Cover photo for Lupe Jane Sandoval's Obituary
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1946 Lupe 2024

Lupe Jane Sandoval

October 20, 1946 — March 20, 2024

ALAMO, NEW MEXICO – Lupe Jane Sandoval was born on October 20, 1946, to John and Pauline G. Padilla in the white peak area of the Alamo Navajo Reservation.  She is born to the Chish7 (Apache) clan, born into the Kinya’1an77 (Towering House) Clan.  Her maternal grandfathers are of the Ashih7 (Salt) people and her paternal grandparents are of the B88h bit0’n99h (Deer Spring).  


            She always remembered her cultural upbringing and teachings of her maternal grandfather and the biblical and prayerful teachings of her maternal grandmother and mother. Lupe was born into a family of four siblings, the late Nora P. Secatero, Ruth Padilla, Donald Padilla, and Robert Lee Padilla.  She also had four half-siblings, Ricky Padilla Sr., Lydia Carruthers, and the late John Steven Padilla and late Pauline Jane Padilla.  She also grew up in a large family that included cousins, uncles, and aunties.   She always remembered and shared stories of how her uncles teased them when they were young children and shared many fond memories.  


            She met the love of her life, Tommy Sandoval at the Word of God church in Alamo, NM during an Easter Sunday services where Mr. Sandoval made a lasting impression on her.  This meeting led to an engagement and marriage on July 29, 1971.  From that union, came two handsome and sharp-witted sons – Virgil Jay Sandoval and Alvino Sandoval II.  As a young woman, Lupe also raised Amos Smiley and Sampson Chavez.  Later on, she raised Latanya Pinto, Yolinda Pino, Jovita, and Angus Smiley.  Her love for children and their education was always a priority for Lupe.  Before Lupe and Tommy married, Lupe supported and prayed patiently as Tommy was deployed to Vietnam where he was later honorably discharged with several medals including the bronze medal.  


            She attended Alamo Day School for a year before she and her older sister, Nora were taken to attend the Albuquerque Indian School for elementary, Lupe attended Lincoln Middle School, and Albuquerque High School.  When she returned to Alamo, NM after graduating High School, she went to work at the local Head Start program in Alamo under the Office of Navajo Economic Opportunity (ONEO) as a cook.  She then worked briefly at Magdalena School as a teacher’s aide, where she met one of her best friends, Nancy Jaramillo.  Then, she returned to work at the Alamo Navajo School when it opened its first community school.  From this opportunity, the friendship between Lupe, Nora, and Nancy only became stronger.   Lupe vividly recalls raising Nancy and Frank Jaramillo’s children, Tara and John.   From here, Lupe never left the Alamo Navajo Community School until her retirement in the early 2000s due to medical purposes.  


            She was part of a cohort of Navajo paraprofessionals who were on a scholarship program that paid for them to obtain a teaching degree from the University of New Mexico.  Lupe and her sister, Nora (always inseparable) remained determined and resilient to complete their degree.  Her sister Nora, completed her degree earlier, and later on, in 1999, Lupe walked the Johnson Gymnasium to obtain her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Elementary degree.  From this endeavor, Lupe also gained strong friendships with the late Marie Pino, and Carol J. Guerro.  They all stayed friends even after Lupe retired from the school as Marie and Carol remained.  From her career in education, she also developed lasting relationships with Sharon Harris, Nancy Dauber, Susan Carter, Susan Armstrong, Debbie Wallace, Delayna Fletcher, Gail Miller, Vaun Allen and his late wife, Diane Allen, and the late Jane Benalil.


            As a mother, she raised two sons, Virgil and Alvino.  Virgil obtained his trade certificate in Construction from Cass Job Corps in Cass, AK, and is the current Alamo Navajo Chapter president – elected by the community of Alamo – this was a proud moment and milestone that Lupe celebrated with her family.  She always taught her sons to be humble and kind and to always pray.   Virgil has 3 beautiful daughters, Breanna, Shanae, and Baahazho, 3 grandchildren, and his partner, Sophia Chavez.  Alvino is currently teaching at Albuquerque Public Schools and is guardian to Terrall and Devonte Monte who are grandsons Lupe also raised.  She also raised Latanya Pinto who started her career teaching young children (preschool), Latanya gave Lupe 5 grandchildren, Laysha, Terrall, Devonte Monte, Aubrey, and Caleb Longhair.  


            Lupe was a strong advocate for continuing onto higher education and always said “You are NEVER too late to learn and earn your degree”.  Her persistence and resilience are a testament to working hard and never wavering from your dreams. From this encouragement, she was proud that her baby sister, Lydia became a 1st generation college graduate from the union of Susie and John Padilla’s side of the family. Lupe has encouraged so many nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and alike to pursue higher education. She will be missed by so many and we look forward to that great reunion in which she believed in as a Christian woman.  


            She is preceded in death by her late husband Tommy Sandoval, father John Padilla, mother Pauline G. Padilla, sisters Nora P. Secatero, and Pauline Jane Padilla, and her brother John Steven Padilla.


            She is survived by her sons, Virgil Sandoval (Sophia Chavez), and Alvino Sandoval II, nieces Latanya Pinto (Quntin Longhair), Jovita Smiley (Douglas Apachito), and nephew Angus Smiley.  Grandchildren Breanna Piaso, Shanae Piaso, Baahazho Piaso, Terrall Monte, Devonte Monte, Laysha Monte, Aubrey Longhair, and Caleb Longhair. Great-Grandchildren, Akio Harrison, Jaydence Ganadonegro, and Trayden Ganadonegro.  

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