Virginia Elizabeth Gordon Bradshaw died peacefully surrounded by family in her home in Arrey, New Mexico on January 17, 2020 at the age of 94. She was born on August 17, 1925, in Arrey, New Mexico, near Percha Creek, to John and Leona Gordon.
Elizabeth is survived by her daughter, Karen Nunn, and husband, Finley, of Salida, Colorado; a son, Dale Bradshaw, and wife, Sherie, of Ash Grove, Missouri; daughter, Gale Bills, and husband, Mike, of Roswell, New Mexico; daughter, Mary Wilton, and husband, Ike, of Hillsboro, New Mexico; grandchildren: Pryor Nunn, Dale Nunn, Leslie Messick and husband, Saul, John Bradshaw and wife, Claudia, Jacob Bradshaw, Jessa Bradshaw, Randi Bills, Hannah Pritchett and husband Jeremy; and seven great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her sisters: Helen (Dogie) Chavez and Dorothy (Baby) Nations.
Elizabeth is preceded in death by her husband, Phillip Bradshaw; daughter, Janet Griffith; granddaughter, Jenifer Bills; grandson, Cooper Griffith; parents, John and Leona Gordon; brother, Dick Gordon; and sister, Faye Goff.
In the early years, Elizabeth lived on the family homestead at Granite, in the Caballo Mountains of New Mexico. Times were challenging during the depression years, and she worked alongside her father, brother, sisters, and cousins to build the family ranch. She and her brother rode horses across the Rio Grande to attend school in a schoolhouse that has long since been displaced by Caballo Lake.
When Caballo Lake was impounded in the late 1930s, the family moved to Animas Creek, but continued to run cattle in the Caballo Mountains. Elizabeth and her siblings often rode across Caballo Dam in the morning to work the cattle, and returned to Animas Creek at evening by crossing the Rio Grande, sometimes as far north as Palomas Creek.
During World War II, Elizabeth began her career as an educator. Due to the shortage of teachers, she received an emergency teaching certificate, and through the following years taught in Derry, Caballo, Winston, Engle, Hurley, Bayardand Hatch, New Mexico.
While teaching in Engle, she met a railroad operator, Phillip Bradshaw, at a school basketball game, and they later married on January 21, 1954.
Elizabeth ultimately received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education in May1972, from Western New Mexico University in Silver City, NM.
Elizabeth loved southwest history and was a voracious reader.She was also a compassionate and dedicated mother and educator. She lovingly raised her five children and nurtured her 10 grandchildren. She taught literally hundreds of students through the years, in some cases, educating students from multiple generations in the same family, and retired from teaching in 1987. She was always willing to take on strays, both two-and four-legged.
One young man recently said it best.‘Elizabeth was a very special woman who had a lot of influence on many, many lives, from school kids to runaways. She was so good to me, it is hard to express. I will always love her and have her in my heart. She made me a better person.’
A Graveside Service will be held on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. at the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Hatch, NM, with Finley Nunn officiating.
Arrangements are by Kirikos Family FuneralHome, Inc., 303 N. CedarSt., Truth or Consequences, NM 87901, 575-894-2574. For online memorialmessages please visitwww.kirikosfamilyfuneralhome.com.