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December 03rd, 2020

jimmy montoyaJimmy Ray (J.R.) “Pepperbelly” Montoya, 80, died Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020 with his sons by his side at Thomas E. Creek VA Medical Center in Amarillo, Texas. 

He was born Oct. 21, 1940 in Tucumcari, N.M. 

He grew up in Dalhart, Texas, where he attended school until he enlisted into the Texas National Guard in 1956. He enlisted into the US Army November 17, 1959 and was a Communication Specialist. He was stationed in Ft. Bliss, Texas and spent 13 months in Seoul, South Korea. 

He and his family moved to Liberal, Kansas after his time in the service and worked in construction, where he helped build the helium plant, hospital, and many other projects. He drove a truck for Baroid Drilling throughout SW Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas for many years and concurrently worked at Tradewinds as the paint foreman. In 1972, he started working at Yellow Freight systems as a weekend dispatcher and then promoted to a safety supervisor, where he worked until his retirement in 1997. In 1975, Yellow Freight transferred him to Albuquerque, NM, and then later to his home in Tucumcari, N.M., where his family settled, and were blessed a community of friends. During his tenure at Yellow Freight, he made very special friendships with the NM State Police among many other law enforcement entities throughout New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma and was an honored friend to them all. Retirement was not for him, so he went back to work and tried his hand at being a dispatcher for the Tucumcari PD, kitchen foreman at Wackenhut Prisons, and drove for Renzenberger and Premier Transportation. 

He spent more than 30 years of his life traveling around the countryside, supporting and watching them play golf, baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, softball, wrestling, and soccer.

Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Maxine; children: Theresa and James Griego, Logan, N.M., James Montoya, Dallas, Richard and Brenda Montoya, Lubbock Texas, Michael and Amy Montoya, Amarillo Texas, Trina and Richard Griego, Clovis, N.M, Matthew and Katie Montoya, Santa Fe, N.M., and Jamie Montoya, Tucumcari, N.M.; son-in-law, Jeff Pacheco; 15 Grandchildren; 18 Great-Grandchildren; and 2 Great-Great Grandchildren: Manny (Chastity) and their children---JoJo (Ezziah and Melania), Mikaylah, Joseph, Layla, and Emmanuel; Eloisa and her children---Heaven, Brianna, and Elizabeth; Melinda, Melisa (Mike) and their children---Marissa and Myka; Mandy (Andy) and their children---Mallory and Madison; Isaiah (Elaine) and their children---Blakelynn, Isabella, and Cameron; Sinae (Mike) and their children---Daxton and Henley; Mariah (Sam) and their children Benjamin and Rylee; Kristen Beltran, Gabriel Montoya (Isaac), Jacob Montoya, Joshua Montoya, Dalton Griego, Seth Griego (SMIG), and McKenna Montoya; Sister, Patsy of Oklahoma City; and uncle, Selso Ramirez and wife, Josie.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Santiago Lito Montoya and Josephine Ramirez; daughter, Racheal Marie; twin grandsons, Jacob and Jordan; great-grandson, Bobby Javier Prieto III; mother and father-in-law, Cleo and Reynaldo Encinias and Mary and Al Velasquez; aunts and uncles: Manuel (Molly) Ramirez, Phillip (Ida) Ramirez, Isabel Casaz, Gavina Dye, Ramona Ulibarri, and Angelita White; and grandparents, Ascension and Cristina Ramirez.

• Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Social Distancing guidelines, services will be private and limited to the immediate family. We ask that you keep Jimmy Ray and his family in your prayers. You may leave a tribute, a favorite memory, or sign the online guestbook.

All services are under the direction of Chavez Funeral Home, 923 S. Third St. Santa Rosa, NM 88435. 575-472-3369. To place an online tribute please visit

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