Frank “Chicago” Elias, a longtime resident of Lordsburg, New Mexico, passed away Thursday, February 6, 2020, at his home surrounded by his family. Frank was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 5, 1931 to Maria and Martin Elias. Frank began his journey westward in search of his relatives in the early 1950’s, ultimately settling in Lordsburg and marrying his wife Sara (Ramirez) on November 22, 1953. He began working as a miner in the Banner Mine in the late 1950’s. In 1967, he worked at Phelps-Dodge in Tyrone, New Mexico until 1983 and in 1987, began working for the City of Lordsburg Housing Authority until his retirement in 1996. His work life spanned many different jobs including bartending, picking grapes, construction, roofer, working for the EPA’s environmental reclamation program – a hardworking man – “a jack of all trade, a master of none” as he coined himself. He was not afraid to take on any type of work as long as he was working. In his spare time, his hobbies included welding, restoring old vehicles, carpentry, jewelry making, music, dancing, bowling, taking walks with his wife, children and grandchildren, playing games (Charades, Loteria, Scrabble and Uno) with his children and grandchildren, and was a past member of the Knights of Columbus, Optimist Club and LULAC. During his retirement, he enjoyed visiting friends and family, working on projects around the house, crossword puzzles, reading (especially Popular Mechanics and Handyman), watching educational programs, documentaries, and old classic movies. He enjoyed watching sporting events especially boxing and his beloved Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears and never missed watching the news. He was always on top of world and civic affairs. Frank was self-educated, a great storyteller and loved to share stories of his adventures while growing up in Chicago. He instilled in his children and grandchildren the importance of education, hard work, and ethics.
Frank is survived by his wife of 66 years, Sara (Ramirez); daughters Christina, Rosaire, Elisa, Martina (Tina) and Alda; sons Michael (Earline) and Martin; brother Henry and sister Virginia, both from Chicago, Illinois; 18 grandchildren, 28 great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild; brothers in law Miguel Ramirez, Alfred (Rosie) Ramirez, Rudolfo (Georgina) Ramirez, Mario (Dorothy) Ramirez, Juvencio Ramirez; sister in law Tillie Alvarez; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Frank is preceded in death by his parents, Maria and Martin Elias, brother Ylario Elias and sister Concepcion (Concha) Baeza, granddaughter Darlene Vargas and son-in-law Eddie Vargas.
Visitation for Frank will take place at 10 AM on Saturday, February 15, 2020, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Lordsburg New Mexico. Funeral mass will begin at 11AM with services and burial concluding at Shakespeare Cemetery. A celebration of Frank’s life will immediately follow at the Lordsburg Civic Center. Officiating will be Fr. Bartholomew Ezenwelem. Serving as pallbearers will be his grandsons Mario Elias, Zachary Elias, Jonathan Garcia, Roman, Aaron and Adrian Vargas, Dreaux Plair, Desmond and Xavier Elias, great-grandson Jordan Mendoza and nephew Daniel Ramirez.
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