The Rosary for Mercedes Salas, 88, of Portales, will be recited at 9:00 AM, Jan. 6, 2022 at St. Helen Catholic Church. Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated at 10:00 AM byFr. Francisco Carbajal. Burial will follow in the Portales Cemetery with Jennifer Ortega-Flores, Christy Birkholz, Brenda Ortega, Bobby Ortega, Jimmy Jaspter and Joseph Ornelas serving as pallbearers. All of her nieces and nephews along with her many "Honorary Grandchildren" will serve as honorary pallbearers.
Juanita Mercedes Salas was born Sept. 7, 1933 in Encino, NM to the home of Antonia (Gutierrez) and Salomon Ortega and died at her home in Portales on the morning of Jan. 2, 2022. The Ortega family moved to Portales when Mercedes was a young girl. As a teenager, she began working with her family in the fields in the area. In June of 1954, she was married to Frank Salas. Together they had one son, Salomon, but later divorced. However, they remained very close for the rest of their lives. For a time she was employed at the Casing Plant, but in 1971, she became a housekeeper in the dorms at Eastern New Mexico University. She started out working at De Baca Hall, but later was at Eddy Hall and finally at Lincoln Hall before her retirement in 1995.
Mrs. Salas was a faithful member of St. Helen Catholic Church throughout her lifetime. She loved to go out to eat. Some of her favorite places to go were El Rancho, as well as Golden Corral and Denney's. Another source of enjoyment was to go shopping, especially with her granddaughter. Mercedes would often take trips around the state, usually to visit her family in Encino. She was still driving as recently as this fall.
She is survived by two grandchildren, Henry and Emily Salas and Sophia and Jason Dunsworth of Portales; four great-grandchildren, Amaya Salas, Henry "Little H" Salas, Kadence Dunsworth and Kade Dunsworth; all of the many who knew her and loved her as "Grandma Mercedes"; a brother, Orlando Ortega of Portales; her many nieces and nephews and her many friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, four brothers, Chales Ortega, Cristobal Ortega, Salito Ortega and Freddie Ortega, a sister, Maria Apodaca, her son, Salomon Salas who died May 10, 2013 and by her former husband, Frank.