Alumni Connection – Spring 2018

Dear Menaul School Alumni,

Spring has sprung at Menaul School! The campus is turning green, the trees are budding and blooming (more on that later), and this year’s seniors are preparing for graduation. The Advancement Office and the Alumni Association are preparing to welcome the class of 1968 home to celebrate their golden reunion over graduation weekend.

In this issue of your Alumni Connection, read about our recent gala, the exciting project the Alumni Association has been working on, and tributes to the alumni we have lost this year.

Don’t forget to send wedding and birth announcements, graduations, promotions, stories, obituaries, and any other news you have about yourself, your family, and your alumni families and friends to or call me at (505) 341-7233. Also, keep us updated if you change your address, phone number, or email address.

I can’t wait to see you around campus!

Kimberly Sanchez ‘00
Assistant Advancement Associate
(505) 341-7233

Rev. Buddy Dee Monahan, 1965-2018

Reverend Buddy Dee Monahan, age 52, of Albuquerque, NM, passed away on March 27, 2018 in Odessa, TX.

Buddy was born in Talihina, OK, to Irvin Monahan and Theda Tohnika on December 3, 1965. He graduated from Eagletown High School, Eagletown, OK, in 1984. He married Dyanna Krissman on July 2, 1988 at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, AR. He graduated from The University of the Ozarks in 1988 and The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in 1991. He worked as a Presbyterian Minister for the PC(USA) for 26 years. He served as Pastor for the Native American Ministry Project in Los Angeles, CA, Chaplain at Menaul School and Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Odessa, TX. Buddy also served on many national committees for the PC(USA) and as pulpit supply for local churches.

Buddy is survived by his wife Dyanna Krissman Monahan of Albuquerque, NM. His children, Jordyn, Brandyn and Ashdyn all of Albuquerque, NM. His brother Tony Monahan of Eagletown, OK. His stepparents Ellis and Audrey Jefferson of Pickens, OK, his Uncle and Aunt Gene and Alicia Wilson of Indiahoma, OK and numerous cousins and friends.

Memorials may be given to The Monahan Children’s Education Fund c/o The Synod of the Sun or The American Indian Youth Council c/o PC(USA). 

Honoring Buddy Monahan, read at Buddy’s Albuquerque memorial service by Amanda Cheromiah ‘04

For decades Buddy led energizers. He loved them. He enjoyed watching us engage with one another and he saw thousands of times how energizers built the communities he loved so much.

Many of us here have been on a number of adventures with Buddy. Whether it was at Menaul, in the Presbyterian Church (USA), youth councils or many other realms, we all have stories of Buddy.

My fondest memories of Buddy was at Menaul, when I was a student there over 10 years ago.

While at Menaul, for three summers, a handful of other Native students and I traveled with Buddy to various tribal communities across the nation. One summer we traveled to southeastern Oklahoma to teach vacation bible school.

One afternoon we were in the backwoods taking a “shortcut” somewhere. Buddy knew this road very well. When we approached the road it was a gushing river. It didn’t look too bad though. Buddy asked us, “Should we go through?” My sister, Maredyth Cheromiah, Aaron Sims, Dana Lorenzo and I all smiled and said, “Yes!” So we ventured across the road full of water.

At one point our smiles became looks of terror and our joyous laughter was hushed by the water that started to quickly rise against Menaul School’s purple “Campbell’s Soup” van. Buddy was still smiling though, probably a nervous smile. His arms were shaking trying to position the tires in a more stable position because the van started to slowly slip towards a five foot drop-off. At some point we all started to pray that Buddy wouldn’t sink the van with us in it!

By that point our van stalled and we were terrified that we weren’t going to make it. Aaron started putting on his socks and Maredyth and Dana started gathering their backpacks and stuffed animals, getting ready to start swimming for their lives. Then by a miracle two fisherman appeared from nowhere and pushed Menaul’s purple “Campbell’s Soup” van across the river.

That was the day we survived one of Buddy’s adventures and we loved every bit of it.

Buddy raised up leaders and many of us here are the fruit of his labor.

The greatest gift that Buddy gave me was the truth. God’s truth. Buddy, being a servant of the Lord, ministered to me and sowed seeds in my heart about the high calling on my life. He taught me how to love myself and continually spoke words of life.

After I left Menaul for college, at the University of Arizona, those seeds bore fruit. I eventually gave my heart to the Lord and fully committed to serving Him. I became a Christian. That changed my life forever here on earth and in eternity.

We honor Buddy today by sharing stories of him. His legacy will carry on in each of our hearts and in the stories we will continue to share about him.

God is good, all the time! And all the time, God is good!

A Poem Written for Buddy by Carlos Contreras ‘02

You cannot change the laws of physics

Remember that?

Most of you won’t

We do –

Those of us who saw him on routine

Many of us knew he knew no routine

His life was anything but

From the good book

To the ball

To the track

To the classroom

And the dinner table

He oversaw them all –

Saw us grow into men and women

Saw us in the grocery store


Over time –

Over time, we often times forget folks

We go on with our lives and find time for that

And those who our respective lives created

Brought about,

About, Buddy –

He was exceptional.

He married my cousin and her husband

Christened another –

I am in tears and regret the fact that I didn’t act

Fast enough for him to bless the beautiful girl

My wife gave birth to.

Sometimes our universe births exceptional beings

This is one of those cases.

Buddy Monahan was a man among men

That realized he was more than a man –


He’s gone.

I read the screen, cried

Sat in silence

Wiped my tears –

Read for class, because he would’ve told me to –

Messaged Mrs. Monahan because he told me to.

Wrote this poem

Because nobody told me to.

Buddy –

We remember you

And although we cannot change the laws of physics

We know that what comes up must come down

And so, you’re up there –

We’re down here – and we expect you now

To check on us.

That’s the law right.

Right now, I know not how to wrap my brain around

All of this – so I write

Because although I don’t pray, you’re the one person

Who got me to believe in the power of it all.

When we stop and realize this world is more powerful than us all –

Sometimes we need to also realize

In our lifetimes, we will be reminded about the fragility

Of life – how it breaks –

My heart is broken –

And as we piece this story together

Tell it to each other and remember.

I will always remember you –

Your smile

The way it made us continue to believe.

You might be gone, Buddy –

But you will never leave.

Forever remembered, my friend.

Until we meet again.

Passport to World-Class Education Gala

Our 4th Annual Passport to World-Class Education Gala was a resounding success! Donors, alumni, parents, staff, faculty, and friends of Menaul School attended the sold-out event. Fifteen live auction items and 31 silent auction items were sold, after being donated by generous individuals and businesses in the months leading up to the event. It was an evening celebrating Menaul School, with alumni and student speakers, Moroccan cuisine, and beautiful, brightly colored decorations on campus in our own Collie Refectory.

One major highlight of the evening was special guest Mistress of Ceremonies Ariel Tweto, one of the stars of Discovery Channel’s Flying Wild Alaska and Travel Channel’s True Alaska. The gala began with a cocktail hour, where attendees had the opportunity to enjoy a fantastic performance by the Menaul School Jazz Band and singer, junior Luci Astorga and bid in the silent auction on items, including pieces of fine art, beautiful handmade jewelry, gift certificates, and themed baskets filled to the brim! This was followed by dinner, where Menaul School Alumnus and teacher, Josh Baca and student Santiago Henry spoke about what Menaul School means to them. Then the live auction began, facilitated by Doty’s Auction Service and featuring Native American artwork, vacation getaways, hunting trips, and more.

A huge thank you to our donors, gala attendees, and volunteers. Because of you, we were able to raise over $69,000 for our Financial Aid/Scholarship Funds.

Menaul Alumni Reforestation Campaign

Dear Alumni and Menaul School Friends,

As we all know, the legacy Rev. James Menaul created still thrives some 122 years later at Menaul School. Over all these years, the trees that fill the campus have added something special and distinct.  Imagine the stories they could tell if they were able to speak. They have witnessed the memories that you and I have made as well as those of countless other students and families. Trees can be purchased in memory or honor of classes, families or individuals. They will be strategically planted throughout campus so they can replace old trees and ensure that future Menaul School community members can enjoy them for years to come.

Alumni roots run deep and are a great sense of pride for all of us.

“It is always good to return to my roots”

Root /ro͞ot /: noun

the basic cause, source or origin

family, ethnic, or cultural origins, especially as the reasons for one’s long-standing emotional connection to a place or community


  1. establish deeply and firmly








A special thank you to Baca’s Trees for their generous contribution to this campaign!

Click here to contribute to this campaign

Golden Graduates – Class of 1968

Attention Golden Graduates Class of 1968! We are celebrating you this year! Please join us for special events during Graduation weekend, May 24th -26th. RSVP to Kim Sanchez at or (505) 341-7233.

In Loving Memory

Priscilla (Vigil) Donaldson ’38 – Priscilla passed away on March 9th.

Theodore Trujillo ’40 – Theodore Trevino Trujillo passed away Nov. 21 in Los Alamos. He was born Dec. 4, 1921 in Rancho de Taos to Jose Miguel Trujillo and Maclovia Martinez. He is survived by his son Thomas Trujillo and partner Jeanice Swain, daughter Patricia Clay and her husband, John, brother Miguel Trujillo and his wife, Gertrude, sisters Sally Dinn and Maggie McWhorter, grandchildren, Maureen (Andrew) Olsen and their children, Matthew (Kate) Clay and their children, and Devin Clay. Theodore was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 68 years, Mary Jane, and sons Teddy and Carl. After proudly graduating from Menaul School in Albuquerque he went on to attend the University of New Mexico graduating in 1944 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Chemistry as well as from their NROTC program. He was commissioned as a U. S. Navy officer in the South Pacific during World War II. In 1947, Theodore joined the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a biochemist studying the effects of radiation on animal tissue. During his 30 years as a biochemist, he was part of a team that isolated a chemical formula for the blood thinner, Coumadin. Throughout the 1960s, Theodore was Boy Scout leader and volunteered for the Explorer Post in Los Alamos. He was a philatelist and rock collector and traveled throughout the Southwest rockhounding. He was known for being able to find beauty in any piece of gravel he picked up. Theodore worked on the Draft Board in the 1970s. Theodore was a New Mexico historian and had wonderful stories of people from throughout the northern part of the state. He never ran for political office but was a regular volunteer for the local Republican Party. Following his retirement from the Lab in 1977, Theodore and Mary Jane bought a small farm in Bosque Farms where they grew vegetables and fruit and kept horses. Theodore loved camping and fishing, and he and Mary Jane liked square-dancing and playing bridge. He travelled to over 30 countries with his wife and son. The couple eventually moved to Albuquerque where they lived until Mary Jane passed away in 2015. Theodore spent his final two years in Los Alamos so that he could be closer to his son, Thomas.

The family would like to thank the staff of Aspen Ridge Lodge, Los Alamos Visiting Nurses and Dr. Ross Bridge for their compassionate care of their father.

Robert Chacon ’63 – Robert Eugene Chacon, age 72, born in Holman, New Mexico and resident of Albuquerque, passed away Tuesday, February 20, 2018.  Mr. Chacon is survived by his children, Ruby Olivas and husband, Timothy, Henry Moreno, Diana Sanchez, Emily Sanchez and husband, Leonard; nine grandchildren; nineteen great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Judy Chacon; two nieces and one nephew.  Mr. Chacon was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 43 years, Rafaela; parents, Eugenio and Virginia Chacon and brother, Leroy Chacon. Robert was a proud graduate of Menaul High School and an educator with a Master’s degree from Pepperdine University.  He was a Vietnam veteran, born and raised in Mora, NM and was an avid Raiders fan.

Lena (Montoya) Lucero ’68 – Lena A. Lucero, a resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico passed away on early Sunday morning January 27, 2018 surrounded by her loving Family in Prayers and Tears. Lena was a loving kind hearted and generous person, she was A Mother, Grandmother, Daughter and Sister who will be dearly missed, she was born December 12,1949 in Espanola New Mexico where she was raised in the small town of Cordova, she then resided in Albuquerque where she raised her three children and Resided there until her Passing. She was preceded in death by her Father Luis Montoya, Daughter Lynette Lucero, Brothers Eddie and Lito Montoya and Fiancé Norman Pacheco, Survived by her Daughter Leanne Lucero, Son Lawrence Lucero(Amanda), Grandchildren Daniel War, Victoria Lucero, Jason and Orlando Lucero, mother Candie Montoya, Sisters Kathy Trujillo (Rick) and Dessie Montoya-Soto, Companion Dog Peanut and Six Nephews.