Orlando Feliciano Rael, Sr. was born Oct. 17, 1935, in Questa, New Mexico, the second-oldest child of Soraida and Feliciano Rael.
Bright and vivacious, his smile would light up a room. His deep, certain laugh demonstrated that he immediately got the joke. Astute, observant, he could easily tune in to others’ emotions. From early on in his life, he was given adult responsibilities. At age 13, he was on horseback herding cattle by himself with only a rifle to protect him from mountain lions and bears.
His father sent him to McCurdy private school in Santa Cruz de la Canada, New Mexico. There, Principal McCracken entrusted him with the care of farm animals big and small. He attended New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. He was a talented, precise drawer with elegant handwriting. He later attended the University of Oklahoma to get his Masters in Geography. He wanted to be a cartographer in the days before Global Information Systems.
He did his basic training at Ft. Carson and was stationed at Ft. Sill before serving his country in Korea near the demilitarized zone. He was later recalled to Ft. Polk. A man of variety, he enjoyed and was successful with many careers including surveying for New Mexico Department of Highways and Transportation. He retired, with awards, from Tinker Air Force Base where he worked on the B-52 bomber team.
In retirement, he enjoyed going to casinos, traveling to Alaska and Yellowstone, including a side trip to Sturgis, S.D. (where he and his wife joked about sitting at the bar with the bikers), Florida, and back to his beloved New Mexico.
He is survived by Bernie, his wife of 60 years, daughter Renee, son Orlando Jr., son Jonathan (Monica), daughter Yolanda, granddaughters Tomi and Annalisa, sister Berlinda, sister Clarita, brother Isaac, sister Rogeria, brother Paul (Carolyn), sister Abedonia, brother-in-law Elifas (Reynalda), sisters-in-law Lila, Belda, Alicia, and Emma (Ben).
The family wishes to thank Carrie, Karon and the rest of Oklahoma Palliative and Hospice Care as well as our wonderful caregivers: Beth, Tabitha, Whitney, Ashley, and Misty.
Those wishing to pay tribute to our father, please sign our guest book. Family asks that contributions be made in his name to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Rosary was recited on Saturday Sept. 24 at 9 am followed by the Funeral Mass at 10 am at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Questa, with burial following with full military honors at the San Pedro Cemetery. A celebration of his life reception followed at the Questa VFW. To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Orlando Feliciano Rael, Sr., please visit DeVargas flower store.