By Malaquias “JR” Rael
Words cannot express the sorrow we are all feeling for the Vigil family for the loss of the beloved Enriquetta—the wonderful person that Quetta was and the beautiful life she lived.
Enriquetta Raquel Ruth Vigil breathed her first breath on December 2, 1986. She was the second of four children born to Armando and Cynthia Vigil, with two brothers: Armando Jr., Javier, and sister Esperanza. She was a quiet and observant child with curly, uncontrollable hair and her smile could light up a room. Her parents raised all the children in the Catholic faith and taught them the importance of attending mass. They grew up learning to follow the great commandment of loving our neighbors.
Quetta attended school in Questa and participated in school activities, enjoying playing soccer. In her junior year, during Homecoming, she learned to throw eggs at the seniors, although she was not agile enough to run in the dark with eggs in her pocket without cracking them on herself. She also participated in 4-H where she learned to raise animals, plant gardens, and compete in county fairs. She made friends with practically everyone in school, graduating in 2005. She then attended college at New Mexico Highlands University. In 2007 she met Robert Robison and soon moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. In May of 2011, they moved to Albuquerque and on July 7, 2011 she gave birth to their son, little Robert.
Little Robert was the love of her life. She was a good mother. Quetta took Robert to the library often and they worked on crafts together; he was her main priority. Around 2017, the two moved to Questa. This was a great move for them and a definite benefit for Questa. It was the two curly heads against the world! Her parents, Armando and Cynthia, decided to reopen Rael’s Market as a coffee and gift shop. With a little training from her sister-in-law Valerie, Quetta became a barista. I must say to Cynthia: Quetta made a great double espresso. She was very creative and came up with the Rio Grande Cutthroat Ice Drink, the Vanilla Bean Latte, and the Lavender Latte. Quetta was humble and appreciated the simple things, including “jam night” at the Coffee Shop where she enjoyed listening to local musicians. She had her own regulars at the coffee shop—she was even best friends with the late Jody Cisneros. People would often walk in and ask for her. She, her mom Cynthia, and Rael’s Coffee House were featured in New Mexico magazine, the High Country News and of course the Questa Del Rio News.
Living in Questa gave Quetta the opportunity to strengthen the bond with her siblings, cousins, friends, and parents. She used the magic word often,“DAD.” She would giggle at jokes and then say, “I don’t get it.” Quetta attended UNM-Taos where she earned her degree in Health Sciences. As a healthcare provider she found her purpose in life. She helped the homebound and served them well. Her first client was known for being mean to his providers. She quickly grew a friendship with him, and he was very happy with the care she provided. Brandi Garcia shared how her dad, Lino, enjoyed clinking cups of coffee with Quetta every morning. She went cruising with Abel Gomez in his classic truck along the Rio Grande and also on his golf cart around his property. He and his wife Joann were heartbroken when they heard of Quetta’s passing.
Since returning to Questa, Quetta came into her own. Her bond with little Robert grew—one could see the love they had in their eyes for each other. Quetta’s sister, Esperanza, called them two peas in a pod. They, along with her brother Armando’s daughter, Sofia, spent a lot of time at the coffee shop. They also went hiking to Uncle Buddy’s (Aron Rael) bench on the Vistas de Questa Trail, hiked down the Rio Grande, bicycled, and camped in her green tent. Sofia said they were always laughing and taking pictures. Quetta hiked, went to the gym with her cousin Samantha, and would hike and run up to the pueblito frequently. She lost 100 pounds in the process. Cynthia and Esperanza tried to discourage her from hiking alone, but she would say, “You can’t live your life in fear.”
Quetta was a good listener. Both Espy and Val said that when they confided in her, she would listen and then tell them not what they wanted to hear but what they needed to hear. She always did this in a gracefully honest way, which they appreciated.
Quetta’s involvement in the community increased. She was a parent advocate with the Vida del Norte Coalition and traveled with the coalition and Maria Gonzalez to Washington, D.C. for training. Her leadership skills showed, especially with kids. She participated in the Pick Your Poison 5K and 10K Races. She was a regular at the annual Cambalache, helped make the Cucui, and even posted a shot with her new man. Quetta won the coveted first prize in the First Questa Frito Pie-Eating Contest last year when Questa was named the Frito Pie Capital of the Known Universe—rewarded with a cover photo in the Questa del Rio News 2020 April Fool’s Edition. Quetta was very photogenic and never took a bad picture. After her win, she posted to her friends that she would be at the coffee shop signing autographs.
One aspect that never changed about Quetta was her loving ways. Her kindness was genuine. She did not judge others and was always willing to help. Some people travel to distant countries, consult with sages and spend lots of money to know and have what Quetta had. This was her greatest attribute. She knew that God was Love and she wanted to love unconditionally, as well. It’s pretty amazing how she was able to connect and contribute to three generations of people with such ease. Manders and Cynthia, you must be proud of Quetta and all your kids.
Enriquetta passed away suddenly and tragically in an accident on Sunday, May 2—still a shock to us all. Her impact on our community was great and we will miss her presence daily. This overwhelming loss to the family is softened by the immense love and kindness shown to them by the community. They are very grateful for your prayers and support.
Quetta is preceded in death by great-grandmother Adonaisa Rael, maternal grandparents Aaron and Ruth Rael, and paternal grandparents Armando and Ruth Vigil. Quetta is survived by her son Robert Robison, parents Armando Vigil, Jr. and Cynthia Rael-Vigil, siblings Armando Vigil, III (Valerie), sister and best friend Esperanza Vigil, and Javier (Daisy) Vigil. Quetta is also survived by nieces and nephews, Sofia and Emmanuel, Ember and Antonio and the father of her son, Rob Robison. Quetta is further survived by loving aunts, uncles, many relatives, and friends. Everyone who crossed paths with Quetta became special to her.
Rosary was recited on Monday May 10, 2021 at 9 am, followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 10 am at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Questa, with burial following at El Pueblito Cemetery. The family of Enriquetta “Quetta” Vigil entrusted the care of their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home of Taos. www.devargastaos.com (866) 657-4019.