Matthew David Reitzel
May 29, 1991 ~ August 4, 2020 (age 29)
Our beloved son and brother, Matthew David Reitzel, passed away on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 from a fast and overwhelming blood infection that took our strong and powerful Cowboy. He was twenty-nine years old, and full of dreams. Matthew was ambitious, hard-working, and passionate about cattle ranching, nature and the great outdoors, his family, friends and LIFE.
Matthew, known to most as “Matt,” was Ranch Foreman and Partner in his family’s ranch, Esperanza Land and Cattle L.L.C. in Cebolla, New Mexico. At a very early age Matthew was taught to ride horseback and work cattle with his three loving uncles, and he discovered that he was genetically coded with the Chacón family love for all things related to ranching. He supported every facet of the cattle operation such as moving , feeding, branding and assessing the overall health of individual cattle and the herd, the range and forage quality of the pastures and the myriad of work involved on a diversified ranch. Matthew’s best days were spent in the saddle on his “tall, dark and handsome” horse Monte Walsh, an adopted mustang that he broke and trained himself, and with his two best companions, his cherished cow-dogs Brisket and Pepperoni. Matthew was responsible for training young and problem horses on the ranch and neighboring ranches, a skill he honed on new mustangs while working on a ranch in Big Sky, MT. He loved horses and had a gift, only few possessed. He saved a quote in his phone, “If you want a soft and responsive horse, you must be a soft and responsive human.”
Matthew had many skills and interests. He made beautiful tables from cedar he collected on the ranch, gifting a large dining room table to his sister and her wife and other hand-crafted tables to his friends. He was good at fixing things (all things) including tractors and other mechanical equipment, he was a Certified Sawyer, and a Wild Land Firefighter during the Silver Fire and the Whitewater-Baldy Fire in the Gila National Forest, the largest fire in state history.
Matthew was fun loving, adventurous and enjoyed many outdoor sports. He was a fly fishing guide, and took every opportunity possible to fish his favorite rivers; the Rio Chama, below Vado at Cooper’s Ranch, the Pecos and the Conejos. He also traveled, hunted, back-country snowboarded, rock climbed and hiked. Matthew enjoyed backpacking with his father in both the Zion and the Smoky Mountain National Parks, and last August canoed the Boundary Waters in MN.
Matthew’s greatest gift was his love and loyalty for his friends and family. He was a true friend, caring and protective, thoughtful and always supportive. He believed in the goodness in each of his friends, encouraging them to believe in themselves. His reward for being a friend was having an abundance of friends who loved him deeply and brought him a lifetime of fun, happiness, and contentment. Matthew had a special place in the hearts of all his family members. He was our treasured son and brother, who filled our lives with joy and love, and our home with funny stories and a loud laugh. He had a twisted sense of humor and a different way of looking at things that cracked us up, and made for interesting dinner conversation. He was loving to his grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins young and old. They loved him for his quiet kindness and generosity.
Very few people in this world have the courage to follow their passions, Matthew followed his. He decided not to settle for any less. He was happy, content, and living each day of his life to the fullest. He was living his dream. That’s worth a dozen lifetimes.
Matthew is survived by his parents, Dina and Jim Reitzel; his protector, the one he protected best, and his best friend in life, his sister Elizabeth Reitzel and her wife Britney Choy; his grandparents, Charlie and Geralda Chacón of Española; his Uncles and Aunts, Carlos and Mary Chacón of Rio Rancho, Claudio Chacón and Mary Lou Goodman of Española, Gerald and Frances Chacón of Española, Carmen Chacón of Las Vegas, NV, Herman and Ana Smith of Alamogordo, Judy and Dale Whaley of Hilsboro, KY; and many special cousins. He is predeceased by his grandparents, Jewell and John Reitzel, and his Aunt, Janice Reitzel all of Alamogordo.
A mass will be celebrated for Matthew at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Albuquerque, on Friday, August 14th, at 10:00 a.m. Masks are required. Burial will take place in Cebolla, New Mexico, on Sunday, August 16th at 12:00 p.m. Please see the FRENCH - Funerals website for directions.
Matthew earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from New Mexico State University, and was a graduate of St. Pius High School in Albuquerque. In lieu of flowers, please make gifts in memory of Matthew payable to the NMSU Foundation, PO Box 3590, Las Cruces NM 88003-3590. Designate your gift to the Matthew David Reitzel Scholarship (recipients will be a St. Pius Graduate) or, to the new NMSU Meat Science Lab.
You may also make a gift in memory of Matthew David Reitzel, payable to The Ranches, 6209 Hendrix Rd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110.
Directions for Burial on Sunday, August 16th at 12:00 p.m. in Cebolla, NM, from Albuquerque to County Road 310
Drive Time: 2 hrs & 25 mins (140 mi)
Take I-25 North
Exit 276 for NM 599 N (13 mi)
Use left lane to take US-285 N/US-84 W/US Hwy 285 N toward Espanola (21.5 mi)
Use 2 left lanes to turn left onto Santa Clara Bridge Road (0.8 mi)
Turn Right onto Pso Santa Clara (0.2 mi)
Continue on Hwy 84 to Cebolla (53.7 mi)
Turn RIGHT onto County Road 310 (in front of Catholic church)
Follow for approximately 2 miles on semi dirt road to Ranch House
Parking instruction will be provided when you arrive.
Boots, jeans, and mask required. Trucks preferred.