George was born on April 25, 1944, in Dawson, in northern NM. He grew up with his 11 brothers and sisters on the Diamond D Cattle Ranch.
Upon graduating from high school George moved to Morenci, AZ where he started his 39-year career with Phelps Dodge Corporation. He became an integral part of the company and worked his way up the ranks from laborer to management with positions also at Tyrone and Chino. Toward the end of his career, he shared his expertise in helping to start up new mining operations in Alaska, Canada, and Chile.
It was in Morenci where he met the love of his life, Lucy. George would pull up a stool at the counter of the company drug store where Lucy worked at the soda fountain. A beautiful relationship blossomed between the two and they soon married. Last July George and Lucy celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary. Together they raised two beautiful daughters. George was a loving grandfather, took an active role in the lives of their grandchildren, and was very proud of all their achievements.
George was a man of faith. He was devoted to God and his church. He was an active member of St. Francis Parish, and he loved his church family. Faith always led George to help others. It even opened the door to a calling for him to comfort families who were experiencing the loss of their own loved ones. He helped many Silver City families through their own grieving during his work at Terrazas Funeral Chapels.
George was an avid sports fan. He played basketball in high school and continued playing adult league softball and basketball for many years. He cheered passionately for the New York Yankees and extra-passionately for the Denver Broncos.
George loved the mountains and the outdoors. When his girls were young, he filled their summers with camping trips into the Mogollon Mountains. He and his wife often hopped into his Bronco and took drives into the Gila Forest. He enjoyed hiking, exploring, and hunting with his friends, brothers, and nephews.
George was a man of integrity and very strong values. He was never hesitant to roll up his sleeves and was a shining example of what hard work means. He had an extraordinary sense of responsibility and was always there for his family. George thrived when he was helping others. He was loved by everyone. He will be truly missed.
He is survived by his loving wife Lucy Cruz of the family home; two daughters, Lisa Schwantes and husband Mark of Durango, CO, Laura Kraus and husband Christopher of Palm Springs, CA; six grandchildren; four great grandchildren; three brothers, Art Cruz (Virginia) of Silver City; Tony Cruz (Priscilla) of Silver City; Thomas Cruz (Melinda) of Ft. Collins, CO; four sisters, Edna Roybal (Albert) of Eaton, CO; Helen Sanchez (Philemon) of Tyrone; Emma Aguirre (Michael) of Silver City; Katherine Flores of Silver City; sister in-law, Donna Cruz of Cheyenne, WY; one brother in-law, Pete Mondragon of Tyrone; numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Joe Cruz Jr. and Pat Cruz; two sisters, Rose Mondragon and Phyllis Cruz; sister in-law, Florence Cruz; and brother in-law, Fernando Flores.
Visitation will be Sunday, February 5 from 2-3pm at Terrazas Funeral Chapels with the prayer vigil/holy rosary to be recited by John Prejean to commence at 3pm. On Monday, February 6th the funeral mass will be celebrated at St. Francis Newman Center at 10am with Father Martin Okonkwo officiating. Concluding service and interment will follow at Memory Lane cemetery. Pallbearers are Dylan and David Schwantes, Kody Aguirre, Luis Cruz, Mark Schwantes, Christopher Kraus, Shiloh Mondello, Adri Mondello and Allyson Terrazas.
Arrangements are with Terrazas Funeral Chapels “Trusted care for the ones you love” ~ 575-537-0777. To send condolences, visit www.terrazasfuneralchapel.com.