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Solitary former Marine gains community in death

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Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014 11:30 pm | Updated: 11:11 pm, Wed Feb 12, 2014.

Eloy Timothy Tafoya was last seen alive on New Year’s Eve when police visited his Casa Solana neighborhood apartment to check on him. An acquaintance and his former employer reported that he had uncharacteristically failed to respond to their attempts to reach him.

Officers knocked on his door around 10:42 a.m., according to police. Tafoya, 60, a solitary figure who rarely revealed anything about himself to co-workers or acquaintances, answered and told them he was OK.

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15 comments:

  • Mark Lewis posted at 6:06 pm on Sat, Feb 22, 2014.

    Loudog Posts: 1

    Thanks to all of you for sharing this. Let me tell you about Tim Tafoya. He was the only person I ever called my best friend and he was my son's godfather. He was first in the Marine Corps near the end of the Vietnam war in VMO-2 working on OV-10s. He had orders to deploy to Vietnam but those were cancelled as the draw down began. He got out for a few years and learned he was "always a Marine" and came back. I first met him in 1982 in HMH-361, my first squadron and his first after returning. Tim taught me how to be a professional and do things right. We then followed each other to HMH-772 in Alameda. When I went to COMNAVAIRLANT in Norfolk, Tim went to HMX-1. Then we both went to HMT-301 in K-Bay. He loved shitters (H-53s) as much as we all do. He would do anything for me and my family and many times did. I had brief contact with Tim just after he retired and then he just disappeared. I have been searching for Tim for years fearing something like this would happen. Tim needed the Corps and I feared how he would adjust after active duty. I have recently moved to Las Vegas and had plans to go to New Mexico to look for him this summer. Now, I will still go to honor him and ensure his grave site is a squared away as he would demand it. RIP!

     
  • Edward Bunker posted at 10:38 am on Thu, Feb 13, 2014.

    Chevedus Posts: 1

    All too often are our veterans forgotten by society. I, as many other vets, feel great sorrow when ANY of our comrades pass on. It is such a great waste of life that goes unused or even when the powers that be can not even acknowledge there is a problem. PLEASE DO NOT FORGET!!!!!
    Thank you to Sgt Tafoya and all our service members for everything you sacrifice.

     
  • oscar michael posted at 12:28 pm on Wed, Feb 12, 2014.

    oscar mike Posts: 93

    "if the army and the navy ever look on heavens scenes,
    they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines!'

    Semper Fi

     
  • eduardo saiz posted at 9:21 pm on Tue, Feb 11, 2014.

    ed Saiz Posts: 5

    Eloy Tafoya; May God Bless You and Keep You in His care.
    Semper Fi. From Ed Saiz formally from Tesuque, New Mexico now in Auburn, Ca.

     
  • Barbara Harrelson posted at 4:01 pm on Tue, Feb 11, 2014.

    barbarah1 Posts: 19

    I too feel that this is a heartbreaking story, but am so proud of our community, and all those who have made sure that he will be laid to rest like the honorable person he was, someone who served us and our country. Both my father (now deceased) and my brother were Marines, and I share that proud tradition. About 2:30 this afternoon, I was buying groceries and could not get thru the intersection at St. Francis/Cerrillos because the police had it blocked for some reason. As I sat there, waiting, I saw the motorcade of police vehicles and many, many motorcyclists escorting him. I had read the story and realized that's what it was. I got choked up...but am thankful that he had this honor. Only wish we could have helped him sooner.

     
  • AGarcia posted at 1:26 pm on Tue, Feb 11, 2014.

    AGarcia Posts: 10

    The Marine stood and faced God
    Which must always come to pass
    He hoped his shoes were shining
    Just as brightly as his brass.
    "Step forward now, you Marine,
    How shall I deal with you?
    Have you always turned the other cheek?
    To My Church have you been true?"
    The Marine squared his shoulders and
    said, "No, Lord, I guess I ain't
    Because those of us who carry guns
    Can't always be a saint.
    I've had to work most Sundays
    And at times my talk was tough,
    And sometimes I've been violent,
    Because the world is awfully rough.
    But, I never took a penny
    That wasn't mine to keep...
    Though I worked a lot of overtime
    When the bills got just too steep,
    And I never passed a cry for help,
    Though at times I shook with fear,
    And sometimes, God forgive me,
    I've wept unmanly tears.
    I know I don't deserve a place
    Among the people here,
    They never wanted me around
    Except to calm their fears.
    If you've a place for me here, Lord,
    It needn't be so grand,
    I never expected or had too much,
    But if you don't, I'll understand."
    There was a silence all around the throne
    Where the saints had often trod
    As the Marine waited quietly,
    For the judgment of his God,
    "Step forward now, you Marine,
    You've borne your burdens well,
    Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
    You've done your time in Hell."

    You've borne your burdens, Marine, rest in peace. Perhaps your lonely death will help others to remember our vets.
    Semper Fi, my brother-in-arms.

     
  • lore posted at 12:13 pm on Tue, Feb 11, 2014.

    lore Posts: 1

    Descanse en pas hermano.

     
  • Joseph Hempfling posted at 11:09 am on Tue, Feb 11, 2014.

    joehempfling Posts: 125

    Can't find the words, even of condolence, that can express my feelings for what SSGT Tafoya had to do to get his message across. And may he rest in peace as we take up our/his fight . No matter what the cost, no matter what the circumstances we must and will win and in doing so honor him who in so many ways gave his life for us. God Speed SSGT Tafoya and thank you for your long years of service despite it's tragic ending.

     
  • JHern posted at 10:01 am on Tue, Feb 11, 2014.

    JHern Posts: 1

    Your duty is done Marine. Lay your head to rest. Fair winds and following Seas SSGT Tafoya. Semper Fi!
    Hooaah! Airborne All the Way!

     
  • DIANA SANDOVAL posted at 8:32 am on Tue, Feb 11, 2014.

    DMCSANDOVAL Posts: 3

    [sad] Heartbreaking. What a sad, sad story. Thank you, Mr. Tafoya, for your service. I'm so sorry that you felt unappreciated. May you find peace now. And thank you to Rivera Funeral Home and to SF Police Dept. Chaplain Villegas for giving this hero the respect he deserves.

     
  • Arthur Espinoza posted at 8:30 am on Tue, Feb 11, 2014.

    Spinoza Posts: 6

    Semper Fi to a forgotten brother... REST IN PEACE....

     
  • Gil Gutierez posted at 8:25 am on Tue, Feb 11, 2014.

    tumbler Posts: 1

    As a ex veteran myself , I can imagine how my comrade felt before this tragic of a loss of life happen. My prayers of Love and compassion go out to my fellow brother of service May our Lord be ever forgiven and may you rest in Peace my brother

     
  • Sally Cloud posted at 7:54 am on Tue, Feb 11, 2014.

    sally cloud Posts: 2

    This breaks my heart~ Rest in Peace, Tim Tafoya~

     
  • Francisco Carbajal posted at 6:59 am on Tue, Feb 11, 2014.

    FranciscoCarbajal Posts: 160

    Excellent story about how our local community from the grass root level takes care of our unclaimed military veterans. I heard that the Rivera's Funeral Home in Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Police Department Chaplain were the best kept secret for taking care of the unclaimed human remains of our military veteran's in the community. Now, due to their corporal of mercy work, the media exposure in today's press release, maybe the public would be more educated about how many military veterans go unclaimed for one reason or another. And regardless on how a military veteran dies in their community (e,g., suicide, homicide, unattended death, etc.), their human remains need to be properly interred unto sacred grounds at the Santa Fe National Cemetery in a dignified and respectful manner immediately. The waiting period of two years after cremation is too long for being unclaimed and sitting on a shelf somewhere in NM is deplorable. As the Santa Fe Police Department Chaplain who eloquently stated, "I am claiming him as someone from the community, He was a stranger to me. But I know he is a veteran, a Marine like me. Marines are taught never to leave their dead." By reading the last paragraph, it hit me at home. I guess now he is not a stranger anymore to the Police Chaplain, but a family member to him. Wow, what a story. [thumbup]

     
  • Ron Romero posted at 3:08 am on Tue, Feb 11, 2014.

    RonRomero Posts: 38

    This is the most heart breaking story I have read in years. God Bless Eloy Timothy Tafoya and may his death be a wake up call to our community.

     
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