Gomicinda Montano spent 17 years serving poor

By Ryan Lengerich

Gomicinda Montano was a nomad. The Tucumcari woman loved to travel and enjoyed being around people, family members said.

It was her affinity for travel that took her and boyfriend Telfilo “Toby” Salas to Pueblo, Colo. last weekend, said Ben Montano, her son.

Montano, 71, and Salas, 74, were killed in a two-car accident on a Pueblo highway. Salas was driving a 1996 Mercury when police said he attempted a u-turn and was struck by a 2003 GMC truck about 2:20 p.m. on Sunday.

Neither the truck’s driver — a 16-year-old male — or any of the three truck’s passengers were seriously injured, police said. Each person involved in the accident was wearing a seat belt and air bags deployed in both automobiles.

Ben Montano said he was the first family member notified about the accident and took the responsibility of notifying his six brothers and two sisters, who live throughout the Southwest. He said he doesn’t know exactly why she was in Pueblo, but believes his mother and Salas were lost when the wreck occurred.

“She decided to be a nomad, and I said, ‘Mom you can’t live on the road,’ ” Ben Montano said. “My mom loved to travel, she loved the road.”

Gomicinda Montano’s husband died in July, 1991. Ben said she had been seeing Salas for six to eight months after meeting him in his hometown of Raton.

“He was good to her,” Ben said. “It seemed like they were in love, and she seemed so happy with her life.”

Gomicinda lived and worked in Tucumcari for about 17 years before retiring last year. In 1988 she began work for Eastern Plains, CAA, a government agency that assists low-income families in seven counties. She retired last year.
Gomicinda coordinated 21 different commodity distributions and many volunteers, Agency Executive Director Dora Martinez said.

Martinez said she worked with Gomicinda for 17 years. She estimated Gomicinda distributed 3,000 units of food each month.

“She was a wonderful person,” Martinez said. “A very Christian, serious person — very funny at times, very humorous and very headstrong.”

Gomicinda will be buried with her husband in Mosquero. Ben said he and his sister Evelyn Greigo are deciding whether to hold the services in Tucumcari or her home town of Raton.

Ben Montano said his mother will be missed by many in Tucumcari: “She was so helpful with people.”