Milton (Milt) Ontiveroz, Sr., 92, longtime Lovell resident, renowned backhoe operator for the Town of Lovell, devout Catholic and loving husband and father, known for his warm and playful personality, died May 20, 2023, at the New Horizon’s Care Center.
Milton was born in Lasara, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley to Cecilia and Rafael Ontiveros, on April 1, 1931. Milt’s last name on his birth certificate was spelled with a “z” at the end, in contrast to his other family members because of a foul up with his birth certificate. After Milt’s mother died in the 1940s, his dad married twice more and eventually 19 brothers and sisters joined Milton. He traveled throughout the United States with his father and family, picked seasonal crops from the upper Midwest, down to Florida, along the Deep South, and back to the home in Texas. The cycle was repeated every year. A Colorado sugar beet cooperative hired the family in western Nebraska, northern Colorado, eastern Wyoming, and the Big Horn Basin.
Milt was only able to attend the second grade because work came first for his family. He taught himself not only to read and write in his native Spanish, but in English as well.
During the summer of 1954, while in Lovell to hoe beets with his family, he met the love of his life, Inez Ortiz. After a courtship of one month, they were married on October 30, 1954. They were inseparable for 68 years. Their marriage produced seven children, who were the joys of his life. He and Inez worked tirelessly so that their children would have better lives.
Milt was a longtime farmhand first for Tom Asay and then Brownie Brown. The tiring, endless demands of farm work led him to get a job with the Town of Lovell. His deft control of the backhoe was legendary. He would arrive early each day to raise the United States Flag at town hall.
He retired from the town in 1995 after 21 years. After his retirement, Milt would bring doughnuts occasionally to his former co-workers. This gesture was so meaningful that his former supervisor, Doug Savage, took over Milt’s tradition. His retirement allowed him the great joy of traveling to visit his children, 16 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.
Milt and Inez were grand marshals of the 2017 Mustang Days Parade, the first Hispanics ever to receive the honor.
Milt enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. He loved to share carefully selected newspaper comics with everyone. He treasured taking picnic trips with his family to Five Springs, and never missed a Fourth of July parade in Cody. His grandchildren were captivated by his little tricks. He never lacked for a playful joke. He was an avid boxing fan and adored his Mexican music, especially Selena.
Milt is survived by his wife, Inez, and children, Cecilia (Bruce) Moats of Cheyenne; Milton (Liz) Ontiveroz, Laramie; Anna (Tom) Fink, Lovell, Mike (Becky) Ontiveroz, Lovell; and Victoria (Brian) Welan, San Antonio, Texas; grandchildren Shelby, Joseph, Thea, Alexis, AAron, Austin, Cole, Ely, Kiana, Rhiannon, Mikee, Adreanne, Scott, Kyle, Corina and Clarissa; and, great-grandchildren, Jordan, Alyson, Jaxx, Noa, Lily, Amelia, Olivia, Koehn, Kordell, Salma, Max, Cheyenne, Noah, Weston and Elise.
He was preceded in death by their daughter, Alicia Gomez, and son, Enrique (Tom) Ontiveroz.
The Rosary will be recited at 6:30 p.m., Memorial Day, May 29 at Haskell Funeral Home. Funeral services will be Tuesday, May 30, at 1 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, followed by Interment in the Lovell Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 1141 Shoshone Avenue or New Horizon Care Center, 1115 Lane 12, both in Lovell, Wy 82431.
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