December 2020

OUR CLASSMATE STELLA ROMERO recently passed away on Thursday, December 10, 2020, at the age of 72. Feeling heavy-hearted upon writing this, I am filled with dozens of fond memories of Stella ever since we first met in our childhood years in Security.

I won’t go into the usual bio information about Stella because that is covered in an excellent tribute that is enclosed herein. Written by Stella’s daughter Jolene, the tribute covers decades of Stella’s life from her childhood through adult years. Not mentioned in the tribute are two (2) time periods that I will hereby address.

(1) Stella and her twin sister Della were born in the same Colorado Springs hospital (St. Francis Hospital) where I was born the same year. Not only were we born the same year in the same hospital, our respective families lived in the Mexican-American neighborhood known as “Conejos” from the time we were born through our childhood years in the early 1950s. Although it is likely that their parents knew my mother in the Conejos neighborhood, I did not know Stella and Della at that time. We might have played together in the children’s park that was the center of the Conejos neighborhood in those years, but it was always very congested and loud that little kids seldom knew much about one another. Barbara Garrison (WHS Class of 1966) did know Stella and Della in those early years, and Barbara recalls them well during their kindergarten through second-grade years together at Washington Grade School that was several blocks west of the Conejos neighborhood where the Romero family lived. Fondly recalling the Romero twins, Barbara wrote:

“I have such fond memories of Stella and Della throughout our school days together; from kindergarten at Washington Elementary School in Colorado Springs through high school in Security. The Romero sisters were such happy and engaging girls, and we spent many sunny days on the playground or at each other’s homes. Stella had such a big and loving personality, and her bravery, courage and strength in the face of life’s challenges is remarkable. May the source of strength who blesses all of us help Stella and her family through her journey. She is in our prayers. We feel blessed to have known Stella and Della, and we will carry the many memories we have of our school days together with us today and in the months and years to come.”

The first time the Romero twins and I recall meeting each other was when we were in fourth grade in the newly-founded town of Security, which is ten miles south of Colorado Springs.

(2) Their father’s first name was Florentino, which was the name of my Fernández grandfather in the Conejos neighborhood. Born in Fountain, their father went by the shortened version Tino and the nickname “Shorty” when he worked as a meat cutter at Simms Grocery Store in Security. Their parents divorced circa 1964 when Stella and Della were starting their junior year with our classmates at WHS. For many years after the Romero twins left Security to move to California with their grandparents in the summer 1965, Stella and Della always told me that their father’s face “always lit up with a broad smile ear to ear” whenever they mentioned my mother upon talking to their dad about me. The twins said their dad worked in a bar in Colorado Springs, where he resided after he left Security when he and Emma divorced circa 1964. My mother always worked in a Mexican bar in downtown Colorado Springs ever since I was a little boy. The twins and I never knew whether their father and my mother socialized through their respective jobs at bars in Colorado Springs, but they definitely knew one another and had some type of romantic interest after the twins’ parents divorced in 1964 and my mother divorced my stepdad (Collier) two years before that. Sounds like the material for a soap opera, eh?

To learn more about Stella’s health challenges that continued up to her recent death, check out the January 2020 detailed article posted in the “Donnie’s Updates” section of our class website. To learn more about Stella’s twin sister Della, who died in 2001, check out my detailed article that has been posted for many years in the “In Memoriam” section of our class website.

The sad news of Stella’s death was announced by her friend and ex-husband Roy Adams (WHS Class of 1965) via message to the Facebook version of our class website that is managed by our classmate Paul Snell, who contacted me. Roy and Stella are the parents of their three children — Jolene, Jeffrey, Jeremy, 

Please join me in extending condolences to Stella’s surviving family members. To respect their privacy, their street address will not be stated in this update nor will their address be posted on our website that is accessible to anyone in the public. Condolences can be extended via email to this email box and they will be provided to the family.

Listed below is the excellent tribute to Stella by her daughter Jolene.

Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martínez (December 15, 2020)

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martínez is my birth certificate and legal surname


Message from Roy Adams: We lost Stella Romero on Dec. 10, 2020. Here is the tribute to her, written by our daughter, Jolene.

Our beloved Stella Jane Romero passed away peacefully in her home in Mesa, Arizona on December 10, 2020. She was born July 27, 1948 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. At the age of 17 she moved to Los Angeles, California where she graduated from high school in 1966. Upon graduation, she worked at City Hall as the secretary for the Mayor of Los Angeles.

She married her high school sweetheart, Roy I. Adams III, in 1968. As an Air Force family, they were stationed at numerous bases stateside. In 1978, the family moved to Germany where they lived for many years. She remained in Germany for 21 years where she had many jobs working for the Department of the Air Force. She was secretary for the European Communication Command, Secretary for the USAFE Surgeon General, and Secretary for the Commissary Command. Making her way back to the United States, she decided to make her home in Mesa, Arizona where she would be closer to her father and her twin sister, Della and family. She was an executive secretary for the Salt River Pima—Maricopa Indian Community for over 19 years. A high point in her time there was when she was awarded Secretary of the Year. Stella loved her job and her coworkers very much. Being a career executive secretary, Stella took pride in her appearance and always made a point to dress professionally each and every day.

She was a devout Catholic and a member of The Legion of Mary. She served the church in several roles. At one time, she was president of Queen of Peace Praesidium and the treasurer of Comitium. She loved The Lord with all her heart and truly loved serving others.

Stella loved to travel all over Europe and the United States with family and friends making wonderful memories. She loved to play games and laugh and had a great sense of humor. She was a kind and loving mother to her three children and a very proud grandmother.

Preceding Stella in death were her father, Floyd Romero, her mother, Emily Trujillo and her twin sister, Della Birch.

She is survived by her three children: Jolene Oster (Paul), Jeffrey Adams, and Jeremy Adams. Eight grandchildren: Tyler Oster, Ryan Oster (SeungYeon), Davis Oster, Devynn, Naomi Adams, Jenna Adams, Nathan Adams, and Jonathan Adams, and one great grandson, Joon Oster. She is survived by two sisters, Judy Torregrossa [WHS Class of 1964] and Pauline Romero [WHS Class of 1965], and one brother-in-law, Dick Birch [surviving husband of Della]. Stella also has many nieces and nephews who she adored and loved very much.

Stella was blessed with so many wonderful friends throughout her life and will be missed dearly by all. The family would like to thank everyone who kept Stella in their prayers the past two years and for all the love and support given to her.

A memorial service will be held at Queen of Peace located at 141 North McDonald, Mesa, AZ on Sunday, December 21, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations please be made to Queen of Peace Catholic Church ( or St. Vincent de Paul ( in Stella’s name.