Sun. Aug 14th, 2022

OBITUARIES FROM THE WEEK OF 10/02/2020-10/07/2020

Steven Copeland

Steven Greg Copeland, 52, passed away on Friday, October 2, 2020 from natural causes, doing what he loved most, guiding an elk hunt in Northeast New Mexico.

Steve was born on April 26, 1968 in Albuquerque, NM and raised on a ranch in Claunch, NM by his parents Ernest and Brenda Copeland.  He attended school in Corona, NM graduating in 1986 excelling in athletics, 4-H, and FFA showing Hereford cattle, welding, and other projects.  He went on to obtain his Welder’s Certification from NMSU in Las Cruces, NM.  He also earned and kept his Commercial Driver’s License from the age of 19 to present and he loved trucking down the road.

Steve had a strong work ethic.  His career spanned working as a ranch manager, welding instructor, heavy equipment operator with various construction companies including serving as a crew foreman for Plateau, however his true passion was being a Professional Hunting Guide.  Steve started guiding for Les Ezell on an antelope hunt when he was about 14 years old and has guided all his life.  Steve shared that love of hunting with his pride and joy, best friend, and his only son, Tyler.  He often took Ty on hunting trips all over the southwest in search of big and small game.  He was working this particular hunt with Les and had just informed Ty of his progress a few minutes before the Lord called him home.

Steve had an easy-going personality with a keen sense of humor who enjoyed a spirited political discussion and keeping up with friends.  Steve moved to the Copeland Ranch near Santa Rosa permanently in 2011 and attended the Methodist Church.   He was a proud member of the NRA and enjoyed his hobbies of hunting, ranching, checking the weather apps, and cooking for his family and friends.

Steve will be greatly missed by his family:  Son, Tyler of Colorado Springs, Colorado; his parents, Ernest and Brenda Copeland of Santa Rosa; his sister, Sandra Copeland of Santa Rosa; the mother of his son, Shawndra Jones of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and a host of aunts, uncles and cousins as well as friends too numerous to count from various states and places.  He never met a stranger and everyone loved him like a brother.

Services will be planned for the Spring of 2021.  We ask that you keep the Copeland family in your prayers.  You may leave a tribute, a favorite memory, or sign the online guestbook.

In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Steve Copeland Memorial Scholarship fund to encourage youth in agricultural pursuits.  Please mail to the First United Methodist Church of Santa Rosa, PO Box 303, Santa Rosa, NM 88435.

All services are under the direction of Chavez Funeral home, 923 S. Third St., Santa Rosa, NM 88435.  575-472-3369.  To place an online tribute please visit

Celina Lujan

Celina Ortiz Lujan  age 87, passed away on October 6, 2020 at the home of her daughter Karla Lujan Prather in Roswell, New Mexico after a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s. Celina was born February 28, 1933 in Trementina, NM on the Ortiz family ranch to Jose and May Ortiz.  She was delivered by her midwife maternal grandmother, the first of eleven children.  She lived on the family ranch throughout her childhood attending a one room schoolhouse there.  She fondly remembered the two-day trek to Las Vegas in a wagon for supplies and groceries and camping out in a cave along their journey.  She graduated from high school at El Rito Boarding school in El Rito, New Mexico.

She was always a trailblazer in her life attending New Mexico Highlands University as an education major at a time when very few women attended college.  She then moved to Albuquerque and bought a house on her own.  She did not know how to drive, much less own a car, so she walked to her work as a secretary for a credit bureau.  She also walked to the Post Office which is where she met the dashing young Leonard Lujan.  Their first date was to a rodeo – which would prove a big part of their future lives!  When he asked her if she liked to dance, she quickly replied, “Does a cat have a tail!”

They married in July of 1959 and started a family which grew to three girls and two boys.  After the birth of their second child they left the ‘city life’ behind and moved back to Trementina and their family ranching roots.  For the birth of their third child, Celina had to stay with an aunt in Tucumcari because of the severe winter weather that year.

The family later moved to the Tucumcari area and worked for the Jimmy Randall Ranch.  Husband Leonard always joked that they then moved to Santa Rosa to the John Hicks Ranch because Celina had seen a newspaper advertisement with eggs cheaper in that New Mexico city!  In 1970, they moved to the Lazy 6 Cowden Ranch where they lived and worked for twenty-six years.  Located about forty miles from Santa Rosa, Celina drove her pick-up twenty miles each way (often through rain and snow storms!) taking her five kids to catch the school bus.  With the kids grown and gone Celina and Leonard retired from ranching in 1996 and moved to Elida, New Mexico to be close to family and friends.  Leonard passed away there in 2011.

Celina loved getting up every morning at 5:00 a.m. and fixing a full breakfast of bacon or sausage, hash browns and eggs with a side of hot cereal.  Her passion was making baby quilts for every child born to family and friends which were cherished by them.  She always looked forward each year to the Marla Lujan Memorial Roping held in memory of her second daughter who passed in a roping accident.

Celina is survived by daughter Karla Prather (Jeff) of Roswell, New Mexico, and grandsons Jeremiah Fortenberry (Sarah) of Austin, Texas, and Colt Prather (Jessie) of Muleshoe, Texas; son Lloyd Lujan of Dalhart, Texas, grandson Chance LaRoe (Kenzie) of Stratford, Texas, and Cress Lujan of Logan, New Mexico; son Dogie Lujan (Debbie) of Templeton, California, and granddaughter NeeLee Lujan; and daughter Darla Lujan and grandchildren Jessica Norman (Jerrett) of Portales, New Mexico, Montana Levacy (Frank) also of Portales, New Mexico, and Colby Lee (Danielle) of Dora, New Mexico.  In addition, Celina and Leonard were blessed by thirteen great grandchildren.  Preceding her in death were her beloved husband Leonard and precious daughter Marla.

Funeral Mass was held at 10:00 am Saturday, October 10, 2020 at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Tucumcari, NM with Father John Paul Afuecheta officiating. Burial followed at El Canyon Cemetery in Trementina, NM. Pallbearers were Colby Lee, Herman Martinez, Colt Prather, Joe Dan Ortiz, Archie James Romero and Troy Witt.  Honorary Pallbearers included Jeremiah Fortenberry, Chance LaRoe, Frank Levacy, Cress Lujan, Jerrett Norman and Jeff Owen.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic Social Distancing guidelines, services were limited to the immediate family. We ask that you keep Celina and her family in your prayers. You may leave a tribute, a favorite memory, or sign the online guestbook at

Arrangements are under the direction of Chavez Funeral Home, 830 N. Fifth Street, Fort Sumner, New Mexico. (575) 355-2311.


Helen Shaw

Helen Marie (McMillan) Shaw, 89 of Fort Sumner, NM passed away Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at Farwell Care and Rehab Center following an illness. She was born September 29, 1931 in Agudo, NM  the fourth child of John H. and Herma I. McMillan. As she stated in the “Living Water” book years ago, they grew up along the railroad tracks where each child laid claim to their favorite locomotive. One of the fondest memories of the children was the roar of the huge steam locomotives as they rattled  and vibrated the windows and floors of their home. Her husband Carroll would later testify to this when he spent his first night in the McMillan home.

In 1937 Helen started school in Fort Sumner. All but about 2 1/2 years were spent in this school. In 1945 the family moved from Agudo to Yeso. About this time a dear little sister was born, making the siblings five. Yeso was home during all of Helen’s high school years. In high school she loved being a cheerleader for 3 years, cheering for the Foxes basketball and football teams. She graduated from high school in 1949.

In January, 1950, Helen enrolled at NM State University and there met Carroll Shaw. They hit it off big time. During their dating life at NM State they especially enjoyed dancing together. They won a dance contest while attending school there and their love of dancing continued on through the years. When you watched them dance it seemed like they were just made for each other and made to dance together.

Helen was married to Carroll on February 25, 1951 in the Yeso Baptist Church. Their first move after marrying was to Bibo, NM where Carroll taught veterans at nearby Seboyeta. In July 1951 Helen and Carroll moved to Elida where he taught Vocational Agriculture. Helen drove a school bus and worked in a mercantile store at Kenna, NM. While living in Elida their son Roy Tyson was born. In the summer of 1956 they moved to Fort Sumner where Carroll taught 6th grade until he became the elementary principal in 1962. A daughter, Tauna Renee, was born in Fort Sumner in 1957.

Helen began work as a secretary in the De Baca County Extension Office in 1966. She loved her job and often commented what wonderful people she got to work with. She loved working with the 4-H kids as they worked on their projects and working the livestock sale at the county fair. Helen retired from the extension service in 1991 when Carroll was battling cancer. He passed away the same year. Helen adored Carroll and spoke so lovingly of him, always.

Helen served on the De Baca General Hospital Board and as Secretary for the De Baca County Farm Bureau. She loved her church work, playing in evening couples’ bridge club, and in a daytime bridge club as well. She loved to sew, read, and work in her yard. Helen loved mornings and sunshine and warmth. Along with music. She dearly loved her family and friends. Helen loved and kept her faith in the Lord Jesus. She was a lady.

Helen’s kids and grandchildren have shared some favorite memoires. She was so loving, yet also firm. They knew she meant business because she loved them.

Ty and Tauna recall her having their daddy direct them both to lay down across the picnic table in the back yard for administration of his belt strap. Their offense was having taken a nice, deep, fully immersed dip in their big neighborhood mud hole which had filled to the top with irrigation water. They were in their brand new white shirts. The hole was the neighborhood kids digging project- the Shaw, McMillan, and Cortese kids. Helen watched from the window as her children received their discipline.

Helen’s granddaughters Niki, Erin, Amy and Emily have shared many precious memories. Emily loved baking pies with her and her grandma teaching her how to crimp the crusts. Amy remembers trips to Agudo and her grandma sharing stories of growing up out there. She remembers coloring, doing puzzles, playing dominoes, waking up to bran muffins and pancakes, her ice cream and coffee in late evening. Niki remembers walking the track after supper during summer evenings, playing skip-bo, doing puzzles and her grandma teaching her how to sew. She remembers her grandma always having lozenges for them during church. And the time she got a spanking before church for playing in the mud in her church clothes. Erin remembers the smell of beans cooking and rolls rising and waking up to the peppered bacon with her pancakes and orange juice- and her ice cream and coffee in the late evening. All remember the wonderful smells as she cooked. All remember her telephone on the wall by the stove with its long cord. All remember their grandma saying she was going to “steal some sugar” when they were little. All (including nieces and great nieces) remember the games and music and laughter and the toy closet and dress up clothes. All remember a dear Godly woman who loved them .

Helen is preceded in death by her parents, her husband Carroll W. Shaw on July 29, 1991, a sister Frankie Lee Martin, two brothers Henry Melvin McMillan and John W. McMillan, and a great granddaughter, Laura Reagan Johnson.

Survivors include  a son Ty Shaw and his wife Julie of Clovis, daughter Tauna Rogers of Fort Sumner, one sister Carol Ann Senowech of Woodstock, GA, four granddaughters Niki Black and husband Monty of Clovis, Erin Switzer and husband Lance of Clovis, Amy Owen and husband Taylor of Tijeras, NM, Emily Johnson and husband Jacob of Topeka, KS, along with 11 great-grandchildren.

Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Social Distancing guidelines, services are limited to the family. We ask that you keep Helen and her family in your prayers. You may leave a tribute, a favorite memory, or sign the online guestbook at

Funeral services were held at 2:00 pm Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at the Fort Sumner Church of Christ with Pastor Silas Shotwell officiating. Burial followed in the Shaw/McMillan family plot in Fort Sumner Cemetery. Pallbearers included Ty Shaw, Terry McMillan, Lance Switzer, Monty Black, Taylor Owen, Knox Cortese and Jacob Johnson. Honorary bearers included Winona McMillan, Charlene Franks, Dolores Drake, Delia Chavez, Lou Ann Cortese, Jake Lucero, Tony Lucero and all her family and friends.

Contributions in memory of Helen Shaw may be sent to the Christian Children’s Home, 1356 NM-236, Portales, New Mexico 88130 or the Fort Sumner Cemetery Association P.O. Box 180, Fort Sumner, New Mexico 88119.

Arrangements are under the direction of Chavez Funeral Home, 830 N. Fifth Street, Fort Sumner, New Mexico. (575) 355-2311.