Bernice M. Blevins, age 84, beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother was called to her eternal resting place on Friday, November 22, 2019, in Albuquerque, NM with her daughter Debbie and grandson Alejandro by her side.
She entered this world in 1934 on a snowy Christmas Day in Antonito, CO, born to Candido Martinez and Manuelita Medina-Martinez and was given the name Maria Bernardita Natividad Martinez. She was forever known as a Christmas baby, and she would tell stories of her mother waking her up before anyone else on Christmas Day to show her birthday cake with vanilla frosting and her favorite Jell-O setting up in a bowl outside in the snow. She was also her father's pride and joy, and he would do anything for her.
Bernice spent her youth in Antonito, CO until she and her family later moved to Leadville, CO where she attended St. Mary's Catholic School. With honor, she helped raise some of her siblings after the passing of her mother at a young age.
Bernice, or Bernie as she is affectionately known, was a long-time resident of Leadville, CO where she lived for nearly 70 years and had her own family with her first husband and the father to her children, Mercedinio Cisneros Sr. She spent much of her adult life raising her children and working as a cook in restaurants and in the hospitality industry in Leadville, Copper Mountain and Frisco. In the fifties and sixties, Bernice and Mercedinio built a family and a life in Leadville until their separation. Bernice had a brief second marriage to Jim Blevins in the mid-seventies, and she later took care of her long-time partner Tandy Dunn, whom she loved dearly, until his passing in the eighties.
She was an amazing cook, and everyone looked forward to her huge meals with dishes like tamales, enchiladas, homemade bread, stuffing, empanadas, and desserts especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas. She always cooked for an army no matter if she was feeding one grandchild, who just ate and was not hungry, or for her whole family. These skills came naturally to her after taking care of a large family and is something that was passed down to her daughter. Bernice also had simple pleasures and if you knew her then you also knew she had a fondness for chocolate and Pepsi.
Bernice was also known for her beauty, ample auburn hair and youthful appearance, and she loved to dress up for a night on the town with her red lipstick and scent of White Diamonds perfume. Even more than her beauty she is known for having a wonderful sense of humor with her jokes, stories, and you can say tall tales to guide her loved ones into not doing something she didn't want them to do. Her family loved her exaggerations and her signature "mm-mmm" sound with pursed lips.
Bernice loved being around her family and never wanted them to leave and would spend hours laughing and talking with her sisters. She was nurturing and wanted to take care of her family in any way she could and has been there for countless family members in their time of need. She was strong willed and had an abundance of physical strength to carry her through many hardships. She fiercely protected those that she loved and cared for and would never, ever allow harm to come their way. Bernice's story has a common thread with her as a caretaker and she was always mothering by wanting to take care of somebody or something and rarely wanted to be taken care of. Her love was unconditional.
Later in life, Bernice's mind and body started to fail her and she moved to Albuquerque, NM where her daughter cared for her for more than a year giving her dignity, praise and comfort through her final days. Bernice was a fighter not only for her family, but she fought to stay on this earth for as long as possible.
Bernice had a deep faith in God and was a member of Annunciation Catholic Church in Leadville, CO for decades and she was given the gift of Last Rites through St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church in Albuquerque, NM.
Just as Bernice entered this world, she left with snowflakes in the air guiding her to her heavenly home.
She is survived by her only daughter, Debbie Sanchez of Albuquerque, NM; son, Donald Cisneros (Barbara) of Leadville, CO; son, Glen Cisneros of Leadville, CO; son, Mercedinio Cisneros Jr. of Questa, NM; and son, Dale Cisneros (Liz) of Alamosa, CO.
She is further survived by nine grandchildren, Hope Gonzales (Rick), Manuel Sanchez (Jennifer), Carmen Romero, Donna Cisneros (Levi), Brigitte Cisneros, Alejandro Sanchez, Roman Cisneros, Brandy Cisneros (John), and Carlos Cisneros Sr. (Olaya); fourteen great-grandchildren, Destiny Gonzales (Jeffrey Jr.), Audrena Cisneros, Anthony Cisneros, Faith Gonzales, Isaiah Romero, Iziah Gonzales, Julian Salazar, Mike Salazar, Jasmine Romero, Ylexianna Gonzales, Elliana Terry, Jessica Cisneros, Jayvian Cisneros, and Carlos Cisneros Jr.; and one great-great-grandson, Jeffrey Chavez III.
She is also survived by her sister, Florence Archuleta of Denver CO; sister, Angelica Camacho (Ediberto) of San Juan, Puerto Rico; brother, Eddie Blea of Denver, CO; extended family members, Vicky Velasquez, Linda Alires (Larry), Lucille LaCome (Benny), Toni Jones; and many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Candido and Manuelita Martinez; step-father, Felipe Blea; step-mother, Adelaida "Dela" Moore; first husband, Mercedinio Cisneros Sr.; second husband, Jim Blevins; siblings, Filiberto Martinez, Elizar Martinez, Donald Martinez, Ruth Tenorio-Trevizo, Phillip Blea, Billy Blea, Lilly Martinez, David Blea, Manuel Pacheco; dear Aunt Cornelia Blea; and extended family members, Eleanor Sandoval and Matthew Blea.
Services for Bernice Blevins will be in Leadville, CO and are to be arranged at a future date.
It was an honor to help my mother Debbie care for my Grandma Bernice and she will be deeply missed. On behalf of the family of Bernice we thank those that have offered their condolences, prayers, and kind words.
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