It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Ellen Alires-Trujillo on June 17, 2023. Ellen was not only a beloved member of our community, but also one of the longest-serving CHBA Board members of all time. Ellen Alires-Trujillo was a champion for our community and a trailblazer in her field. As one of the first Latina attorneys at Colorado Legal Services, she dedicated more than three decades of her life to advocating for those in our community who needed help the most: low-income adults, single mothers, immigrants, the elderly, and veterans. Her expertise spanned various areas, including housing, family health, and elder law. In a collaboration with Children’s Hospital, Ellen provided leadership in developing Colorado’s first Medical Legal Partnership Program, a delivery model in which she worked with doctors and social workers to address legal issues that drive poor health and contribute to health inequities.
Ellen’s remarkable contributions did not go unnoticed. She was the recipient of numerous accolades, including the CHBA Chris Miranda Outstanding Attorney of the Year Award. In 2019, she was inducted into the Latina Legacy Circle and in 2021 named a Latinas First Foundation Trailblazer, a testament to her enduring impact and influence.
Ellen believed in the importance of planting the seeds of success, civic engagement, and education early in a child’s life. She volunteered with Community Resource Inc, in the Denver Public School District for many years mentoring students, introducing them to other attorneys that looked like them, and taking them to the courthouse to meet with judges so they might envision themselves on the bench and believe that they, too, could sit in that seat someday. She also mentored college and law school students throughout her career.
Ellen had a passion for cultural preservation and education, and, together with her husband Lorenzo Trujillo and others, was a founding member of Hilos Culturales promoting pride and understanding of the Indio-Hispano traditions of Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. Additionally, she co-authored Hispanic Pioneers in Colorado and New Mexico, a book published by the Colorado Society of Hispanic Genealogy that sheds light on the rich history of our region.
Ellen leaves behind a remarkable legacy that will continue to inspire us for generations to come. In 2022, the CHBA Foundation announced a scholarship in honor of Ellen and Lorenzo to support Latina/Latino law students dedicated to public service. Contributions can be made to the Alires-Trujillo/Trujillo Scholarship here: https://chba.net/donate/donate-to-the-chba-foundation/
A memorial service to celebrate Ellen’s life will be held on June 27, 2023, at 6:00 pm at Word Alive Church, located at 650 E. 124th Ave. in Thornton, Colorado (at the intersection of Washington St. and 124th Ave.). Additionally, a Mass of Resurrection will take place on June 28, 2023, at 9:00 am at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, situated at 1530 Logan St. in Denver, Colorado (at the intersection of Colfax Ave. and Logan St.)
As we mourn the loss of Ellen Alires-Trujillo, let us also celebrate the remarkable life she led and the positive change she brought to our community.