Maurice Saltiel, 97, of Las Cruces, N.M. entered eternal life peacefully on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 of natural causes in La Posada – Mesilla Valley Hospice surrounded by his loving family and the wonderful staff of La Posada. Maurice was born May 5, 1915 in Thessaloniki, Greece, the oldest of three brothers, son of the late Hiam and Esther Saltiel. He educated in Italy and France and eventually became fluent in five languages which include French, Italian, Spanish, Greek and English. Maurice was a Holocaust survivor
, serving in the Greek Army during Wold War II. He was captured in Italy and held prisoner of war before escaping to Switzerland. After the war, he owned and operated a small textile and knitting factory in Thessaloniki. In 1955, he and his family immigrated to Albany, N.Y. After working many years for the New York State Department of Corrections, he retired and traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe, finally settling in Las Cruces in 1995. While traveling to Moscow, he met the love of his life, his devoted wife Galina, with whom he shared the remainder of this life. Maurice was loved by many, especially for the interesting life stories he enjoyed telling. He led a long full life filled with many adventures. His passions included reading (mainly the classics), studying health education, writing poems, discussing politics and traveling. He deeply believed in social justice, peace and equality for all and throughout the years he was involved in activities promoting these causes. He is survived by his loving wife, Galina; his daughters, Esther Nina Gadomski (Eugene) of Columbia, Md. and Rhea VanDermark (Jack) of Schenectady, N.Y.; his brother, Jacques Saltiel (Malou) of Montreal, Canada; two grandsons, Joshua Temblador (Honeylee) of Washington, D.C. and Michael Temblador of Tulsa, Okla.; stepdaughter, Irina Akimov (Alex); two step-grandsons, Dimitri and Andrei Akimov and a great step-grandson, Maxim of Ottawa, Canada. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Nathan Saltiel of Athens, Greece. Maurice's life will be celebrated on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 at 4 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 2000 S. Solano Drive with Carole Czujko officiating. His family would like to express their sincere gratitude and thanks to the staff at La Posada for their compassionate care and love given to Maurice for over two years. In lieu flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Maurice Saltiel to Mesilla Valley Hospice, 299 E. Montana Ave., Las Cruces, NM 88005. Entrusted to Baca's Funeral Chapels of Las Cruces and Sunset Crematory. Your exclusive providers for "Veterans and Family Memorial Care." For online condolences log on to www.bacasfuneralchapelslascruces.com.