Cover photo for Marjorie V. Arellano's Obituary
Marjorie V. Arellano Profile Photo
1926 Marjorie V. Arellano 2024

Marjorie V. Arellano

March 13, 1926 — February 6, 2024

Marjorie V. Arellano left this world on Feb 6, at age 97, surrounded by family. Margie was born on March 13, 1926, in Dawson, NM, to Jose Inocencio (Sandy) and Romancita (Romey) Valdez. Sandy and Romey settled in the “Wild West” town of Cimmaron, where Sandy became foreman of the WS Ranch. Growing up, Margie preferred hanging out in the corral with her two brothers, trying to ride baby calves, versus being inside doing “women’s work” with her four sisters. This unwillingness to conform to what was expected of women in her day would become a theme throughout Margie’s life. It’s not clear whether she was born with an obstinate streak or simply influenced by a place known for cowboys, gunslingers, and saloons. The word “cimarron” in Spanish means “wild,” and some use it to describe a mustang. But its most basic meaning is “untamed” or “undomesticated.” And Margie, well, she was cimarron.


Margie attended college at NM Highlands where she met and fell in love with Leo Arellano. They married on Valentine’s Day in 1947, and settled in Albuquerque where they raised five children. Margie stayed home to care for the kids, but she was not a typical housewife. She trained Leo to dust and vacuum on weekends and to get the kids up and ready for school while she slept in. She cooked most nights yet also found freedom in TV dinners. She played poker with a group of women for over 20 years, and the more Leo pleaded with her to stop or to take up other hobbies—and to her credit, she did bowl with him in a league for many years—the more she resisted. He suggested she try her hand at the “more respectable” game of Bridge, but she stuck with poker. Margie also believed in daily naps, and she loved to shop. In short, Margie did what Margie wanted. Untamed.


One thing is for certain. Margie instinctively knew how to “mother.” She was earthy and real. Her children recall a home where friends were always welcome. One friend would walk into the house without knocking and head straight to the fridge. Cousins stayed summers, in-laws would come for weeks, and Margie’s parents were often around. Her children’s friends joined the family on frequent trips to Elephant Butte Lake. 


When Margie’s kids started having children of their own, Margie dropped everything to help out around the house and with new babies. She had nine grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Today the grandkids talk about how “Nanny”—as they called her—would let them each be “Queen for a Day” or “King for a Day,” which mostly entailed shopping. She would also make them a favorite meal and set out candles at the table for a candlelight lunch. 


Margie played piano by ear and she and Leo were the life of a party. Her favorites were “Danny Boy” and “How Much is that Doggy in the Window.” She listened to Freddy Fender, Merle Haggard, Marty Robbins, Dolly and Patsy, Kenny and George.


Margie loved people yet cherished being alone. She did not like to travel except to see her parents or to the Vegas Strip. One time she played poker next to a famous rocker. When she got back from the trip she asked a granddaughter, “Have you ever heard of Jon Bon Jovi? I sat next to him all night at the poker table.”


Margie loved simple things in life—houseplants, sunflowers, homegrown tomatoes with salt and pepper. Yet when it came to clothing, Margie was anything but ordinary. She wore leather pants into her 80s and her closet was a celebration of color. She made mismatched outfits look trendy. She chose turquoise over diamonds any day, and like her mother Romey, she always made sure she had on earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. In fact, as she transitioned from this world to the next, caregivers streamed in and told the family how cool Margie was and how much she loved their clothes and jewelry.


The skies were ablaze the morning of Margie’s death, some would say, in preparation for her entry to heaven. Her ascent was never questioned by her family, who knew there’d be a place for her next to her beloved Leo, Sandy and Romey, and her siblings. But she’d had a rocky relationship with the Church, having veered from its most stringent rules. Whenever Margie attended mass, for a wedding or funeral, the family joked that the roof might cave in. At one point during the dying process, Margie was agitated. Son Larry sat by her bedside and held her hands as she said, “I want to go….” 


“Where do you want to go, Mom?” he asked. 


“To heaven,” she said. 


“You will, Mom, there’s a spot waiting for you,” he told her, and she settled down.


Margie was predeceased by Leo, and by her parents and siblings. She is survived by her children Patty (Mori), Bobbie, Janet (Paul), Larry (Angela), and Roma (Jim), as well as grandchildren Michelle, Jennifer, Jaclyn, Rebecca, Lauren, Adam, Allison, Daisy, and Mia, and great-grandchildren Alex, Nicolas, Christopher, Drew, Luke, Blake, Emery, Brady, Camila, Catalina, Ella, and Ava.


The family extends heartfelt gratitude to the staff at Casa de Paz in Rio Rancho. Their care revived Margie for longer than the family ever imagined possible. The hubbub of activity in the great room of the residence kept Margie alert and content. She made many new friends there late in life, as did her family. A special shout-out to Kay, Maria, Andrea, Allison, Lorraine, Barbara, Mariah, Leah, Candy, Adam, and all her caregivers over the years. And thank you to Theresa Martinez, who was a special caregiver to for Mom many years. Margie was more than a resident to you, and her family loves you all for treating her so well!

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the charity of your choice, or use her life as inspiration and be yourself everyday! Cremation has taken place, and services will be held on Friday, February 23, at 10:30am at San Felipe de Neri Church in Old Town. And remember Margie whenever you see a brilliant sunrise, a sunflower, or a poker game.

“I’m going to heaven when the world’s on fire. And I want God’s bosom to be my pillow.” ~The Carter Family

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Marjorie V. Arellano, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, February 23, 2024

10:30 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

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Friday, February 23, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Friday, February 23, 2024

Starts at 12:30 pm (Mountain time)

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Graveside Service

Friday, February 23, 2024

2:30 - 3:15 pm (Mountain time)

Vista Verde Memorial Park

4310 Sara Rd, Rio Rancho, NM 87124

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