As a front desk receptionist at the Diocese of Orange Pastoral Center in Garden Grove, Maria Montoya was often the first diocesan employee to greet visitors when they arrived. A key figure who fully embraced her role by welcoming everyone with a smile, Maria helped ensure that necessary security protocols were being followed at the Christ Cathedral Campus.
Maria, who died on New Year’s Day at age 71 after a battle with COVID-19, was also the voice callers often heard when she fielded their questions and deftly directed their calls. Whether interacting with visitors in person or on the phone, to everyone she encountered, Maria excelled by establishing a proper front desk atmosphere and providing the ministry with exemplary hospitality.
An Anaheim resident whose life was deeply devoted to her family and faith, she was born Maria Torres on April 10, 1949, in El Paso, Texas.
She was raised in Orange County and graduated from Fountain Valley High School. In 1974, she married Robert I. Montoya at the old mission of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Santa Ana. He preceded her in death after his passing in 1999.
Maria was employed at Pacific Bell prior to working for more than two decades at the Diocese of Orange.
She maintained a deep devotion to Our Mother and would say the Rosary nightly.
Maria loved dancing, playing poker and taking long drives. She closely followed Angels baseball, having such loyalty to her Anaheim team that she would watch nearly every game wherever she was, whether on TV or at the stadium. Maria also adored Disney and Disneyland. The latter was a place where she enjoyed watching the parades, the fireworks, going on rides with her grandson Benjamin, or just grabbing a corn dog.
Maria is survived by her son, Armando; daughter Cecilia Galiana and son-in-law Damien Galiana; and grandson Benjamin Galiana, with whom she shared an especially deep bond. She always lovingly referred to him as “My Benjamin.”