Paul Raymond Gamertsfelder, 86, a longtime resident of Las Vegas, passed away on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 due to complications from pneumonia.
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Sadly his last few years were spend largely in the fog of Alzheimer's Disease.
He was born on May 26, 1926 in Berea, Ohio, to Bonnie Speckman and Roy Monroe Gamertsfelder. A few moves in his childhood years brought him and his parents to Raton and Eagle Nest, where his father managed the gold mine and mill near Elizabethtown.
Paul graduated from Raton High School in 1944 where he lettered in varsity tennis and football.
After graduation he joined the U. S. Navy and served in North Africa and Italy during World War II.
Following the service, Paul studied at the University of New Mexico and earned a B.S. Degree in civil engineering in 1951. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He attained the rank of Lieutenant, JG in the Naval Reserves.
While at UNM he met his future wife, Iona May Inmon of Deming. They married on Aug. 13, 1950.
Within a short time, he went to work as a civilian employee of the Army Corps of Engineers and by 1951 was in southwestern Newfoundland as a construction inspector at Ernest Harmon Air Force Base. Iona joined him there in Stephensville where the first of their four children, John Paul was born in 1952.
Returning to New Mexico in 1955, Paul was hired by PNM as the Belen distribution system engineer. Their second child, Nancy Marie was born soon after their arrival in Belen and Laura Jo was born there in 1957. Another transfer brought the family finally to Las Vegas in the fall of 1958. The last of their children, Gary Roy was born in Las Vegas, in 1959.
Paul was active in a number of service organizations including the Lions Club, Kiwanis, and Rotary. He enjoyed a short stint as a Little League baseball coach. He was a life-long Mason and belonged to Chapman Lodge #2 in Las Vegas. He served on the school board of the Las Vegas City Schools and was also elected to the board of trustees of Luna Community College and was its first chairman.
He became the Las Vegas Division Manager for PNM with oversight of both the Santa Fe and Las Vegas divisions. He retired from PNM in 1984 after which Paul and Iona moved to Green Valley, Ariz., where they enjoyed many years playing golf year-round and entertaining grandchildren whenever possible.
In 1997, upon the tragic death of their son Gary, Paul and Iona returned to New Mexico to assume the care for their grandchildren Alicia Marie, Gary Raymond, and Aaron Paul in Rio Rancho. As soon as more suitable guardianship was found for their grandkids, Paul and Iona built a home on the 17th fairway of the Pendaries Village Golf Resort in Rociada where they have lived since 1999.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Bonnie and Roy; his older brother, Robert; and by his son, Gary.
He is survived by his wife Iona of 62 years of the family home in Rociada; son, John of Las Vegas; daughters, Nancy Vigil and husband Michael of Lawton, Okla., Laura Tapia and husband Dennis of Santa Fe; grandchildren, Karl Gamertsfelder, Paula Morris and husband Byron, Daniel Vigil and wife Charisima, Andrew Vigil and wife Amber, Patricia Tapia, Sarah Tapia, Tania Tapia and fiancé Manny Martinez, Denise Tapia, Alicia Lovato and husband Lorenzo, Gary Gamertsfelder, Aaron Gamertsfelder; great-grandchildren, Heaven, Ruby, Jasmyn and Lilyana; a sister-in-law, Delia Perez and husband Tommy of Crooked H Ranch, Luna County; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Cremation has taken place and a memorial service celebrating his life will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 11 at the First United Methodist Church of Las Vegas. Rev. Travis Reames, pastor of the First United Methodist Church will officiate. The interment will follow at 3 p.m. in the Santa Fe National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers the family has requested that memorials be made to the
–New Mexico Chapter, 9500 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Suite 121, Albuquerque, N.M. 87111.
Online condolences can be sent to the family at www.gonzalesfunerals.com.
Arrangements are under the direction of Billy G. Rogers at Gonzales Funerals & Cremations, 2315 Hot Springs Blvd. Las Vegas, 1-888-525-9319 or 425-9319.
Published in Las Vegas Optic on Jan. 9, 2013
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