Maria Del Refugio Sandoval Mendez, 70, of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, passed away Saturday, December 9, 2023, at her home surrounded by her loving family. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m., December 18, 2023, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Scottsbluff with Fr. Joseph Thambi as celebrant. The Rosary will be recited beginning at 10:30 a.m. and viewing will be held one hour prior to service time at the church. Cremation will follow in accordance with Maria’s wishes. Memorials may be made in care of the family and will be designated at a later date. The service will be live-streamed and recorded to Maria’s obituary page viewable at www.reverencefuneralparlor.com.
Maria was born September 14, 1953, in Tabasco, Zacatecas, Mexico to Jose and Esthela (Mendez) Sandoval. She grew up in Mexico with her ten siblings. Her creative nature drew her to arts and music at a young age. Maria’s beauty paired with her vibrant personality and passion for dancing landed her acting roles in various Mexican movies during her early adult years. Maria attended school in Mexico until she became a proud primary teacher. She was a young adult when she moved to the United States where she enrolled at Ohio State University and achieved a master’s degree in arts.
Maria became a mother when she welcomed her first son, Rafael, and later his brother, Carlos, during her first marriage. She married a second time and was blessed with daughters, Yesenia, Karol, and Diana. Her heart was fulfilled when she adopted by heart her sixth and final child, Valeria. Maria made a home for her family in Mitchell, Nebraska. She was a devoted, hard-working provider while raising her children and strived to give them the best life possible despite her own challenges as a single parent.
She had an amazing strength within her that was powered by her deep belief and dedication to her Catholic faith. Church was significant in her life, and she was active in several activities within the parishes of St. Theresa’s in Mitchell and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Scottsbluff. Some of her favorite events and groups to be a part of included the Feast of Our Lady celebration and Grupo Las Marias. She was selfless and gave of her time and abilities however needed.
Maria had a green thumb and grew bountiful, beautiful gardens. She enjoyed embroidery, crocheting, and sewing. It wasn’t uncommon to find her with a book in her hand as reading was a lifelong pleasure of hers. Her grandkids brought joy to her life, and she treasured family time with them, her children and their spouses, and siblings whenever possible. Maria will always be warmly remembered for the caring and inspiring person she was to all who were so fortunate to be a part of her life.
Survivors include her children, Rafael Ruvalcaba of Scottsbluff, Carlos (Herendida) Rubalcava of Shreveport, LA, Yesenia Garcia of Scottsbluff, Karol (Stephen) Cardona of Scottsbluff, Valeria (Gilberto) Rodriguez of Scottsbluff, and Diana (Juan) Acosta of Gering; grandchildren, Andrey, Monique, Humberto, Carlos Jr., Luz, Santiago, Sasha, Jesse, Kiara, Juan Jr., Jemily, and Jadir; siblings, Alicia Flores, Bertha Martinez, Jose (María Bartola) Sandoval, Hector (Cuquina) Sandoval, Sergio (Leticia) Sandoval, Jorge (Alex) Sandoval, Yolanda (Hugo) Panduro, Martha (Jose Luis) Mendez and Elivia Sandoval; along with numerous other extended family members and friends.
Greeting her in Heaven were her parents, Jose and Esthela; brother, Ignacio Sandoval; and brothers-in-law, Jesus “Chuey” Flores, Benjamin Martinez, and Refugio Villagrana Murillo.