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Jose Gomez

Jose Federico (Joe) Gomez passed away comfortably surrounded by those he loved in his Albuquerque, N.M. home last Thursday morning on his 82nd birthday, Nov. 1, 2012. He was an Albuquerque entrepreneur, business owner, and philanthropist who's mark on the New Mexico business community will be indelible and enduring. Joe was born in Salem, N.M. in the lush Hatch Valley, the eldest offspring of Domingo and Eugenia Gomez. As a young boy he would ride his horse after chores along the banks of the Rio Grande from Caballo Reservoir to Radium Springs, and would later ride to, and camp, in the Gila Forest on days he wasn't farming. Domingo, a farmer and carpenter in the post-depression era, provided, along with Eugenia, a warm and loving environment for Joe and the three sisters that Domingo and Joe doted upon. Joe graduated from Las Cruces High School where he competed in track in the mile event, and was a member of the National Honor Society. He married his sweetheart Cecilia (Ceci) Montoya, daughter of Joe and Carmen Montoya of Mesquite, N.M. on Aug. 30, 1952 in the San Jose Catholic Church in La Mesa, N.M. where they repeated their vows fifty years later before family and friends. Joe and Ceci enjoyed dining, dancing and ""los luches"" with friends in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez in their dating and early marriage years. Daughter Stella and son Gary came along in Las Cruces in the mid-fifties and sons Steve and Mike joined them in El Paso in the early-sixties. After raising their kids, Joe and Cecilia enjoyed traveling extensively abroad with their friends from the New Mexico and Texas business communities from the 1970s to the early 2000s. Joe distinguished himself in business from an early age rising to management positions in warehouse and retail operations for Safeway and ShopRite corporations managing operations in El Paso, Texas; and Las Cruces, Albuquerque and Farmington, N.M. At the age of 44, after years of planning, Joe liquidated personal assets that provided the capital for him to purchase his first business on Albuquerque's west side in June of 1975. He ultimately became the owner/operator of grocery stores, bakeries, gasoline stations, etc. as well a developer of residential and commercial properties. Joe cultivated talent from the local area including youngsters from local high schools and mentored numerous loyal employees who have gone on to become successful business managers, owners, leaders and innovators in the retail, non-profit, banking, services, and development sectors throughout New Mexico and the rest of the world. He is fondly remembered by them for his belief in hard work, compassion and a straightforward business approach. He is survived by his loving wife of sixty years Cecilia, daughter Stella Marie Gomez-Piña, sons Gary Ronald and his wife Dena, Fred Steven, Michael David and his wife Joann, as well as his grandchildren, Cassaundra, Michael Joseph, Michelle, Matthew, Anthony Ray, Ashley, Victoria, Alexandra, Lauren, Shayna, and Rachel, his great-grandson Haeley, along with his sisters Maria Burhop of Oconomowoc, Wis. and Delores Gomez of Las Cruces, N.M. He is preceded in death by his parents Eugenia and Domingo Gomez, adopted son Tim, nephew Danny Burhop, grandnephew Jonathon Delgado and sister Carmen Delgado. A rosary and funeral mass to celebrate his life will be held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. Rite of Committal will follow at St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery. The Gomez family wishes to extend their sincere appreciation to Joe's son Steve for the exceptional care he provided over the last two years. Arrangements by Getz Funeral Home corner of Solano and Bowman Ave., Las Cruces, NM (575) 526-2419. To sign our local online guest book go to www.GetzCares.com.

Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Nov. 4, 2012
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