Stella Esparza Martinez, RN, BSN, 79, of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, passed away unexpectedly Friday, February 10, 2023, at her home. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, February 20, 2023, at The Rock Church in Scottsbluff with Pastor Mike Erdman officiating. A private family viewing will be held prior, and cremation will follow the service in accordance with her wishes. Memorials may be made to a children’s hospital of the donor’s choice per Stella’s request. The service will be livestreamed to Stella’s obituary page where online condolences may also be made at www.reverencefuneralparlor.com.
Stella was born February 3, 1944, in Scottsbluff, Nebraska to Paul and Hilaria (De Santiago) Esparza. She attended Roosevelt Elementary and later graduated from Scottsbluff High School. Stella soon became a young mother and was blessed with four sons: Michael, Stephan, Edwin, and Christopher. Stella was a very strong and independent woman who was known to have a witty sense of humor.
Stella was a wonderful mother and her love and commitment to her boys was unwavering. While caring for her boys, she worked tirelessly towards achieving her degree in nursing. Stella received her LPN nursing degree from Nebraska Western College in 1974. Later, at age 50, she became a registered nurse earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of Nebraska in 1994. Stella’s nursing career spanned over 40 years and it truly was her passion in life. She was employed as a travel nurse and worked at various facilities throughout the years including five years at St. Mary’s Hospital and seventeen years at Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff. She worked at Bonnell Community Center in Greeley, CO and was formerly Director of Nursing at Hillcrest Care Center in Wray, CO. Stella was a strong believer in diabetes education and devoted many years as a Diabetes Education Manager at Sunrise Community Health in Evans, CO and CAPWN in Gering, NE.
One of Stella’s most admirable characteristics was her lifelong advocacy for those less fortunate. She cared deeply for others, never turned anyone away, and selflessly gave of herself and her abilities to nurture other people. Some of her most memorable and cherished experiences were her multiple missionary trips to the countries of Belize and Guatemala.
Stella enjoyed attending bible study groups with her close friends and reading her monthly nursing publications. She also loved to watch the news and was always very informed on the issues that mattered to her most, such as the issues of civil rights, immigration and the state of politics in our country. Stella was an avid Steph Curry and Golden State Warriors fan and looked forward to watching the Warriors games throughout the week. She knew more about what was going on with her Warriors and about the NBA in general than all of her sons put together. Stella also enjoyed singing and dancing with her boys and especially loved jazz music.
Another passion of Stella’s was traveling. She had the opportunity to visit the countries of Italy, Vatican City, Colombia, Philippines, Cayman Islands, and Mexico in addition to her trips to Belize and Guatemala. Above all, her favorite hobby was meticulously cleaning her beloved home. She prided herself in maintaining a very clean home for herself and her family. This was something she instilled in her sons and grandchildren at a very young age. When her sons’ friends would come over to hang out, they too would often find themselves doing some chores at Momma Stella’s house.
Stella’s greatest blessing was her grandchildren. She was a proud grandmother and celebrated her grandchildren’s academic and athletic successes. She absolutely loved attending her granddaughter's dance recitals, drill team and cheerleading performances. She was a fixture at her grandsons’ baseball and wrestling tournaments. Grandma Stella could often be seen and heard honking her car horn loud and proud at the baseball fields while cheering on her Westco BombSquad baseball boys ever since they were young. Grandma Stella didn’t care who was annoyed by all the honking and would even honk that horn when the other team made great plays. Stella also found great joy when spending time with her youngest granddaughter and great-grandchildren. Those visits with her babies were so special to her and they truly would brighten up her day.
Stella was very proud of her sons’ and grandsons’ military service. Stephan (U.S. Marines), Christopher (U.S. Air Force), Jose Luis (U.S. Marines), Patrick (U.S. Marines) and Phillip (U.S. Navy).
Our dearest Mother, you will be greatly missed. We know that your presence will always be with us. Thank you for being a wonderful mother and loving us unconditionally. We will continue to celebrate your life in all that we do.
Survivors include her sons, Michael (Lupita) Martinez, Stephan (Elida) Martinez, Edwin (Becky) Martinez, and Christopher (Martina Lucius) Martinez; grandchildren, Patrice (Jaime Gamino) Martinez, Jose Luis Arellano, Patrick (Sylvia) Martinez, Phillip Martinez, Alexis (Andres) Morales, Danielle (Luis Alcántara) Martinez, Aubrey Martinez, Dylon Santos, Kailor Lucius, Jaxson Martinez, Carson Lucius, and Avaiah Olivia Martinez; great grandchildren, Luke, Giovanni, and Brissa Gamino, Gabe Escalera, Khulil, Brooklyn, and Easton Martinez, and Hendrix Morales; siblings, Phillip (Jennie) Esparza, Sonjia (Joe) Serda, Yvonne Conde, and Sabrina Esparza; aunt, Earl Lene De Santiago; along with numerous extended family and friends that were a very special part of her life.
Stella was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Paul Esparza Jr.; and sister, Karen Magdaleno.