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Catalina T "Katie" Torres Baca
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Birth: Mar. 26, 1914
Torrance County
New Mexico, USA
Death: Oct. 12, 2013

Catalina T. Baca, age 99, of Socorro, NM, known to her many friends and family as "Kate" or "Katie", passed away on Saturday, October 12, 2013. Catalina was born in Mesteņo, Torrance County, NM, about six miles north of Mountainair, to sheep ranchers Francisco Antonio Torres and Maria Eloisa Sanchez on March 26, 1914. Before Catalina was born, her parents had ranched around White Oaks in Lincoln County where some of her older sisters and brothers were born. By 1918 the family was living in Willard, NM where more of Catalina's sisters were born. Catalina's father had a large house built in Willard with all the most modern amenities. Her father was the owner of some of the first automobiles in Torrance, Lincoln and Socorro counties. One of her earliest memories was of the Spanish Influenza of 1918-1919 when her family went about with their mouths and noses covered with camphor-soaked gauze. By the time she was ten years old, Catalina had saved up enough money to buy a Brownie camera and she began documenting her family in photographs. Catalina appears in few of the photographs because she was usually behind the camera taking the pictures. Catalina kept up her photography hobby for over sixty years. By 1924 the extended family had moved to a new sheep ranch they called Torres Ranch in Socorro County, about thirty miles northeast of Socorro near a place called Rayo. The family also maintained a home in Mountainair so that the children could attend school until they could have their own school at the ranch. A school was finally opened at Torres Ranch and this is where all the grandchildren attended along with area homesteaders' children. Catalina was always interested in celestial bodies and dreamed of studying astronomy. This did not happen because her parents needed her help at the ranch. At the ranch Catalina and her sisters rolled out stacks of tortillas until their hands ached to feed the large family and the hungry ranch hands. In the early 1930s, Catalina met and fell in love with Mr. Adrian Baca who had been assigned by the county superintendent of schools to teach at the Torres Ranch School. Mr. Baca was from Luis Lopez, a farming community south of Socorro. In December of 1934, Catalina and Adrian married at San Miguel Mission in Socorro. Soon thereafter, they purchased property on School of Mines Road and built one of the first homes there and where she continued to live for 78 years. After her husband left to serve as a military police officer in England and France during WWII, Catalina and her sister Clara left Socorro by train to travel to San Francisco, CA to do their part in the war effort. Catalina was the inspector at the Bean Factory located on a pier where they sewed together large bags and filled them with foodstuffs to ship overseas to the men in action. Catalina vividly remembered the excitement of living in San Francisco during the war, visiting and praying at various churches, going to the beach, and attending concerts. Catalina saw Frank Sinatra in concert and would say wistfully that she "left her heart in San Francisco." After the war ended, Catalina returned to Socorro and waited for her husband who returned from France two months after the war ended. The war had taken a personal toll as Adrian's brother, Ignacio had died in the Philippines in the Bataan Death March. Mr. Baca continued his teaching career in rural Socorro County schools and Catalina went to work for George and Lori Baca at Georgie's on the Plaza in Socorro. By 1948 Adrian and Catalina had saved enough money to build some apartment units on School of Mines Road which helped supplement their income. They also owned land and farmed in Luis Lopez. In 1956 Catalina and Adrian adopted Paul Thomas who was Catalina's great-nephew. Paul brought great joy to Catalina and Adrian. Catalina lost her husband Adrian to cancer in 1970 and son, Paul Thomas passed away in 2009. Catalina was gifted with a phenomenal memory, easily recalling dates and vividly describing past events. Catalina was a prayerful and full of faith woman. Catalina would say that sometimes she would get frustrated and mad at God because she could not always understand His ways, but in the end, her hope, her faith, and her love never wavered. She went to bed every evening clutching her prayer beads because that was the way her mother taught her. Catalina prayed for everyone and especially "for health and peace on Earth, nothing more." Catalina was never alone, she said, because she spent a lot of time "hablando con Dios," conversing with God. Dios la tenga. Catalina is survived by her sister, Clara Torres of Pacific Grove, CA, daughter-in-law, Mary Baca and many generations of nephews and nieces and many dear friends. Catalina was immensely grateful to her great-nephew, Francisco Sisneros and his wife, Inez for assisting her in the last few years of her life and to nephew, Florencio Saavedra and his wife, Juanita. Thank you to all the caring staff at the Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Socorro where Catalina resided in the last year of her life. A Rosary will be recited on Friday, October 18, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. at the San Miguel Catholic Church, 403 El Camino Real, Socorro with Mass of the Resurrection to be celebrated at 9:00 a.m. Celebrant is Father Andrew Pavlak. Burial will be in the Luis Lopez Cemetery. 
Family links: 
  Adrian Baca (1906 - 1970)*
*Calculated relationship
Luis Lopez Cemetery
Luis Lopez
Socorro County
New Mexico, USA
Created by: P Barela
Record added: Oct 14, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 118680565
Catalina T Katie <i>Torres</i> Baca
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Added by: Ross, NM
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 Added: Oct. 20, 2013

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