Maria (Alvarez) Briggs age 98, passed peacefully into rest at her home with her loving family at her side, on the morning of September 20, 2021. She is preceded in death by her parents, Estefana (Abalos) and Abran Alvarez; Brother; Abran Alvarez, and sister, Amalia (Pargas) Gonzales. Her beloved husband Clarence Briggs, and her grandson Benjamin Villa’.
She is survived by her devoted daughters Luana (Larry) Savedra, and Elaine (Anthony) Torres; her remaining grandchildren, Aaron (Fernanda) Savedra, Jason (Carrie)Savedra; Elijah (Lottie) Briggs and Desiree’ (Pascual) Giron, her great-grandchildren and many other nephews, nieces, cousins and friends.
A native of Socorro, Maria was born and raised in the house where she resided until the end of her life. She entered boarding school at the age of 5 where she learned English and gained her education at the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Handicapped in Alamogordo. After graduating she completed a year of postgraduate work before attending the Santa Fe Secretarial school where she earned her degree in stenography. She also completed correspondence work in short story writing, poetry and Braille shorthand. Maria immediately gained employment with the local Department of Public Welfare as a Dictaphone Operator.
She was fiercely independent and determined to live a full and prosperous life in spite of her disability. It wasn’t until later in life that she finally met the man who would sweep her off her feet. They married and moved to Vermont.
In addition to helping her husband run a Vermont Curio and Souvenir shop, the couple raised their two daughters until his death in 1965. Perhaps the most difficult time of her life was losing her husband and her mother three weeks apart. She thought at the time, “If I can handle this, I can handle anything”. And she did. She moved back to her home in Socorro where she continued raising her two young daughters.
Maria was a very loving person. She loved children and was very playful and always fun to be around. Her 2 daughters and each of her grandchildren knew that they were deeply loved.
She will always be remembered for her music. She could play just about anything and owned several musical instruments. She especially enjoyed singing and playing her piano She was always singing. Even as she did the Mundane chores of sweeping the floor and washing the dishes; she sang. She wrote each of her kids their own songs and for her two daughters, she wrote many, many entertaining and funny children’s songs. She loved composing songs and hymns. Her family will always treasure her legacy and sing her songs for many years to come and, in turn, will teach them to their children and their children’s children.
Maria was a joy to be around. She was vivacious and enthusiastic. She will also be remembered for her love of chocolate, her humor and her sharp wit. She always had her family laughing. Just being in her presence was so entertaining. Maria lived a full life with a tremendous amount of joy and laughter, and that is how she will always be remembered.
Maria also loved books and learning. She was an avid reader.
She enjoyed writing poetry and short stories. She was a great conversationalist. She kept up with current events. She could hold a conversation with anyone no matter the age or education level. She was a storyteller and family historian and would often tell stories of her family members and her youth. Maria lived in Socorro for nearly a century and witnessed many of Socorro‘s historical events. She remembers some of the first cars that came to Socorro before the roads in town were even paved and how it would set the local dogs to barking and the chickens scattering. She remembers her family’s first car. It belonged to her uncle and that year instead of having to take the train home from boarding school in Alamogordo her father and uncle came and drove her home. She loved it.
Her father ran a grocery store in part of the family home. After his death in 1938, her mother ran the Alvarez Grocery store for another 20 years.
In 1981 Mayor Tony Jaramillo honored her by declaring the week of December 28, Maria Alvarez Briggs week in Socorro. It made the front page of the Defensor Chieftain, top of the fold.
She was selected as the 1982 Pilot Club of Socorro’s, Outstanding Handicapped Professional Woman of the Year. She was also honored to be one of Socorro’s Women of the West.
Maria was optimistic and upbeat and loved to be around people that were of a similar disposition. She had a fiercely independent streak and was still spunky and spry well into her 90s. She preferred to do things on her own and if someone offered to assist her or assume in any way that she was not capable they would feel her stinger.
She was an active member of the Seventh-Day Adventist church. She served many years as a teacher in the adult Sabbath School and volunteered as the church pianist for over 50 years. Maria was a woman of great faith. She loved the Lord, was deeply committed to Him, and encouraged her children to love and trust in God as well.
She played all of the hymns from memory and if she didn’t know a song that was requested she could quickly pick it up and begin to play it by ear after listening to the just first verse. There was so much to admire about her. She was truly amazing in so many ways!
She will be laid to rest beside her mother, brother, sister and grandson in the Seventh-Day Adventist cemetery in Escondida, New Mexico.
Maria will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew and loved her. We give thanks to our Heavenly Father for her life and the opportunity to have shared it with her and being a part of it. Now we hold fast to the hope of being reunited again at the second coming of Jesus on the great and glorious resurrection morning when the dead in Christ will be raised to meet the Lord in the air according to 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18