Rufus’ grandpa died on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. My father. Johnny N. Ortez, Sr.
Rufus and his humans give our deepest sympathies to our grandma (Maudeain Ortez-Vickers). Who has now survived four of her five children. Along with our Aunt (Vicki Ortez-Taylor) who has now survived her four siblings. Vicki is the last one standing.
My father was married three times. Some people might have a judgement or opinion on the matter, but for me, I believe dad improved as a person, as a husband and as a father with each marriage. Some of us need a little more time and practice to get it right, and I’m just glad dad finally got there. These improvements not only benefited his new immediate family, but the whole family. Our condolences go out to dad’s three wives: my mom (Rosa Ortez), and my two step mothers (Tracy Stalkfleet Ortez and Tana Lyn Ortez). My dad enjoyed life better with a partner, and I’m glad he had three wonderful leading ladies in his lifestory. If my math is right dad was married to mom for 16 years, Tracy 12 and Tana 14. ❤
I want to give a special thanks and appreciation to Tana and her two daughters (Amber and Mandy) for loving and caring for my father in his final years. Rufus and I got a chance to return to Texas and see where dad spent his last days, and he was surrounded by love. ❤️ 💕 💗
My deepest sympathies go out to my sister (Blossom Ortez) and brother (Thomas Ortez) who simply adored and worshiped my father. In many ways they idolized the man, and their grief is tremendous. I’m so sorry for their loss.
I could share a 100 different stories about my father that would be entertaining and insightful, but I think I’ll simply tell the three things I admired most about my dad.
Each story has a beginning and for me the story of dad started with my mom. My parents were high school sweethearts. They were so in love, that they couldn’t wait to graduate high school to marry, so they didn’t. A year later, I was born. I am the product of love. My parents wanted me and made me purposefully – from their love. I really couldn’t have asked for a better start in life.
Growing up, it was almost ridiculous how much my father loved my mom. As a child it was a truly something to witness, and although my parents faired better apart than together, I remember telling myself that if I ever found someone to love me, I’d love them back like my dad loved my mom. (You’re welcome Kirkland Tibbels). My father was an example to me of what it meant to love another thoroughly and truly.
My father was a walking paradox. He had this rough and tough exterior. He rarely smiled (especially in pictures), and always wore sunglasses (they were prescription but it only added to his intimidating menacing presence). But the moment he spoke, he’d invoked laughter and smiles all around. He’d walk into a room a stranger and often leave being everyone’s new best friend. I always admired how easy it was for dad to be liked and make new friends, it’s not the same for me. I see this trait in my baby brother (Thomas Ortez) all the time. He’s truly his father’s son.
My father was not a rich man, but he was generous. When my father owned his construction company I remembered he’d keep his crew on payroll even when there were no jobs. He may not have been the best or smartest businessman, but he just couldn’t lay people off. He knew they (and their families) were counting on him, and he literally gave his last dollars. The company eventually closed, but the love, loyalty and life-long friendship from that team was evident at the viewing and funeral.
My father showed me what true loved looked like, he proved appearances can be deceiving and as long as you have friends, you’ll never be poor.
Living in California, I didn’t physically see dad often in this final chapter of his life. And I sometimes worried he might be lonely (which in retrospect seems silly now), but I’m grateful to my cousins Brian Mitchell and Brad Mitchell, and my step brother Jesse Sheets, for being part of dad’s life. I’m glad y’all had each other. I’m sorry for your loss too.
Attending my father’s funeral on Saturday, it was standing room only. The place was packed, and the love we all had for him washed over all of us. Grief doesn’t belong to any one person, dad’s passing effected many, and as his first born son, I offer my sympathies and condolences to all who are left in the wake of the man I called dad.
My father, like me, was a philanthropic man. As a founding member of his motorcycle club, Chula Chasers, dad his brothers raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for MHMR of Tarrant County. He loved to help people, and his legacy will live on through them and their continued work.
My father, unlike me, was not a man of many words. He didn’t prattle on (like me). 🙂 Our telephone exchanges (no matter how I tried to stretch them out) were always concise and to the point. However, each call either started or finished with two questions. How’s Rufus? How’s Kirk? My father met Rufus a few different times over the years, and loved him. And dad had two small dogs of his own in his final years. And I was told one of his favorite things to do was to sit in his ugly recliner with his puppies. I guess he and I were more alike than I sometimes realized. Rufus and I got to sit in that ugly recliner, and what it lack in aesthetic it made up in comfort.
I’m so grateful to those who have already made contributions. If inclined to honor my father’s memory and to express your sympathies, please feel free to make a tax-deductible donation to the charity Rufus inspired. DOGS. Click here.
Finally, I have to give a ginormous THANKS to my mother’s side of the family. All of my aunts, uncles and cousins came out to pay their respect and to be there for our my family. It was completely unexpected by me, but so very much appreciated. Thank you. Thank you to everyone who expressed their sympathies on social media, via text and on the phone. Each of them were received.
My father died on Wednesday, and the two days that followed, I was an emotional wreck. I experienced feelings I didn’t even know I had. Dad’s funeral was yesterday (Saturday) and today (Sunday) I’m at peace. I now sincerely understand why we have funerals. I retuned to Texas to see how my father spent his final years, months, days and hours. Not really knowing what to expect, I found a man surrounded by people and love. I’m at peace knowing he lived a full life.
Rest in peace dad.
Johnny N. Ortez, Sr.
September 22, 1955 – March 27, 2019