Murray Gell-Mann, a pioneering giant in the world of physics, coined the term “quark” and co-founded the Santa Fe Institute.
Lily Gonzales, certainly no giant at 5-foot-nothing, was a pioneer for women in the Santa Fe Police Department, where she worked for 20 years.
Gilbert Delgado had such a passion for deaf education that he broke new ground in making materials available to hearing-impaired students in both specialized and mainstream schools.
Gell-Mann, Gonzales and Delgado are among the people with strong local ties who died in 2019 after leaving their mark on Northern New Mexico, the nation or even the world. Among them are prominent artists and educators, powerful politicians and judges, journalists, military veterans, standout athletes, business people and philanthropists.
We bid farewell to some, like former Ambassador Joe Wilson, who were drawn here after impressive careers. Others were native to the area and built their legacies here, such as beloved musician Ernestine Saucedo, former Doodlet’s store owner Theo Raven, Ohkay Owingeh artist Romancita Sandoval and state Sen. John Pinto — a Navajo Code Talker during World War II.
Today, we celebrate their lives and contributions, which will continue to have an effect long after their deaths.
Mother Rose Teresa, 89, Jan. 6
Mother Rose Teresa, described as a generous soul, was prioress at the Carmelite Monastery on Santa Fe’s east side for almost half a century.
According to a published obituary, she arrived in 1950. “She came to Santa Fe from Chicago by train, and never wanted to leave the Sangre de Cristo foothills and the beauty of New Mexico.”
Donald Meyer, 84, Jan. 8
Donald Meyer, a retired attorney and longtime Santa Fe resident whose decades of civic involvement, passion for the arts and social dynamism helped spur the development of the Railyard and SITE Santa Fe, died after a yearslong battle with dementia.
As vice president of the board of the Santa Fe Railyard Community Corp. from 1998 to 2017, Meyer helped negotiate and lobby for the Railyard’s master plan.
Bob Quick, 77, Jan. 10
Bob Quick, who worked in Santa Fe journalism for nearly three decades, died after a lengthy battle with Lewy body dementia. He was 77.
After freelancing for The New Mexican for several years, Quick began working full time at the paper in 1987. He retired in 2012.
Born in Kansas City, Mo., Quick joined the Army Security Agency in 1963. He later lived in New York City for eight years, driving a taxi and teaching German. He then taught English in Germany and German in Australia. He lived in China from 1979 to 1981, where he learned Mandarin and Cantonese.
Thomas C. Hicks Jr., 91, Jan. 14
When sculptor Thomas C. Hicks Jr. and architect Gil Beach started the Shidoni Foundry in Tesuque in 1971, it was on the site of a chicken coop that once belonged to an egg ranch.
Hicks, his wife Dorothy and Beach transformed the 5-acre site into what would become one of the largest fine-art foundries in the U.S., with a live-work venue for artists, a bronze sculpture gallery, art gallery and two outdoor sculpture gardens.
Hicks, a Texas native, was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, serving in World War II and the Korean War.
Thomas Wayne Williamson, 60, Jan. 14
The death of a 60-year-old man in a sleeping bag outside a downtown Starbucks might have helped spur action in Santa Fe.
The passing of Thomas Wayne Williamson, an Army veteran who was known throughout Santa Fe, came as Mayor Alan Webber embarked on a new initiative to end veteran and chronic homelessness in the city, the Built for Zero Collaborative.
The story of Williamson’s death brought closure to his family in Texas, who had been searching for him for 18 years. He was buried with military honors at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.
Lemonia Komis, 96, Jan. 18
Longtime Santa Fe restaurateur, entrepreneur and matriarch Lemonia Komis, who along with her husband, John Komis, owned the old El Patio Cafe, was remembered by loved ones as a feisty, funny, loving woman.
Lemonia Komis was born in Panopoulo, Greece, the ninth of 10 children. She immigrated to Albuquerque in 1947 and settled in Santa Fe with her husband a year later.
For 43 years, the couple owned and operated El Patio Cafe and its predecessor, Ship Ahoy Cafe.
Theodore “Ted” Lockwood, 94, Jan. 21
Theodore “Ted” Lockwood, the founding president of Montezuma-based United World College-USA, helmed the renowned two-year boarding high school near Las Vegas, N.M., from its opening in 1982 until 1993.
He was born in Hanover, N.H., graduated as valedictorian from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., and went on to receive master’s and doctoral degrees from Princeton University.
After taking on teaching and administrator roles at some of the Northeast’s most prestigious colleges and universities, Lockwood returned to Trinity College in 1967 as its president.
In the early 1980s, Lockwood helped found United World College-USA alongside industrialist and philanthropist Armand Hammer.
Michael Varela, 72, Jan. 26
Michael Varela, known by many as “Mikey V” — a man with an upbeat personality — was a former executive director of the Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority who spent almost 30 years working on affordable housing in and around Santa Fe.
In 1998, he was recognized as president and Member of the Year of the Santa Fe Fiesta Council, and in 2006, he served as president of the Santa Fe Country Club, where he was once an avid golfer. He also was one of the founders of the St. Michael’s High School Foundation, which helps children from low-income families receive an education at the private school.
Henry “Kiki” Saavedra, 81, Jan. 28
Henry “Kiki” Saavedra, who represented an Albuquerque South Valley district in the New Mexico House of Representatives for nearly 40 years, died after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for a couple of years.
Saavedra, a Democrat who was retired from Albuquerque city government, served in Legislature from 1977 through 2014 and chaired the House Appropriations and Finance Committee in his final years at the Roundhouse.
Ray Vinella, 85, Feb. 3
Taos artist Ray Vinella, known as one of the “Taos Six,” died of heart failure.
Born in Bari, Italy, Vinella came to the U.S. at age 2 in 1935, according to an online biography.
He was raised in New York’s Lower East Side and joined the U.S. Air Force at 17 during the Korean War. He later attended the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, majoring in illustration, and worked in Pittsburgh as an industrial illustrator and in California for Lockheed and Disney Productions, working on the classic film Mary Poppins.
Vinella moved to Taos in 1969, according to the biography.
Peter Chinni, 90, Feb. 5
Internationally known modern art sculptor and Taos resident Peter Chinni, 90, died after suffering a head injury in a fall.
Chinni quickly cemented his place in Taos’ community of artists after his arrival in 2004.
The Taos Arts Council nominated Chinni for a Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in February 2018, although, he wasn’t selected for the honor.
Marie Pinto Ortiz, 86, Feb. 18
Marie Pino Ortiz had been one of the oldest living Santa Fe Fiesta queens. Daughter Angela Evans said her mother died following a lengthy illness.
Pino Ortiz, a Santa Fe native, graduated from Loretto Academy in downtown Santa Fe.
And in 1950, she was named La Reina de la Fiesta.
She married Leonard Pino in 1954. The couple had four daughters.
Pino Ortiz worked as a nurse and X-ray technician for Dr. Louis Zucal, a longtime Santa Fe physician.
John S. “Bud” Catron, 91, Feb. 20
John S. “Bud” Catron, a longtime Santa Fe lawyer and philanthropist, and grandson of one of New Mexico’s preeminent statesmen, died at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center from complications following a fall.
Family members remembered him as an intuitively talented attorney, a charming gentleman and a generous soul. Catron served as a member of the board of directors and president of the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society and as a member of the board of managers of the School for Advanced Research.
Jeremiah Archuleta, 9, Feb. 22 Dominic Archuleta, 34, March 2
Santa Fe mourned Gonzales Community School fourth grader Jeremiah Archuleta, who was killed in a crash on St. Francis Drive as his father, who was fatally injured, had been driving him to school. Dominic Archuleta died days later.
The father was a dedicated volunteer at the school and coached his son’s football team.
Melissa Gaillour, Jeremiah’s teacher at Gonzales, told a crowd that had gathered at a public memorial for the father and son, “Every morning, I was greeted by the biggest smile. Jeremiah was full of life.”
Lily Gonzales, 84, Feb. 24
“For her being 5 feet, she was a force to be reckoned with,” said Lily Gonzales’ daughter, Miquela Gonzales.
Lily Gonzales, whose groundbreaking careers as a cop and probate judge belied her petite stature and humble origins, died after suffering for years from dementia.
A mother of three, she became a Santa Fe police officer in the early 1960s. She wasn’t the first female officer in the history of the department, but was perhaps the first to make it a long-term career: She worked for the department for about 20 years and was the first woman to retire from the force.
Teresa Hernandez, 88, Feb. 24
Among Teresa Hernandez’s passions were colcha embroidery, watching Spanish-language novelas and making the famed Frito pie — which arguably should have been trademarked decades ago by the Woolworth’s store on the Santa Fe Plaza or its successor, the Five and Dime General Store.
Though she’s gone, family members say her legacy will last forever.
“The [Frito pie] she introduced was a worldwide thing, you know? People from all over the world have eaten her recipe,” said Hernandez’s nephew, Fred Gutierrez.
Romancita Sandoval, 95, Feb. 27
Romancita Sandoval, an Ohkay Owingeh embroidery artist, known for her attention to detail, natural themes and passion for teaching her craft, passed on the tradition to younger generations.
One of her traditional mantas was displayed at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Around Santa Fe, Sandoval was dedicated to sharing her work with local students. She taught Pueblo sewing and embroidery at Santa Fe Indian School in the 1980s and was a co-founder of the Oke Owengee Crafts Co-op.
Diane Bird, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture archivist, called Sandoval “the epitome of a Pueblo woman.”
Loretta Armenta, 75, March 6
Despite not graduating from high school, Santa Fe native and businesswoman Loretta Armenta amassed academic certificates and used her skills to lobby for social change across the nation and the world. By the end of her life, she’d met three sitting presidents: Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
And when her son, Andre, was born with severe disabilities in 1970, Armenta set to work crafting and lobbying for policy changes that would make life easier for families like hers.
Armenta, the former CEO of telephone and internet company Qwest New Mexico, died in Albuquerque after a three-month battle with kidney cancer.
Robert Burns Hilley, 91, March 7
There seemed to be no way to keep Robert Burns Hilley down: The retired doctor and Air Force veteran took a three-week vacation to Australia and New Zealand in 2019, just a week before he died of natural causes.
Hired as New Mexico’s second pathologist in the early 1960s, Hilley lived in Santa Fe for well over 50 years, until he moved to Oregon a few years ago, said his daughter Joan Grant.
She and other family members described him as a man who was always on the move — biking, hiking and backpacking until nearly the end of his life.
During the Korean War, Hilley served as a doctor in the U.S. Air Force.
Family members still enjoy telling the story of how he donated blood to save a South Korean soldier when no one else would.
Thomas Donnelly, 89, April 17
Retired New Mexico Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Donnelly died in his bed at his home with his wife, Paula, at his side.
Donnelly’s lengthy career in public service included eight years as a First Judicial District judge and 19 years on the New Mexico Court of Appeals.
Before that, he served as a private lawyer, an assistant state attorney general and a staff attorney for the New Mexico Legislature, where he is credited with drafting the first overhaul of the state’s criminal code since territorial days.
Manuel Lujan Jr., 90, April 25
Manuel Lujan Jr., a Santa Fe native, represented New Mexico for two decades in the U.S. House of Representatives and later served as secretary of the Interior Department.
In 1980, the House passed his New Mexico Wilderness Act, which protected 600,000 acres in the state, including the Dome Wilderness of Santa Fe National Forest.
He served in Congress from 1969-89 — an era he defined as a much different time in American politics.
“Back then, the Republicans and Democrats all got along, and we patronized each other’s watering holes,” Lujan, a quiet Republican with a broad grin, told The New Mexican in 2010. “Today things are so different — it’s no longer a friendly place.”
Lujan was born on his family’s small farm near San Ildefonso Pueblo, where his grandfather had a little store. He was raised in Santa Fe and attended public schools before graduating from St. Michael’s High School in 1946. He attended St. Michael’s College, earning a degree in 1950 as a member of the first graduating class after it became known as the College of Santa Fe.
Dan Cordtz, 92, May 4
Dan Cordtz, a Santa Fe resident, was a longtime newsman who pioneered television business news coverage for the ABC network.
Cordtz was born in Gary, Ind., and attended Wheaton College in Illinois and Marquette University in Wisconsin before enlisting in the U.S. Navy.
Following his military stint, Cordtz graduated from the Stanford University Journalism School in 1949.
According to a 1984 profile in Washington Journalism Review, Cordtz got a job on the copy desk of the Wall Street Journal‘s San Francisco bureau and then became news editor of the Hanford Sentinel in California.
He worked for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine before ABC News hired him in 1974 as economics editor.
He received numerous awards, including an Emmy and a Christopher Award.
Jeremy Brooks, 22, May 5
A Santa Fe Prep graduate was among 41 people killed when a plane made a fiery crash landing at a Moscow airport.
Jeremy Brooks, an accomplished angler known to have an encyclopedic knowledge of local waterways, was traveling to northwestern Russia after landing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work for eight months as a fly fishing guide with the Ponoi River Co., his friends said.
Murray Gell-Mann, 89, May 24
Renowned physicist, Nobel laureate and Santa Fe resident Murray Gell-Mann may have become famous for gazing into the tiniest building blocks of the universe, but in the end, it was his fascination with larger-scale complex systems that completed his vision of the world.
A son of Jewish immigrants, Gell-Mann veered from an early love of archaeology to study physics at Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He received the Nobel Prize in 1969 for his work on the theory of elementary particles. He coined the term “quark.”
Jenna Marshall, a spokeswoman for the Santa Fe Institute, which Gell-Mann co-founded in 1984, said Gell-Mann’s assistant confirmed he died peacefully in his east-side home.
“It’s a great loss,” Institute President David Krakauer said. “I think the institute is kind of a manifestation of his imagination.”
John Pinto, 94, May 24
State Sen. John Pinto, one of the last of the famed Navajo Code Talkers of World War II, died at his home in Gallup. Pinto, a Democrat, also was the longest-serving sitting legislator in New Mexico. He had been a senator since 1977.
Fellow lawmakers, some in their 30s, marveled at working alongside this diminutive, soft-spoken former Marine who was part of the group of Navajos who helped vanquish the Japanese Army.
Before the Code Talkers were deployed, Japanese soldiers had broken many U.S. codes on battle plans in the South Pacific. Pinto and some 400 other Navajos changed all that. They used more than 200 words of the Navajos’ unwritten Diné language to create coded messages that frustrated Japanese interceptors and advanced the American war effort.
Robert Martinez, 79, May 27
Like many Santa Fe jewelry shop owners, Robert Martinez spent a lot of time talking to customers about the inventory in the store window, on the shelves and in cases.
But Martinez also had an ace in the hole. He could style a visitor’s hair.
The longtime owner of Tribal Reflections and Cutting Edge Men’s Hairstyling — a well-traveled, two-in-one business on Palace Avenue that sold everything from rugs to jewelry to haircuts — died after suffering a heart attack. Martinez, a Santa Fe native, enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 17. When he left the military, he attended barber school in California.
Joe Jerry Martinez, 87, June 11
The golden age of sports at Santa Fe High came during a time of disco, bell-bottom jeans and shag carpeting.
Between 1974 and 1980, the city’s flagship school was an athletic powerhouse on New Mexico’s biggest stage. Smack in the middle of it was the magical 1977 season of the Demons baseball program coached by Santa Fe native Joe Jerry Martinez.
It remains the only state baseball championship in school history. Martinez spent 17 years as the Demons’ baseball coach, 31 teaching driver’s ed in the Santa Fe Public Schools system and 35 in the military.
Virginia Hall-Smith, 91, June 14
Virginia Hall-Smith once told The New Mexican what she loved about acting was the freedom to “kiss, kick and kill” without having to go to jail.
She performed all those actions on stage in a theater career that reached back to the late 1940s and ended in 2015 with a flamboyant portrayal of the title character’s friend in the Santa Fe Playhouse production of The Madwoman of Chaillot. Along the way, she played matrons, mothers and murderers, taught various theater arts to high schoolers and worked as a theater critic.
Hall-Smith was born in Kansas City, Mo. Her mother, seeking escape from a bad marriage, brought her to Santa Fe, where they lived on Acequia Madre.
“I thought I had been shipped to Mars,” Hall-Smith recalled during a 2018 podcast of Talking Theatre Live! “People lived in mud houses, nobody spoke English, the food took the top of your head off. I was not enchanted.”
Sarah Singleton, 70, July 4
Retired state District Judge Sarah Singleton, a witty and well-liked jurist who made landmark decisions regarding same-sex marriage and education in New Mexico, died at her home in Santa Fe of metastatic endometrial cancer.
Friends and colleagues remembered Singleton as a woman with a sharp legal mind who loved the outdoors, was generous with her time and advocated for legal access for all.
Born in Ann Arbor, Mich., Singleton moved to New Mexico in 1974 after obtaining a law degree.
She began her legal career in the appellate division of the Public Defender’s Office that year, and in 1976 went into private practice with retired state Court of Appeals Judge Lynn Pickard, with whom she shared a 42-year personal relationship.
Ernestine Saucedo, 32, July 11
Ernestine Saucedo, a state employee and popular recording artist and songwriter who performed Tejano-style music under her maiden name, Ernestine Romero, was shot to death outside her downtown workplace by her husband, who then took his own life.
She left behind a legacy of music in Northern New Mexico and had a large following of fans who mourned her death. She began performing as a young child and released the first of her 10 albums when she was 11.
According to interviews with The New Mexican, her first gig, as an 8-year-old, was a Valentine’s Day dance at Pojoaque Elementary School. She graduated in 2005 from Pojoaque Valley High School, where she played basketball.
She released her last album, Mi Tesoro, in March.
Dennis Ferk, 98, July 12
Former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dennis Ferk struggled to stand at attention in his uniform, an array of medals adorning his chest, as a bugler played taps during a Purple Heart ceremony in Santa Fe.
Looking immaculate, Ferk recalled his long-gone military comrades who died fighting alongside him in the Guadalcanal campaign in the Pacific theater of World War II.
“I’m just thankful they didn’t kill me,” he said at the time.
It would take more than repeated assaults from Japanese soldiers and bombs falling from Japanese planes to kill Ferk — who also endured two Santa Fe grifters who bilked him of some $340,000.
He died days after suffering a heart attack. His death came a month after he took part in an Honor Flight that carried World War II veterans to Washington to see the World War II Memorial.
Linda Milbourn, 65, July 13
Linda Milbourn wanted the Santa Fe Botanical Garden to serve as a museum of nature for its visitors. It was her determination that led to the creation of the garden on Museum Hill, a showcase of native plants, friends said.
Milbourn died of pancreatic cancer. Friends recalled a private woman who exuded a sense of quiet leadership and whose humor and love of life drove every project she worked on. She most recently served as president and CEO of what is now called the New Mexico Foundation.
Paul J. Peña, 65, Aug. 8
Gen. Paul J. Peña, a 40-year veteran of the U.S. Army and New Mexico National Guard, was born in the village of Madrid, though he was mostly raised in Santa Fe.
Out of uniform, his children said, he could be a playful father who liked to tease, boat, camp and ride motorcycles. He also liked old cars, including a 1970s Plymouth Duster that he raced around downtown Santa Fe.
Peña, who died of lung cancer, also was an expert in his field, said Maj. Gen. Kenneth Nava, adjutant general for the Guard, who served under Peña during a deployment to Iraq in 2009-10.
Rhea Goodman, 87, Aug. 30
Rhea Goodman, a longtime Santa Fe radio talk-show host, tai chi practitioner, swing dancer and interior designer, lived juicy for nearly nine decades.
That is, she did what she wanted, tried to learn how to live a more conscious life and, on her weekly KSFR radio show, interviewed people who, she liked to say, deserved to be heard.
In late July, dealing with an inoperable brain tumor, Goodman signed off her show, Living Juicy, after some two decades. About a month later, she died peacefully at her Santa Fe home.
Charles Daniels, 76, Sept. 1
Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Daniels didn’t like to tell people he was a judge.
Instead, he would tell his race car driving and bar-band musician friends, “I work in government.”
Daniels, celebrated for his efforts to reform New Mexico’s bail process as well as his musical skills, died at his home in Albuquerque surrounded by family members. His wife, Randi McGinn, said he died of Lou Gehrig’s disease less than two months after being diagnosed.
“He went out the way he lived — at full throttle,” McGinn said.
Daniels’ long career drew praise from colleagues and state officials, many of whom eulogized his work and presence in the legal profession. Then-Gov. Bill Richardson appointed Daniels to the Supreme Court in 2007. He served as a chief justice from 2010-12 and again from 2016-17. Daniels retired from the bench in 2018.
Matias Zamora, 91, Sept. 1
Matias Zamora left a legacy in Northern New Mexico as a family man, judge and trial lawyer.
He graduated from New Mexico Highlands University in 1950 and Georgetown University Law School in 1954, but didn’t formally graduate from Mora High School until 2016. At age 18, he was drafted into the Army during World War II and forced to earn a GED certificate. In May 2016, however, he donned a cap and gown to finally graduate from high school at the age of 89.
In 1965, Zamora was appointed by Gov. Jack Campbell as the first Mora native to serve as state district judge for the 4th Judicial District.
He served less than a year before deciding against seeking election. For the next 34 years, he worked primarily as a personal injury lawyer.
Three of Zamora’s five children also became lawyers, including Monica Zamora, who is chief judge of the New Mexico Court of Appeals.
Juan Dell Wade, 86, Sept. 8
Born Glenna Juandell Mitchell, a Texas native who moved to Santa Fe in the late-1960s, was renowned for bronze renditions of the women, men and animals representing the spirit of the West.
Her son Terry Wade said his mother was drawn to creating imagery from her background living in West Texas, where “she was exposed to both the way of the West and a lot of Western art, including paintings of windmills, cowboys, sculptures of those who lived in the West. She learned about [Western artists] Charlie Russell and Frederic Remington, and that’s where she got a lot of her inspiration to go into the Western art field.”
Carlos Cisneros, 71, Sept. 17
One of New Mexico’s longest-serving state senators, Carlos Cisneros, a Democrat from Questa, drew praise from colleagues on both sides of the political aisle, who mourned his death from a heart attack.
The legislator played a leading role in annual budget negotiations about state government spending as well as legislation on tax policy. For the past several years, he was vice chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee and chaired the interim Revenue Stabilization Committee at the time of his death.
Cisneros, a former Taos County commissioner, was appointed to fill a vacancy in the state Senate in July 1985, making his longevity in that chamber second to Republican Senate Leader Stuart Ingle of Portales, who was elected in 1984 and began serving in January 1985.
Stan Quintana, 74, Sept. 21
Stan Quintana, a former standout football player at Santa Fe High and later at the University of New Mexico, died in Florida.
Quintana played three years with UNM’s football program in the mid-1960s, starting at defensive back and quarterback from 1963-65. He still holds a number of prominent marks in UNM’s record books.
He was named the Western Athletic Conference’s offensive player of the year in 1974 and is still the UNM record-holder in interception return yards for a single season (172) and career (232).
Quintana was drafted twice in 1966, taken by the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings in the 11th round with the 162nd overall pick and in the 14th round with the 123rd pick by the New York Jets in the AFL. He never appeared in a game for either team.
He later returned to UNM as an assistant coach.
Samuel Adelo, 96, Sept. 22
Samuel Adelo, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II before moving into the legal department of Gulf Oil and later working as an interpreter in the New Mexico court system, died in an assisted-living home in Santa Fe.
Adelo was born in Pecos. Following graduation from St. Michael’s High School, he joined the U.S. Army and then studied law at the University of Notre Dame. He taught foreign language instruction at Notre Dame for nearly a decade.
Adelo was fluent in English, Spanish and Italian and knew enough Arabic to get by — linguistic talents that helped him land a job in the legal department of Gulf Oil in the late 1950s.
He retired from Gulf Oil as a chief counsel in 1984. But rather than face retirement, he offered his translation services to the court system of New Mexico, where he worked for some 20 years.
Joe Wilson, 69, Sept. 27
Former U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson, who moved to Santa Fe with his then-wife Valerie Plame after being swept up in a bitter dispute with the administration of President George W. Bush, died in Santa Fe.
Plame said Wilson died of organ failure and had been in hospice.
Plame resigned from the CIA in 2005; a year later, she, Wilson and their twins, now 19-year-old Trevor and Samantha, moved to Santa Fe.
Wilson’s diplomatic career began in 1976, when he began working for the U.S. Foreign Service. For three years beginning in 1988, Wilson was deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. After Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, Wilson met with him to express American displeasure. That made him the last American diplomat to meet with the dictator.
Cliff Mills, 68, Sept. 27
For some 23 years, Cliff Mills was a constant presence on the Santa Fe Plaza, talking with locals and visitors about his modern-day reproductions of his great-grandfather’s historical photographs of New Mexico and other issues.
But in June, facing health problems, Mills left the Plaza for the last time, relocating to Las Cruces to live with his sister, Susan, and to battle lung cancer.
Mariano Ortega, 92, Oct. 9
“Everything is beautiful.” That’s what Mariano Ortega used to say.
Family and customers remember the renowned Santa Fe cobbler for that cheery attitude and the many shoes, boots and precious leather items he restored over decades of running City Shoe Repair.
The World War II veteran was described by family and shop staff as a man always happy to meet people, who always had a wry joke and kind words and a reminder to be grateful for family and good health.
Ortega, who died following surgical complications, raised eight children and passed along his cobbling legacy to family members who maintain the shop.
Gordon Scott Corey, 67, Oct. 9
Gordon Scott Corey could read a denim jacket or pair of jeans as if it were a history book.
Corey, who operated the Santa Fe Vintage Outpost on East Palace Avenue and the Santa Fe Vintage Showroom on the south side for years, died at his Santa Fe home following a five-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
He moved to Santa Fe in the early 1990s after a succession of careers: cowboy, blues musician, bartender, pipefitter and Alaskan crab fisherman. He tended bar at the old Club Luna in Santa Fe.
Gilbert Delgado, 91, Nov. 3
Gilbert Delgado said he was introduced to the idea of conversing without hearing while watching childhood friends interact with their deaf grandmother.
After that first impression of sign language in Santa Fe in the early 1930s, Delgado developed a passion for deaf education that took him from Northern New Mexico to classrooms around the world. He began his career captioning films for deaf audiences and later became the first Hispanic superintendent of the New Mexico School for the Deaf in Santa Fe in 1988.
“He brought a real passion for cultural responsiveness. He spoke to parents in Spanish and understood the difficulty for students learning both English and American Sign Language,” said Rosemary Gallegos, the school’s current superintendent.
Nick Pino, 75, Nov. 3
He was called “Nick the Stick,” but to the people who knew legendary St. Michael’s basketball player Nick Pino, he was the “Gentle Giant.”
The 7-foot-1 Pino, a 1963 graduate of the school who held New Mexico’s single-season high school scoring record for 50 years and went on to play at Kansas State University, died on his 75th birthday from complications from diabetes.
Pino was a three-year varsity player at St. Michael’s and a part of the famous “Mighty Midgets” squad that ran and pressured opponents all the way to the Class 1A championship game in the 1961-62 season.
He became the first player in the state to surpass 1,000 points in a season by finishing with 1,033 points. It remained the state record until 2013.
Pino parlayed his basketball success into a scholarship to attend Kansas State. As a senior, he was part of a team that won the Big 8 title in 1967-68.
Gene Dunne, 69, Nov. 13
Gene Dunne was a former Green Beret with a doctorate from Harvard who once turned down a job offer from the White House. The Boston native was more comfortable driving a taxi or delivering meals to Santa Fe shut-ins.
Drafted during the Vietnam War, he served in an airborne unit of the Green Berets stationed near the Panama Canal.
He later returned to Boston, eventually earning a doctorate in government from Harvard that prompted Ronald Reagan’s White House to offer him a job that his wife, Adele, said would have meant helping to cut Medicare and Medicaid benefits. “He refused to do it right away,” she said.
Instead, the couple moved to Washington, D.C., so he could lobby for nuclear arms control.
The Dunnes moved to Santa Fe in 2003, where Gene Dunne drove for Santa Fe’s Meals on Wheels program.
Cliff Garley, 80, Nov. 22
To know the “Metro Burger” was to know Cliff Garley.
It was the prized concession item at any Santa Fe Metro Little League game, and Garley was the one who put it on the map. While Garley wore many hats with the league, including a stint as its president, it was his work on the grill that set it apart from others. Garley, who also was the District 1 administrator for the state Little League during a 38-year career from 1960-98, died in Los Lunas.
Garley’s reach went beyond Little League. He also was a referee for high school basketball and football games in Northern New Mexico as well as an umpire. Garley worked for the New Mexico State Land Office and Game and Fish Department before starting his own business, Piñon Nuts.
Elspeth Bobbs, 99, Nov. 24
Elspeth Bobbs, a philanthropist who created her own secret garden in a 4-acre compound off East Alameda Street, died peacefully at her home of natural causes, her daughters said.
Raised in England, Bobbs studied law at both Oxford and Liverpool universities. She arrived by train in Santa Fe in 1943. She and her husband, artist Howard Bobbs, raised three daughters at their East Alameda Street home, where she poured her passion into gardening.
She also gave generously to many local nonprofits, her daughters said. She was named a Santa Fe Living Treasure in 1984 for her philanthropic work, and in 1999 she was named New Mexico’s Philanthropist of the Year.
Theodora “Theo” Raven, 88, Nov. 29
Theodora “Theo” Raven wanted to create a world of magic, of wonder, of exploration. A place where adults could be kids again and stuffed animals could talk.
She succeeded, friends say, by joining her mother Helene to open Doodlet’s novelty shop in downtown Santa Fe.
Raven, who died in her sleep of natural causes in her house on the same Tesuque property where she was born, was named a Santa Fe Living Treasure in 2010.
Beth Moise, 74, Dec. 1
Beth Moise, a longtime New Mexican who spent decades working as a global executive and years serving on the boards of a number of local nonprofits, died of cancer at her Santa Fe home.
Her New Mexico career started with a stint as personnel director at Mountain Bell in Albuquerque. When the company evolved into US West, Beth Moise eventually was promoted to senior vice president of its human resources division, overseeing that work in over 40 countries.
David Salazar, 87, Dec. 17
David Salazar, one of the longest-serving members of the Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative board of trustees, died of natural causes at his home in Española. He served with the 11-member board, which oversees electrical needs in parts of rural Northern New Mexico, for nearly 50 years.
David Salazar was born in Chamita. He joined the New Mexico National Guard when he was still in high school in the late 1940s. During the Korean War, he was called into active duty and served stateside in El Paso.
He later helped his father run a mortuary in Española, worked at the New Mexico Public Education Department, and served as an insurance salesman.
Rose Fidel, 92, Dec. 25
Rose Fidel once calculated that she worked with 44,000 students across four decades in Santa Fe schools. The math teacher turned principal died on Christmas day Day at 92.
“She was a great educator, but we were all afraid of her,” said current Santa Fe High Principal Carl Marano, who graduated from the school in 1989 when Fidel was principal.
According to district officials at the time, Fidel was the first female principal of Santa Fe High.
Gloria Mendoza, 72, Dec. 30
Longtime community activist Gloria Mendoza, an outspoken and sometimes controversial advocate for issues she considered important to native Santa Feans, died after a battle with cancer.
She was remembered as a champion of people who were born and raised in Santa Fe, as well as their traditions, though her fiery comments and strong opinions sometimes thrust her in the middle of controversy and made her a target of public criticism.
In 2017, Mendoza said she had given up her community activism but decided to get involved again when former Mayor Javier Gonzales proposed a tax on sugary beverages in the city of Santa Fe to fund preschool programs.
“I’m a diabetic,” she told Gonzales and city councilors during a public meeting that year. “If I want to drink a damn Coke and I want to die drinking a Coke, that’s my damn business. That’s none of your business.”
Voters ultimately rejected the so-called soda tax effort.
The following reporters contributed to this report: Michael Abatemarco, Ari Burack, Phill Casaus, Daniel J. Chacón, Michael Gerstein, Sarah Halasz Graham, Olivia Harlowe, Dillon Mullan, Danielle Prokop, Milan Simonich, Steve Terrell and Will Webber of the Santa Fe New Mexican; and John Miller and Rick Romancito of The Taos News.