Jose Tomas Odilon Molina Rios was born Dec.29, 1906, in San Antonio, Texas, to Juan Rios and Maria Luisa Molina. He was raised by his grandparents, Pedro Rios and Dominga Sandoval in La Piedad, Michocan, Mexico.
On Feb. 26, 1926, Tomas entered the United States at El Paso, Texas, and made his way to Watsonville, Calif., where he worked as a tracklayer on the Southern Pacific Railroad. After 2 months, he hopped a freight train and made his way to Trinidad where he gained employment in area coal mines. Some of the mines he worked included the CF&I, Temple Fuel Co, Bear Canon Coal Co, Baldy Coal Co, American Smelting & Refining, St. Louis, Rocky Mountain, Huerfano Coal Co and Scott-Ruiz Coal Co, for a total of 37 years in the coal mining industry. From 1967-73 he operated the Sante Fe Mine for A.P. Green Refractories Mexico, MO mining clay.
Tomas was a member of La Sociedad de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, Sociedad Union, Justicia Y Caridad Hispano-Americana and was a former member of 50 years of La Confederacion Mutualista Mexicana e Hispano-Americana Lodge. During the 1950's he was involvd with the Comision Honorifica Mexicana and worked closely with the Mexican Consulate office in Denver.
During the Depression years when the mines were idle, he was employed by the WPA as a driller. Some of the areas he worked in were Jansen, Viola, Grey Creek and Trinidad.
While not busy working or participating in lodge activities, Tomas did carpentry work around the family home or for friends. He was a self-taught carpenter, roofer, painter, cement worker, etc. If the work needed to be done, he did it.
Tomas lived through more changes than most people, he witnessed the Mexican Revolution, Great Depression, World War II, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, the first man on the moon, the beginning of the Internet, the Oklahoma City bombing and the World Trade Center of Sept. 11, 2001.
The Rios family was very blessed in having him live to the age of 103-10-1. He told us, “When I die, do not grieve for me, give thanks to the Lord, that I lived a good life. Celebrate my life.”
He was preceded in death by his wife Maria and granddaughter, Diana Martinez.
Tomas is survived by children, Johnny (Mary Jane), Jose, Josephine Munoz, all of Trinidad, Dolores (Joseph) Martinez of Colorado Springs, Colo., Juan of Trinidad, Daniel (Rose Marie) of Denver, Gilbert (Shirley) of Denver, Linda Acosta of Pueblo, Evelyn (C. Rudy Montoya) of Trinidad, and Olga Ollis of Denver. He is survived by step-children Marie (David) Tafoya of San Francisco, Robert C. Vigil of San Diego, Dolores Trujillo of Denver and Christina Duran of Trinidad; 46 grandchildren, 80 great grandchildren and 46 great-great grandchildren; also several great grand-nephews and nieces of Mexico and California.
Tomas will be missed by his loyal and ever present Bichon puppies, Goldie and Molly.
Tomas was a member of La Sociedad de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, Sociedad Union, Justicia Y Caridad Hispano-Americana and was a former member of 50 years of La Confederacion Mutualista Mexicana e Hispano-Americana Lodge. During the 1950’s he was involved with the Comision Honorifica Mexicana and worked closely with the Mexican Consulate office in Denver.
Recitation of rosary was held Nov 4. at Mullare-Murphy Funeral Home, with a reception afterward.
Funeral Mass will be held Friday, Nov. 5, at 10 a.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Burial will follow at the Trinidad Catholic Cemetery.
Active pallbearers will be grandsons Thomas A. Rios, Tom Rios, Virgil Martinez, Juan D. Rios, Victor Rios and Augie Rios.
The family has entrusted the Mullare-Murphy Funeral Home with the arrangements.