep love for sharing Christ with the lost. He was a fan of rodeo, football, golf and old westerns. Cleo is survived by his wife of forty-nine years Madeleine Padilla, his three daughters, Mariposa Padilla Sivage, Alegra Bishop and Vanessa Szanto and their husbands Kelly Sivage, Brandon Bishop and David Szanto. With three daughters, Cleo and Madeleine were blessed with the ultimate joy of their lives in their eight grandchildren: Robert Bishop (18), Dwight Bishop (17), Mariella Sivage (16), Briggs Szanto (15), Eli Bishop (13) Felicity Szanto (12), James Sivage (12) and Levi Bishop (9). He is also survived by his brother Victor Padilla and nieces and nephews. Cleo was preceded in death by his father Cleofas Albert Padilla Sr. and his mother Felicita Padilla.
Cleo’s Celebration of Life service will be held on Monday, August 14, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at Faith Church in Rio Rancho. Faith Church is located at 900 Southern Blvd. SE, Rio Rancho, New Mexico, 87124.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to the New Mexico Boys and Girls Ranch would be greatly appreciated.