Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Ortiz de Hill

Honored June, 2011

Adelina Ortiz de Hill

Adelina’s rich family history, personal accomplishments, and passionate teachings from a broad range of knowledge are great gifts to the Santa Fe community. Raised in the Barrio de Analco on East De Vargas Street, she became a wife, mother of six children, a social activist, a college professor, artist, author, and social servant dedicated to uplifting those less fortunate.

Adelina’s mother Margaret Delgado Ortiz was a charter member of Sociedad Folklorica and co-founded The Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Fe. Her father Frank V. Ortiz Sr. was a well-known leader in the Democratic party and the community. Both parents held public office in Santa Fe.

As a teenager during WWII, Adelina joined the American Women’s Volunteer Services and the Red Cross to help out. Adelina was one of Santa Fe’s Rodeo Queens and a Santa Fe Fiesta Princess. She married after college studies in social work. As the couple moved to different parts of the state, Adelina raised their children, involved herself in church work, local and state politics, and completed her college degree. She earned her graduate degree in Social Policy and Administration, specializing in gerontology, at the University of Michigan.  She became Director of Medical Social Services at two California hospitals and with Visiting Nurse Service there.

When Adelina moved back to Santa Fe in 1989, she became the Medical Social Services Director at St. Vincent’s Hospital. She has been a key figure in public health services publications for the elderly, in the NM Comprehensive Health Planning Council, and in representing the needs of Spanish-speaking elderly to Congress. She helped start the first hospice center in Santa Fe. Adelina’s work with children has included leadership with the Santa Fe Head Start Program and The Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Fe.

Devoted to her family, Adelina cared for her parents in their later years. She renovated the family cabin in Pacheco Canyon. She has exhibited her paintings in museums and galleries. Most recently, she co-founded Voces de Santa Fe, to preserve the history and stories of northern New Mexicans.

What is needed now in the world, according to Adelina: “We have to look at the big picture and care about things that are larger than ourselves.” Adelina continues to teach and touch the lives of those who are most fortunate to know her.

Story by Barbara Harrelson

Photo © 2011 by Genevieve Russell