The first female majority whip in the New Mexico legislature, she knew and served many Presidents. Her stately air conveyed her pride in her identity as a member of a multi-generational New Mexican Hispanic family, and her warmth and curiosity touched many lives, directly and indirectly.
María Concepción Ortiz y Pino de Kleven, or “Concha” as she was called, was a legend in her day. She grew up on her family’s ranch in Galisteo, New Mexico, received a good education beginning with the Sisters of Loretto, became involved in politics, and was elected legislative majority whip in the state legislature. She knew and served many Presidents, and taught and managed her family’s properties. She reportedly had a stately air about her that at once conveyed her pride in who she was, her intelligence, and her self-confidence. Her demeanor also signaled a constant curiosity in the people she met. Her lasting legacy will be her persistent promotion by word, deed, and personal example of her identity as a member of a multi-generational New Mexican Hispanic family.
It was important to Concha to know her family history and her ancestors. For example, she traveled to Cádiz, Spain, to witness the placement of a marker that included the name of her great-grandfather who represented New Mexico in Spain in 1812.
She worked on many boards, including commissions for Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Ford. She tirelessly supported and promoted Hispanic arts and humanities in New Mexico and worked behind the scenes to help advance Hispanic New Mexicans, from writers to politicians, museum directors, and professors. She encouraged youth to maintain their ambitions and loved to learn from them about their families. More times than not, she could recall tales involving their parents or grandparents.
Concha touched many lives, both directly and indirectly, leaving a lasting legacy in her public and private life.
Kathryn M. Cordova, Concha! Concha Ortiz y Pino: Matriarch of a 300 Year-Old New Mexico Legacy. Santa Fe: La Herencia, 2004.
Georgia K. Ulibarri-Ortiz. Cinco Hispanas notables del Suroeste. MA Thesis, New Mexico Highlands University, 2005.
“Concha Ortiz y Pino de Kleven Papers, 1930-1991.” UNM Today, The Center for Southwest Research, Zimmerman Library, UNM www.unm.edu/~market/cgi-bin/archives/000423