Katherine Davalos Ortega (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: As one of the first Latinas to hold a high government position, Ortega provided a role model and example for all women with political aspirations.
Donaciano Ortega and Catarina Davalos, the parents of Katherine Davalos Ortega, were from pioneer families that in the 1800’s settled in what later became the state of New Mexico. The couple married and had nine children, with Katherine the youngest. Donaciano held many different jobs, including that of deputy U.S. marshal, which he began at the age of sixteen. He also worked at a copper mine, had a blacksmith shop, and did carpentry work. The family moved to Tularosa, a town with fewer than three thousand inhabitants, so that the children could attend high school. The family owned and operated a restaurant and dance hall in Tularosa, then a restaurant and a furniture store in nearby Alamogordo, New Mexico. Katherine’s oldest sister, Ellen, founded the Otero Savings and Loan Association there in 1974. The businesses were moderately successful, but the family had a modest income.
Working in the family restaurant provided Katherine with early training in business skills. Even at the age of ten, she showed such facility with numbers that she was allowed to work the cash register. All the Ortega children participated in the family business, and each had a say in its operation.
Donaciano Ortega encouraged his children to...
(The entire section is 1954 words.)
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