Jenna Kelly Hamilton, 42, lost her life Sunday, October 8, after injuries sustained in a car accident.
Jenna was born in Los Alamos on the 4th day of June, 1981, and spent her first two years in Chama, NM, after which Espanola became her home for the next 16 years when her parents secured jobs in the valley, her father at McCurdy School, her mother with the public schools.
Jenna was ready for school the same year McCurdy added a kindergarten class, taught by beloved teacher Tina Cordova. She graduated in 1999, a bobcat to the end. McCurdy was a busy place during Jenna’s years in school from “pepper” rallies, as she called them, to art shows in which she often won awards to dancing with the ballet folklorico group taught by Charlotte Jaramillo and her husband, Robert Ortega. She was even a homecoming princess in her junior year. Ultimately, attending McCurdy inspired within her a deep belief and trust in God.
Jenna was a born teacher. Once she entered UNM, and after a few changes in majors along the way, she obtained her master’s degree in special education and worked at both Tomasita Elementary and Duranes Elementary in Albuquerque.
Jenna met her husband, Ben, through a mutual friend. Their courtship was an on-again off-again affair and after quite a few breakups, they happened to be on the same flight from Albuquerque to Denver one Christmas. Their romance was rekindled and they married a few months later in 2008. Jenna, an only child, loved being folded into the expansive Sinn-Wondrash clan from Minnesota and the equally lively Rivera-Hamilton family from New Mexico.
When Jenna became a mother to daughter Alanah in 2009, she knew that teaching in the public schools wouldn’t allow her the time to be the kind of mother she wanted to be – the best. So she took several less demanding jobs at APS before deciding to take a few accounting courses at CNM where she excelled at untangling gnarly numerical problems. After a few years with an accounting firm, Jenna found her niche bookkeeping for St. John’s Methodist Church.
Devoted to her family, Jenna loved planning and organizing outings, keeping her parents engaged, guiding her daughter through the pre-teen years and into high school. She was a life-long learner and enjoyed having philosophical discussions with her father. Jenna was her mother’s most treasured companion.
Jenna will be remembered for her gentle spirit, her compassion, her thoughtfulness, her warm and loving smile.
She is survived by daughter Alanah and husband Ben; parents, Ed and Paula Mills; parents-in-law Pat and Steve Wondrash and Judy and Greg Hamilton; sister-in-law Nikki Roeder (Jon); brother-in-law Kyle Wondrash (Kristy); brother-in-law William Hamilton (Adri); sister-in-law Alexandra Hamilton; and brother-in-law Gregory Hamilton, Jr. She had many dear cousins, nieces and nephews as well.
A celebration of life will take place Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, at 2 PM at St. John’s Methodist Church, 2626 Arizona NE, Albuquerque, NM with a reception to follow.