Mr. Luis Castaneda Castro, nicknamed 'Jose Luis' and 'Louie', peacefully died Monday, February 13, 2023 at the Pathways Hospice of Northern Colorado in Fort Collins. He was 84 years old.
Luis was born in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico, the third child of Fernando and Maria Castro. He had two older sisters.
As the only boy, Luis felt compelled to work afree completing the 6th grade, to help support his family. He left home at age 12, and went to work at a fertilizer business, owned by an Aunt in another state. He was taught to drive big tandem trucks, filled with bat manure, delivering the manure to local farmers. Eventually, he took other agricultural jobs that paid better. He learned to plant, fertilize, irrigate, and harvest all kinds of crops.
At age 24 he went to join the Mexican army. He was an MP (Military Police) officer, under a commander that was in charge of arresting the soldiers that committed crimes to the civilian community. When a soldier committed a crime, Luis was sent along with a group of men, to gather evidence, take depositions, and return for a warrant. Then he'd be sent to find that soldier and arrest him. He dragged many a soldier, fighting, kicking, screaming, and begging, back to the military base to be put on trial. Luis hated crimes against women the most, those memories haunted him, causing him to have PTSD.
Luis had a common law wife in Mexico, and together they had five children. He wanted to get married, but she refused. Their first child died as a newborn infant, a baby boy. Later they had Luis Saul Castro (deceased), Luis Antonio Castro, Luis Enrique Castro, and their youngest was a baby daughter, who greatly resembled her father with fair skin and blue eyes, but hadn't been officially named / baptized yet, when she dissapeared.
Luis last saw his daughter as an infant. He went to the USA on a work Visa to do migrant work. He returned home a month later, to find his best friend, a local Chief of Police, had married his common law wife. He was shocked to find his door locks were changed, and his wife had 'gotten rid of' the baby girl at her new husband's request. Luis pounded on the door wanting to get an explanation, see his children he could hear crying, and he was promptly arrested. It is a crime to harass a married person, and his former common law wife pressed charges, so Luis ended up in jail for six months.
Luis never was able to find out where his infant daughter had gone. Family members suspected the little girl was adopted to a couple from Arizona, as they found letters and pictures of a toddler girl, sitting on a lawn with toys around her. They just couldn't find an address, and Luis couldn't go near his former home, or he'd go back to jail.
Luis returned to the US to continue doing migrant work. He was working for a sugar beet processing plant, when a coworker invited him to his home in Johnstown for a meal. He went and became smitten with his coworkers daughter, a beautiful young lady named Alicia Troncoso. She also found Luis handsome, and would smile right back at him.
Due to Alicia's very protective father, Luis and Alicia would secretly meet to talk at the grocery store or somewhere in town, assisted by members of Alicia's family. They later eloped and were married in New Mexico in 1974. They went to Mexico to live with Luis' mother.
Luis opened a blanket making factory, that produced thick Mexican blankets. His workers all made them by hand, and someone from a Texas town saw them. Luis ended up selling a large quantity of blankets to a Texas county government, and his blankets were proudly displayed on all the horses used in local parades.
Luis and Alicia then opened a small 'abarrotes' or grocery store. They also sold cooked 'barbacoa' (bbq) meat tacos. Luis was happy to sell small quantities of sugar, flour, etc. to poor families, when other stores would not. He knew what it was like to grow up poor. So he'd buy in bulk sacks and measure out food, depending on what people could afford. A nickels worth, a dimes worth, etc. Some people he just GAVE food to. This actually made his business grow and prosper.
One day Alicia, who was very pregnant with their first child, fell across the threshold to the store. She had a lot of pain, even after seeing a local doctor. Luis decided to take Alicia back to the USA to get proper obstetric care, which wasn't available there. He gave the store to his sister 'Cuca'.
Alicia gave birth to a baby boy, but he died a day later, from a problem with his lungs. They suspected her fall at their store probably caused this to happen.
Luis' sister in New Mexico suggested they should stay there. Luis then did migrant farm work. But when his boss didn't pay him, he quit and found good paying work with the railroad in New Mexico, learning how to build the tracks using mostly hand tools.
It was very hard labor. Luis loved his co-workers, many of whom were Native American. He was forced to learn some of their language, and found them to be very hardworking and friendly. Due to his job, he at times had to travel to repair railroad tracks in other parts of the country.
Luis and Alicia welcomed a daughter, Maribel, then later moved back to Colorado to be near Alicia's mother, after her husband passed away. They settled in Johnstown, and one of Luis' brothers in law, Juan Troncoso, invited Luis to come to work with him at Great Western Railroad. Luis worked there for 20 years.
Luis and Alicia enjoyed being near family. Many young members of the family would come over to their house, and Alicia would gladly babysit her nieces, nephews, and eventually her own grandchildren. They were members of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, in Johnstown. They would love to buy many toys and give them away to children, as they came out of whatever store they decided to, for Christmas. It was just a joy to see happy smiles on many children's faces.
In 1999, Alicia fell ill and she moved into Bonell Good Samaritan in Greeley. Luis would go visit her daily, even though he continued to work full time at Great Western Railroad.
Luis retired in 2004, a month before his beloved Alicia passed away. Luis was very lonely without her and he didn't feel well. He suffered black outs, where he'd find himself parked in front of Alicia's grave, not remembering how he got there. He was told by his doctor to find something to do, to get out and meet people, anything to keep him occupied.
Luis loved his garden and he still had his wife's chickens. He went to sell produce at the Greeley Farmers Market in 2005. There he carried a 50 lb sack of onions for a woman, to her car.
The next weekend that woman returned the favor by sending her daughter, Elizabeth Diaz, with a bag of homemade tamales, as a thank you gift for carrying the onions to her car.
Luis was happy to get the tamales. However, he quickly struck up a friendship with the daughter. Eventually they fell in love, and they wed in 2006.
Luis was a sweet man that was protective of his family. He enjoyed golf, hiking, going on walks, reading the paper, boxing, the Broncos, trying different foods, fixing things, yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores, visiting friends, helping others, and most of all he adored his 'babies' - which was his daughter Maribel, her husband Jason, and his five grandchildren.
Luis discovered he had kidney disease in 2006, and was told he'd need dialysis within a year. He only had 27% of both kidneys functioning. The doctor suggested a diet. Luis wasn't happy about the diet, but he started getting used to it. Within months his medications were cut in half.
It actually took ten years before Luis started dialysis. He was sent to hemodialysis on Aug., 2016. He felt awful and didn't like it. He was told about peritoneal dialysis, and he wanted to try it. His wife learned how to perform it, and in November of 2016, Luis started peritoneal dialysis at home, under his wife's care.
In October of 2019, Luis suddenly became confused. After a lot of testing, he was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease, so doctors said he couldn't stay at home. They were afraid hed do something to hurt himself or wander off. He needed 24/7supervision. He moved into Bonell Good Samaritan in Greeley in February of 2020.
It was extremely difficult for Luis to understand what was happening. He cried for his family. He cried for his wife to please do his peritoneal dialysis, but she could not, as it wasn't permitted. He had to return to hemodialysis, which was done at a local clinic.
Luis was isolated in his room at Bonell, after the pandemic started affecting the residents. As with all types of residential facilities, isolation was necessary to protect residents and staff. It was very hard on Luis.
Luis, his wife, and family, mostly had phone communication. Elizabeth would do 'Romeo and Juliet' visits from outside, standing in the parking lot, blowing kisses and doing air hugs. Funny thing is Elizabeth would wave at Luis, who was on the third floor, and residents on all three floors would wave back to her. At times Luis was brought to a large window, where family could 'hold' hands with him on the glass.
Eventually, Luis was able to hug his family again, on June 1, 2021. Little visits and picnics were scheduled to his delight. He loved his homemade mexican food! "I feel alive again!", he'd say.
In February of 2022, Luis moved to Good Samaritan Loveland Village in Loveland. Some of his favorite nurses and his doctor also worked there, so it was the perfect place for him.
After a fall in January of 2023, Luis' health started to decline even further. He ate less, slept more, had trouble walking, standing, just sitting up, plus he suffered from chest pains. On February 6, 2023, he was unable to wake up to go to his dialysis treatment. Luis was put on hospice care, and as he continued to decline, eventually he was moved to the Pathways Hospice In-care Center in Ft. Collins, where he passed peacefully with his wife at his side.
Luis is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Castro of Gill, a mother in law, Ofelia Licea of Gill, brothers in law - Jorge Rosales of Arvada, and Leroy Diaz of Gill, his daughter, Maribel Crabb, son in law, Jason Crabb, two grandsons - Jonathon and Jeremiah, three granddaughters - Miriam, Marah, and Mira - all of Milliken except Jeremiah who lives in Canada, sons Luis Antonio Castro Salcido and Luis Enrique Castro Salcido of El Paso, TX, his two sisters - Valeria Castro of New Mexico, and Maria del Refugio 'Cuca' Castro Aguirre of Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, two nephews - Guti Aguirre of Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua and Julio Aguirre of Topeka, KS, and two nieces - Francisca 'Kika' Aguirre Franco (Rafael) of Junction City, KS, and Nellie Aguirre Rodriguez (Eduardo) of Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua.
Luis is also survived by several in members of his first wife's family, including Luiz and Hortencia Troncoso and their family in Johnstown, Robert and Wanda Troncoso and their family in Johnstown, Juan (deceased) and Rosa Troncoso and their family of Johnstown, the family of Gilbert Troncoso (deceased) of Loveland, and the family of Charles and Guadalupe Troncoso Spaulding (both deceased) of Pueblo.
Luis was preceded in death by his parents, his first beloved wife - Alicia Troncoso Castro, two newborn infant sons, another son - Luis Raul Castro, brothers in law - Gilbert Troncoso, Margarito Troncoso, and Juan Troncoso. Deceased sisters in law - Esther Troncoso, Eleanor Troncoso, Antonia Troncoso, and Guadalupe Troncoso Spaulding.
A dear niece he adored and was very close to, is Marylou Troncoso of Johnstown. She was an important part of his life and without her help, he might not have been able to marry his beloved Alicia. Marylou was the protective angel of her aunt Alicia, and would distract her grandfather, so Luis and Alicia could see one another.
A good friend, Mr. Pedro 'Pete' Moreno, who was like a brother to him, recently passed in October of 2022. Mr. Moreno's passing was devastating to Luis, even with his Alzheimer's. He was upset and barely spoke a word to anyone, for several weeks. The morning after he was told, was the one and only time that he attempted to escape from the Good Samaritan building. Luckily, nurses caught up to him and took him back to his room. A Deacon at Good Sam that came by to bring Luis communion and pray with him, was Heaven sent. The Deacon's prayers for Mr. Moreno, helped Luis to heal from his overwhelming grief, and gave him closure. Luis and our family also loved Mrs. Shirley Moreno, and the entire Moreno family, who are dear friends.
Another good friend Luis loved like a brother, is Mr. Rito Gallardo, Sr. Luis and our family shared many meals, bbq's, and outings with him, along with his first beautiful wife, Aurora (deceased), and most recently with his current lovely wife Emi, and the entire Gallardo family, who are all dear friends.
A heartfelt THANK YOU from our family, to Good Samaritan Loveland Village staff. Specifically, administrators, secretaries, dieticians, nurses, physicians, social workers, cooks, servers, cleaning staff, transportation workers, janitors, chaplains and deacons who prayed with us, Ms. Martinez for bringing Luis blessed prayer cards and metals from her church - as it meant so much to Luis in his final hours, the Pastor that gave him Anointing of the Oil, Ms. Elaine who played her harp and violin for my husband - even playing her first Mexican song ever - 'Cielito Lindo' - which brought Luis to happy tears, and entertainment activities staff. There were also many volunteers distributing literature, calendars, and kitchen menus to residents, or inviting people to activities. We are very grateful for all of them, especially their loving care towards Luis.
Thank you to Pacific and Spark Transportation drivers. You were always gentle with Luis, and got him safely to his medical appointments.
Thank you to Fresenius Home Therapies, Dr. Mark Teruel, MD, Cathy Wells, RN - an awesome instructor in peritoneal dialysis and all the staff there, Fresenius Medical Care North Greeley Hemodialysis in Greeley, Dr. Merritt, Sara Janik, RN and all her staff, Fresenius Dialysis Clinic in Loveland, Dr. Sara Burgardt, MD, Pam Holler, NP, Mike Janik, RN, Megan Teigan, RN, and all the awesome staff there. Overall, the dialysis treatments gave Luis six more years of life, that he wouldn't have otherwise had.
A prayer service is scheduled for 2 PM, Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at Mark's Funeral and Cremation, 9293 Eastman Park Drive, Windsor, CO 80550.
After this service, Luis will be cremated as that was his final wish. Afree his cremation, a second service yet to be scheduled, will be forthcoming at the chapel at Good Samaritan Loveland Village, primarily for his caregivers and other residents there that knew him, although anyone may attend as long as they wear a mask to protect residents and staff. Luis stated recently "...we all live together here, so its like we're all one big family..."
Interment and graveside mass will be June 21, 2023, at the Johnstown Cemetery, 23101 Weld County Road 13, Johnstown, CO. Luis will fulfill his promise to his first beloved wife, Alicia, and be laid to rest right next to her. Time of day is yet to be determined, depending on the Pastor's schedule, etc.
Cards can be mailed to The Castro Family, PO Box 33, Gill, CO 80624-0033. To honor Luis' memory of helping others and caring for others, please go visit a loved one that doesn't get out much, give a neighbor a hand, or do something nice for your family - anything that honors your love for Jesus Christ.