Boldface names of Downtown's past - Alert Reader edition

Y'all nominated some pretty interesting people
Octaviano Larrazolo once lived near 4th and Iron. He was also a New Mexico governor and the first Hispanic U.S. Senator.
Editor's note: Not long after we put out a January feature on the final resting places of Clyde Tingley, William Lovelace, Franz Huning, Mary Fox, and other greater Downtown luminaries from times gone by, we got a few other excellent suggestions for similar mini-profiles from Alert Readers John, Joaquin, and Steve. Happy reading...
Octaviano Ambrosio Larrazolo, first Hispanic U.S. Senator (1859-1930)
Larrazolo grew up in a wealthy family in Valle de Allende, a rural hamlet in central Chihuahua about seven hour's drive south from Ciudad Juarez. That wealth, however, was not to last: French troops seized the family's landholdings as part of a larger conflict in the 1860s, and that in turn inspired them to ship 11-year-old Octaviano off to a family friend who also happened to be a bishop in Arizona.

After five years living in Tucson, he matriculated at the now-defunct St. Michael's College in Santa Fe and eventually became a school teacher - not a priest, as the bishop had hoped. He studied law in El Paso, got involved in politics, and settled in Las Vegas, New Mexico, where he soon made a name for himself defending Latino civil rights, including as a delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1911. (That constitution ultimately cemented the rights granted to New Mexicans under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and ensured the provision of bilingual education, among other victories.)

Larrazolo was governor for two years (1919-1921) and after another brief stint in El Paso relocated to Albuquerque, where he practiced law in the Grant Building, at 3rd and Central, living just a few blocks away near 4th and Iron in a house that, judging by historic aerial photos, appears to have been demolished or drastically remodeled in the late 1940s or 1950s.

(We know he lived there - at 409 Iron Ave. NW - thanks only to 100-year-old paperwork dealing with some Las Vegas-area water rights dug up by Alert Reader Joaquin. Read it here and here.) 

Larrazolo seems to have spent the better part of the 1920s applying for or running for political jobs. President Warren Harding considered him for the post of Governor of Puerto Rico but ultimately gave it to someone else. In 1924, he lost a race for the New Mexico Supreme Court.

His 1928 election to the U.S. Senate was a major accomplishment but not one he ultimately got to enjoy much. Suffering from poor health, he attended only one session in Washington before returning to Albuquerque. He died on April 8, 1930, and is buried at the Mount Calvary Cemetery in the Santa Barbara-Martineztown neighborhood.
Margaret Brewington, family physician and talk of the town (1886 or 1887-1971)
Brewington grew up in Scotland and received her medical education at the University of Edinburgh, and while research by Alert Reader Steve hasn't been able to narrow down exactly when she came to Albuquerque, she sure took the town by storm when she did.

"She delivered between four and five thousand babies in the Albuquerque area," said Steve, who took a special interest in the doctor because his grandmother, a nurse, worked with Brewington for about 20 years.

Brewington practiced at several offices around greater Downtown, including near Edith and Central, 3rd and Central, 1st and Gold, 10th and Park, Arno and Silver, and possibly in Old Town. (The city directories of the time aren't entirely clear if that was a residence or office, Steve said.) She was also involved with a home for unmarried pregnant women located on Romero in Old Town.

"Dr. Brewington also owned a small motel/mineral baths in Jemez Springs which either she or her late husband bought in the 1920s when physicians thought that mineral hot springs might have some legitimate medical value," Steve continued. "Eventually Dr. Brewington donated the Jemez Springs property to the Catholic Church, which went on to buy nearby properties and establish a retreat."

That retreat was later used by the Congregation of the Servants of the Paraclete as a home for wayward priests and eventually attracted all manner of scandal and prosecutorial scrutiny.

When not practicing medicine, Brewington managed to become something of a media darling.

"Dr. Margaret Brewington, Miss Elsa and Miss Schroeder, in the company of Mrs. W. Burk and her daughter, Miss Irene, are planning to motor to Jemez on Thursday for the Indian dances there," proclaimed one newspaper notice in 1930.

An attempt by some area youths to steal her car also got in the paper, as did a separate incident involving a home invasion. Her trip to Europe two years later fetched a five-paragraph preview article, and she was even called upon later to expound on the British economic scene.

"Rich and poor, everyone is traveling, jamming the mountain and ocean resorts until accommodations are hard to obtain," she told the Journal in 1935 - the middle of the Great Depression. "Everyone is cheerful, too."
Virginia Abeyta, an executive at the future KRQE with a CIA pilot husband (1919-1997) 
Though born in Moriarty, Abeyta spent her formative years in Albuquerque, where she attended high school at St. Mary's and later got what seems to have been a series of jobs at KGGM, a radio station that later added a TV station, which a few decades later changed its call letters to KRQE.

Abeyta, often known as "Virgie," married Benjamin Osuna in 1942 at San Felipe de Neri, and he appears to have shipped off to the war a couple of months later. The couple lived near 9th and Iron in Barelas, though they later divorced and Abeyta moved to a house near 14th and Lomas.

She is listed in newspaper articles alternately as an "employee," "performer," and "executive" at the company that controlled the broadcasting outfits. Whatever shape it took, however, the relationship with her employer also seems to have been contentious.

She sued the company in 1954, alleging that she had been partially disabled after falling down the negligently-maintained stairs of the KiMo Theater, where the station was once located. Eleven years later, she sued for wrongful termination after being fired, a case that seems to have been promptly settled.

Abeyta then skipped town, got a job in Hollywood, and married Roy Francis Townley, a pilot for Air America, an airline covertly owned by the CIA. He went missing while flying somewhere over Laos in 1971 and his remains were only found and repatriated in 2019.

Abeyta returned to New Mexico after his death, at one point opening an RV park with her brother in Pecos, according to Alert Reader John, whose grandparents bought the house on 14th from her. She died in 1997 and is buried at Mount Calvary Cemetary.
Send in your nominations for a prominent Downtowner of yore
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