Ismael A. Ortega, of Clifton, passed away on April 25, 2020, at the age of 89. He was born Aug. 16, 1930, in Morenci, to Fortunata Andazola Ortega and Dario Ortega, Sr., with siblings Yolanda, Ida, Elida, Dario Jr., Rosie, and Miguel.
Ismael attended schools in Morenci, graduating from Morenci High School in 1950. After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Army on March 2, 1951, serving in Korea and earning the rank of Corporal. He served with the Alpha Company 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, and the 7th Infantry Division earning his Korean Service medal with 1 bronze service star, his UN Service Medal, and his Combat Infantry Badge. Ismael was honorably discharged on Dec. 1, 1952.
On July 2, 1951, Ismael married the love of his life, Frances Chavarria, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Clifton. The couple was blessed with seven children; Elia, Toby, Anthony, Paul, Mary Ann, Trish, and Peter. Ismael enjoyed “cruising” Clifton, going to Alpine, painting ceramics, dancing, visiting Mares Bluff Memorial in Clifton, and his daily calls with his lifelong pal, George “Columbus” Lopez. Most importantly, he loved his family.
He was a loving, humble, caring, and respectful man who was always putting others first. He had a great sense of humor and enjoyed giving people unusual nicknames. Ismael was a member of the American Legion Lloyd C. Hill Post 28 in Clifton, a member of the Greenlee County Historical Society, the Clifton Social Club, Knights of Columbus, and a Boy Scout Leader of Troop #35 in Morenci.
Ismael is survived by his children, Elia (Luis), Toby (Esther), Anthony (Terri), Paul (Janet), Mary Ann (Chino), Trish (Chad), and Peter (JoAnn), and his siblings, Elida Figueroa, Dario Ortega, Jr., Rosie Ruiz, and Miguel Ortega. He is also survived by 17 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, and his pets, Princess and Chili.
He is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Frances; his parents, Dario and Fortunata Ortega; his son, his sisters, his brothers, his grandson, and his great-grandson.
A visitation will be held Saturday, June 6, beginning at 8 a.m., followed by the Recitation of the Rosary, with the Memorial Mass starting at 10 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Interment will be in the Sacred Heart Cemetery following services.
Arrangements are under the direction of McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel & Gila Valley Crematory. Online condolences may be extended at www.caldwellfuneralchapel.com.