Rare Interview of the Famous Woodcarver Michael B Ortega, born May 20, 1951 – December 3, 2011, son of the famous Master Woodcarver and Santero Ben Ortega Sr. An exclusive look at the New Mexican man behind the creation of thousands of wooden angels and saints, St. Francis being his favorite, and the innovator of the wooden coyote that eventually was and still copied today by many other artists. Teacher and Humanitarian, Mr. O touched the lives of everyone he came across. He welcomed strangers into his home and held no grudges, As humorous as he was loving Michael spent a majority of his life teaching children art and life skills in some of the roughest neighborhoods through The Boys & Girls Club in Santa Fe and surrounding areas. Making life fun and on more than one occasion he spent his lunch money to purchase ice cream for the kids. At Christmas time a family of one of his students could not afford a Christmas tree and Michael showed up at their door with one. Thats the kind of person he was and it was through others that we know about times like these. Wearing shoes with holes and second hand clothes, monetary things did not matter for Mike and eventually the house that he built went under foreclosure. But nothing broke his spirit as long as he had a place to make his art and could help people in need it seemed that was more important. A diabetic, Mike spent his last years in and out of the hospital and on dialysis 3-4 times a week and struggling from many health
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