Juan (Jojo) Amadeo Maestas passed away February 16, 2020 at the age of 97 years old, 3 months short of his 98th birthday. Jojo was born May 24, 1922 to Navor Maestas and Maria Juana Gallegos in Coyote and grew up in Ohkay Owingeh.
Juan was preceded in death by his parents, Navor Maestas and Maria Juana Gallegos; infant daughter, Victoria; 3 brothers; 2 sisters, Celina and Trinidad. Juan is survived by his sons, Patrick Maestas Wrigley (Theresa) of Palmdale, CA and Jose Maestas of Denver, CO; grandchildren, Bradley Wrigley (Sydney); great-grandchildren, Silas and Blythe Wrigley, Danielle Martinez (Jake), Bratley Martinez; great-great-granddaughter due soon, Addison and Kelly Wrigley all of Palmdale, CA and several nieces, nephews of Ohkay Owingeh.
Juan’s life work started at the age of 14 when he worked at a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) camp in Roswell building a dam. At age 16 Jojo joined the NM National Guard, went through basic training and 2 weeks of culinary school at Ft. Bliss, Texas. Six months later the guard found out his real age and promptly discharged him. He finally got an official discharge certificate in 1961. Then came a job in Denver at an Army Supply depot, then a job in Kansas City, KS.
Jojo came back to NM after his companions from Ohkay Owingeh got homesick and came home, Jojo had to return home also. When the Manhattan Project started in the early 1940’s Jojo moved to Los Alamos and was a lifelong resident of Los Alamos. Jojo’s first job was cooking at the Army service club, when the service club was closed, he went to work for Zia Company in the restaurant at Fuller Lodge. When that restaurant closed, he went to work at the old Los Alamos Inn. He was a cook, worked in the pantry and made salads for the noon buffet.
He retired at the age of 68 from Los Alamos Inn, in retirement he was a very familiar figure in Los Alamos. He would walk around town or sit in the bench in front of the post office visiting with his friends. Since Juan never cooked at home, after retirement his daily routine was 2 doughnuts and coffee for breakfast at 9:00 a.m. then a red chile enchilada with an egg or a grilled cheese sandwich at Viola’s Mexican restaurant at 1:00 p.m. He was such a regular customer that the staff reserved a spot at the same lunch counter for him. The place at the lunch counter still bears his name. In the evening he would join his friends, Mike Henderson and Charley at the VFW to play pool and enjoy a beer.
Jojo’s family would like to express their appreciation and thanks to the following special friends: Ronnie and Belinda Jaramillo and staff at Viola’s Restaurant for their love and support, always making sure he had good food to eat. When he started having trouble walking to Viola’s, Ronnie would drive to his apartment, take him to lunch and drive him back home. Alfred Apodaca, his neighbor visited often with him making sure he was well. When he started having trouble walking, Alfred would push him in his wheelchair to breakfast and then too Viola’s to lunch if Ronnie was not able to. If he wasn’t feeling well, he would immediately notify the Arellano’s. Mike Henderson, Jojo always referred to him as “Mike London” after the professional wrestling promoter. Mike helped him with preparing his taxes, legal and health issues until the Arellano’s started helping him and Mike’s health started to fail him. And Marty and Joe Arellano were part of the circle of friends.
The family of Juan (Jojo) Jose Amadeo Maestas has entrusted their loved ones to DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Española Valley. (505) 747-7477 – www.devargasfuneral.com