Cover photo for Maria Elena Chagolla's Obituary
Maria Elena Chagolla Profile Photo
1944 Maria 2022

Maria Elena Chagolla

May 16, 1944 — August 21, 2022

Maria Elena Chagolla, affectionately known as Peewee, was guided on to the next step of her journey at the age of 78, on Sunday, August 21, 2022. Maria Elena passed away surrounded by three generations of family and love at her cherished home, built for her by her loving husband, in Peoria, Arizona. Maria Elena was Born May 16, 1944, in Santa Rita, New Mexico to Eustacio and Jacinta Placencio and grew up in Bayard, New Mexico with her 10 siblings where she attended Cobre High School until her junior year. She later completed her GED in 1981 and this was one of her proudest self-accomplishments. Maria Elena met the love of her life while visiting family in Arizona and fell deeply in love after a whirlwind but long-distance relationship. Maria Elena was married on June 27, 1964, to Norbert Chagolla (Sr.) at her childhood parish Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Bayard, New Mexico and moved to Arizona immediately after to build a life and family in Peoria. Maria Elena was an at-home mother and homemaker for the primary years of her thirteen children’s lives. After her youngest had started in school, Maria Elena ventured out into the workforce, first employed at a consignment furniture store, and then finding her preferred vocation in the culinary field with her true talent and joy being found in all forms of baking. She was employed by Peoria School District as a baker, while also working from home as a free-lance wedding cake baker/decorator. Later she was an in-home childcare provider where she was able to care for her own grandchildren as well as others, she became known as Nana to all the children she helped to care for and loved them all just as her own. A long-time parishioner of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Maria Elena also served as sacristy volunteer, pre-cana class instructor, eucharistic minister, and catechism instructor over her years of involvement in the church. It was in her catechism instructor role that she truly exhibited her love for teaching God’s way to children, taking particular care and attention to planning Christmas plays where she directed, choreographed and both designed & sewed students’ costumes. Maria Elena was consistently involved in church groups and volunteer opportunities becoming family and friend to all she met. She held the role of leader of the daily rosary prayer group at the weekday Masses for many years. Maria Elena leaves a long legacy of loving acts as a faithful servant of the Lord. Maria Elena had many hobbies that brought her joy, which included solving jigsaw puzzles, baking delicious cakes and breads, sewing clothes for her children, and crocheting various gifts for her family, eager to patiently teach these talents to anyone that showed an interest. Maria Elena’s most treasured subject was talking about her husband, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She would beam with pride telling both her newfound and long-established friends about their lives and accomplishments. Maria Elena is survived by her husband of 58 years, Norbert Chagolla Sr., her thirteen children: Catalina Chagolla, Norbert Chagolla Jr., Paul and (Monica) Chagolla, Eugene and (Veronica) Chagolla, Bernadette Allen, (Fred) and Loretta Browning, (Francisco) and Alejandra Cota, (Augustine) and Cynthia Gonzales, (Felix) and Carmen Sanchez, Carlos and (Jessica) Chagolla, Donna Chin, (Ruben) and Veronica Carroll, (Angel) and Yvonne Torres, her 42 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren, siblings: Lupe Molina, Bernardo Placencio, Nick Placencio, Soccoro Placencio, and sister-niece Doris Marin. Maria Elena is pre-deceased by her parents Eustacio and Jacinta Placencio, siblings: Ruth Polanco, Rosenda Armendariz, Epifania Ybarra, Natalia Rolf, Lorenza Placencio, and Eustacio Placencio Jr., and by 2 great-grandchildren. Visitation for Maria Elena will be on Tuesday, August 30, 2022, 5:00 to 7:00 pm, Menke Funeral Home Sun City, AZ; Mass to be held Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 10:00am at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church Peoria, AZ with interment to follow at 11:30am, West Resthaven Cemetery 6450 W Northern Ave, Glendale, AZ.
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Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)

Visitation will be in Menke's Sun City Room (the building directly behind our parking lot).

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