The Rosary for Orlando “Joe” Ortega, 90, of Portales, will be recited at 7:30 PM, Wed., Mar. 16, 2022 at St. Helen Catholic Church. The Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated by Fr. Francisco Carbajal at 10:00 AM, Thurs., Mar. 17, 2022 at St. Helen Catholic Church. Burial will follow in the Portales Cemetery with Joe Ortega, Isidro Ortega, Anthony Ortega, Michael Ortega, Nazario Ortega, Billy Joe Pena, Javier Sanchez and Ethan Ortega serving as pallbearers. All of his other family members and his countless friends will be honorary pallbearers.
Orlando Ortega, known to many as Joe, was born Nov. 23, 1931 in Encino, NM to the home of Antonia (Gutierrez) and Salomon Ortega, and died at his home in Portales on the afternoon of Mar. 14, 2022. The family came to the Floyd community in 1942 in search of work. He came to Portales in 1948, and continued working at various jobs to earn a living. On Feb. 7, 1951 at St. Helen Catholic Church in Portales, he was married to Celia Chavez. They enjoyed 62 years of marriage before her death on May 23, 2013. In the early 1960’s he came across a house that was being built, and asked if they could use any more help. That was his beginning in the construction trade. In 1976, he obtained his contractor’s license, and established Orlando Ortega and Sons Construction Company. He taught each of his sons and his grandsons to work in the building trades. Orlando continued to run his business until his retirement in the early 2000’s. However, there is still a sign in the shop that says “Orlando Ortega Is Still The Boss.” During those years, he built countless homes throughout Portales and the surrounding area. “Big O,” as he was sometimes known, loved to work, and was very proud of the places he had built. Most of all he was proud of his family. They could all count on him for sound, strong advice.
Mr. Ortega and his wife were very faithful members of St. Helen Catholic Church, and were actively involved in the Cursillistas. For relaxation he liked to watch boxing, and was a Dallas Cowboys fan when they were winning. But his greatest joy was when he was surrounded by his children and their families.
He is survived by four sons and daughters-in-law, Nino and Rita Ortega, Berto and Neva Ortega, Polo and Cindy Ortega and Orlando, Jr. and Melody Ortega and a daughter and son-in-law, Yolanda and Humberto Sanchez all of Portales; 15 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren and 5 great-great-grandchildren. Besides his beloved wife, Celia, he was preceded in death by a son and daughter-in-law, Juan and Liz Ortega, his parents, four brothers, Carlos, Chris, Salomon, Jr. and Freddy Ortega and two sisters, Mary Apodaca and Mercedes Salas.
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