Know Your Neighbor: Ruby Ann Alaniz

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Everyone grieves the death of a loved one in different ways.

Some people cry. Some keep the sadness deep within and others display anger. It depends upon the survivor.

Ruby Ann Alaniz has seen her share of grieving loves ones: her husband, brother, nephew, brother-in-law and a multitude of family members.

"At times like this, I turn to my faith for help in dealing with my loss," said Alaniz during an interview at US Bank where she works.

One of Alaniz's profound losses occurred Feb. 3, 2013, when Joseph, her husband of 21 years passed away. "We were a couple for 28 years, married after a seven-year courtship, and we were very compatible. "He died at 11a.m. on Super Bowl Sunday," said Alaniz.

Another huge blow occurred with her brother Ruben Albert Abeyta's death April 15, 2015. Ruby also lists her father-in-law Roy's death as well as those of brother-in-law Anthony Mondragon and nephew Tomás Mondragon, plus many other friends and family members described as those "out of sight but within our hearts."

Alaniz credits her family, co-workers and the greater Taos community with much help and support during her losses. "In a way, Joseph helped prepare me for widowhood. He taught me how to do many things that he thought I needed to know, and I thank him for that. Our mutual friends also help," said Alaniz.

Because family is important to Alaniz, she enjoys a close bond with relatives. Alaniz spends much time with her mother, Evelyn C. Abeyta (Tomás Chavez) of Taos. Her father, Ruben A. Abeyta (Nanette) resides in Santa Fe. Three siblings complete her birth family: Francina Cordova, Albuquerque; Daniel T. Abeyta, Taos; and the late Ruben Albert Abeyta. Her extended marital family includes Joseph's parents, the late Roy Sr. and Stella Alaniz. Joseph's four siblings, Ruby's in-laws, are Roy (Bertina) Alaniz, Lillian Alaniz, Andrew (Patsy) Alaniz and Debra (the late Anthony) Mondragon.

Keeping busy is one of Alaniz' main ways of coping with grief. For a second year, she served as mayordoma (caretaker) at St. Francis Church in Ranchos de Taos. She also belongs to the Guadalupanas organization, a charitable service group in the Roman Catholic church.

In addition, Alaniz works part-time at Allsup's and spends much time with family, visiting niece Kalina Cordova in Albuquerque as she prepares to complete nurse practitioner studies in October and niece Ashley Abeyta, who attends nursing school.

Younger generations of her family include eight of her own nieces and nephews, plus seven more on the Alaniz side of the family. Great nieces and nephews include four (plus one expected child) from the Alaniz family and five on her side of the family.

She recalled that during his lifetime, her husband Joseph met six of the great nieces and nephews. Alaniz also enjoys the affiliation with nine godchildren.

Alaniz joined the workforce during her senior year of high school. Up until that point, she had participated in seventh-grade track and in basketball her junior year. "When I was beginning my senior year, I had to decide: do I want sports, or do I want a job? I picked a job. My first positions between 1983 to 1989 were as follows McDonald's; a cashier at Winn's and Allsup's (then known as 7-11)."

Alaniz also attended Northern New Mexico Community College where she studied basic subjects.

Another past position that Alaniz enjoyed was at the Kit Carson Drive-In, where Alaniz received mentorship from the late educators, Jake Sr. and Vera Mossman and retired educator Eddie Rimbert. She learned to ring up orders and make change.

During the interview, Alaniz also mentioned her former mentor, the late Gilbert Archuleta Sr., with whom she studied for two classes. "Mr. Archuleta followed me through my career. He'd ask me, are you using what you learned in class? He referred of course to typing, filing and a 10-key calculator. He was also my mom's teacher. I feel I received a good education from a number of teachers here in Taos," Alaniz said.

In 1989, Ruby Alaniz joined the banking industry. She worked for Mike Martinez at Western Bank.

"Customer service has always been my thing. Joe used to tease me and say that I always talked to everyone. I like people and I like being a teller. I think that's why banking is right for me," said Alaniz.

She worked at Western Bank for 13 years, and then it merged with Peoples Bank. Fifteen years ago, Ruby Ann Alaniz accepted a position at US Bank and has worked there through transitioning from First State Bank to First Community Bank and more recently to US Bank. "My position is a universal banker, and my various duties are opening accounts, resolving issues and teller functions," she said.

Alaniz was not always active and involved following her husband's death.

"When Joe died, I became a hermit. I went to work, the store, church and to visit my family," she said. "Yet, I was seeing many people in and out of the bank. I decided I had to spend less time alone. It's nice to see lots of people. I decided to get a part-time second job to fill in the hours. I've worked at Allsup's since August, but there have been a few changes since I left the store years ago. I'm willing to learn, though, and I'm enjoying myself."

Alaniz likes to clean, spend time with her mom, keep her faith, go to lunch, shop and sometimes visit the casino. In the past she played in the Taos Women's Softball League but quit when her husband died. She's considering exploring a return to the sport.

Her television-watching tastes include the "oldies" of her growing-up years: "Bonanza," "Heaven Can Wait" (with Michael Landon), "Golden Girls" and "M.A.S.H." On a more contemporary note, Alaniz also enjoys "The Price is Right" and "The Notebook."

Her food tastes range from seafood with salads and her favorite red chile. "I like it because we can use it for many things: frito pies, enchiladas etc." I don't cook as much now, though," said Alaniz.

When asked the secret of her longevity in the banking world and how she relates to people, Alaniz said, "I've learned to always be humble. We should show love, kindness and respect to others. We're all God's children. If you are experiencing grief, allow others to help you. My family, co-workers and many others helped me deal with the death of my loved ones," Alaniz said. "They are my second family."

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