John Raymond Armijo aka "Tinker" left his earthly bounds on Friday, March 28, 2014, at the age of 70, at home in Santa Fe. He was surrounded by his loving family and friends and under the wonderful care of PMS Hospice. He died from complications of liver cancer, which was only recently diagnosed.
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He entered life in Las Vegas at St. Anthony's Hospital as the first son and second child of five children born to Mayo and Corinne Armijo.
He is survived by his mother, Corinne Armijo; sisters, Aileen (Bill) Garcia, Rosemarie Montoya, and his brothers, Lawrence (Margaret) and Joseph "Duke" (Truva). His father, Joe "Mayo" Armijo, a well-known educator, coach and NMAA official, predeceased him in 2001.
He cared greatly for all his aunts and uncles and is survived by uncles, Bobby Romero, Leo (Dora) Romero, Francis Romero, Solomon (Beverly) Armijo and Lewis Winston and his aunt, Emma Armijo.
John loved and appreciated all of his many nephews and nieces that he leaves behind, Kevin (Monica) Garcia, Michelle Flores, and Annette Armijo, Kara Marie (Don) Sandoval, Mary Lucille (Rudy) Fields, Candice (Chris) Nelson, Corrine (Gabe) Salinas, Justin (Sara) Montoya, Les (Christina) Montoya II and Sean (Diamond) Armijo. He treasured his many grandnephews and grandnieces; "Uncle Tinker" was always showing up at their various parties and special events with the "best" and most interesting gifts.
He had a strong inclination to all things artistic and creative. He graduated from Immaculate Conception High School in Las Vegas in 1962. He formed many life-long friendships here and was a proud member of coach Nick Di Dominico's accomplished basketball and baseball teams. After IC he attended Highlands University for a time and gravitated to the art department, becoming a pupil and friend of HU's celebrated artist, Dr. Raymond Drew ... But, HU and Las Vegas proved too small for his worldwide curiosity and appetite.
In 1965, he moved on to the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago, which helped shape and define his talents and career. He studied at the Institute while working at a number of different advertising agencies. He subsequently moved to Los Angeles where he worked in the industry as a fashion photographer for several major magazines. One of his most treasured experiences in Los Angeles was his involvement in the Robert F. Kennedy presidential campaign, where John was a staff photographer. He met and campaigned for Kennedy and was at the Ambassador Hotel on the fateful evening of Kennedy's assassination. He loved Los Angeles and the excitement of the cultural revolution of the 60's. He gained advertising experience here and used it to his advantage upon his return to Chicago in the late '70s.
He considered Chicago his second home, and he made many friends and professional relationships that have lasted to this day. He spent time as Maître 'D at Frontera Grill & Restaurant, home of world famous chef Rick Bayless. His experience here added to his knowledge of restaurants and real authentic Mexican cuisine.
He returned to New Mexico, in the early 1990s and found a great match for his talents at the New Mexico Film Office where he did site locations, familiarized advance crews with New Mexico and its many opportunities and did research on various films, film history of the state and filming locations. He worked in the department until July of 2013, when he retired with more than 20 years of service. He made many friends in the department and developed new interests such as his tremendous interest and curiosity about Romaine Fielding, a Hollywood producer who made a number of films in Las Vegas. John was fascinated with Fielding, and long believed that he had never been given the kind of credit that he deserved. He did extensive research and was planning on a book to honor Mr. Fielding, which unfortunately he was unable to finish.
John was a "bon vivant" who understood and loved foods and wines and good conversation. He loved to travel. Once when he won a $150k lotto in Chicago; he shared his good fortune with his parents and siblings and then traveled to Paris where he lived in the south of France for six months and learned how to cook french style. He had an exuberant spirit and his spirit and spontaneity will be missed by all.
He was greatly aided in his final month by the PMS Hospice unit. Special thanks to his hospice caregivers, PJ , Dianne, Dr. David Gonzales, and Mely. His "special" landlady, Anne, was by his side when he died. Special friends Mike Coca and Diane Paolazzi helped him deal with his illness and provided special counseling and comfort to John and the family.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Joe "Mayo" Armijo scholarship fund at the New Mexico Highlands University Foundation, PO Box 9000, Las Vegas, NM 87701.
Funeral services for John will be held on Friday at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church as follows: Rosary will begin at 9 a.m., followed by celebration of the funeral mass by Rev. George Salazar at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Mount Calvary Cemetery.
Visit www.nelsonfuneralhomelv.com for online condolences.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Nelson Funeral Home; 801 Douglas Avenue, Las Vegas; 425-6551.
Nelson Funeral Home
801 Douglas Avenue Las Vegas , NM 87701
Published in Las Vegas Optic on Mar. 31, 2014