JOE R. BACA

JOE R. BACA Joe R. Baca, 91, passed away peacefully at his home (Kingston Residence) on May 6, 2014, after a long illness. Joe was a life-long resident of Santa Fe. He is survived by his sister, Dolores Baca Gonzales; nephew/caregiver, Joseph Dwight Gonzales, and wife Louise Gonzales; as well as many nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Isabel Vigil Baca; parents, Eloy Baca and Trinidad Delgado Baca; brothers, Eloy Baca, Gene Baca and Tony Baca; and sister, Amelia Baca Martinez. Joe was a tail gunner with Crew 11 from the 461st Bomb Group, 764th Bombardment Squadron. When their brand new B-24 bomber was shot down over the Austrian-Hungarian border by German Fighters, the crew bailed out and Joe landed in Austria. The German Home Guard captured him, and thus began Joe's long ordeal of 357 days. He was held as a prisoner of war in Eastern Prussia at a camp known as POW Stalag Luft IV. On February 6, 1945, they began their Death March of 86 days and 488 miles, which ended in Halle, Germany, on May 2, 1945, when they were liberated by the American 104th Infantry Division. Upon returning from World War II, Joe married Isabel Vigil and worked as a bookkeeper in Los Alamos, NM, for Robert E. McKee, the General Contractor from El Paso, TX, who was in charge of constructing many government buildings for the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Joe kept their business accounts for 21 years. He also worked for the New Mexico State Highway Department as an Electronic Supervisor for 14 years. Even while working full-time and maintaining family obligations, Joe was able to also build 2 houses himself. Our deepest gratitude goes out to the many staff members who cared for our brother/uncle at Kingston Residence. We would also like to thank the doctors, nurses, aids, case managers and chaplains from Ambercare Hospice, especially Helen Dumond, RN. We are also grateful to the Carmelite Monastery Sisters, Father Russo, the community of friends from the early morning mass at the Carmelite Monastery, the Saturday 3:45 mass at Christus St. Vincent Hospital, Eucharistic Ministers - Mary Karshis, Linde Chambles and Patrick, and all of Joe's many friends for their prayers and dedication during this difficult time. Visitation will be Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 5 p.m. at Berardinelli Family Funeral Service, with rosary following at 7 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 10 a.m. at Cristo Rey Catholic Church. Burial will follow at 11:15 a.m. at the Santa Fe National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, Joe requested that donations be made to the Carmelite Monastery. Berardinelli Family Funeral Service, 1399 Luisa Street Santa Fe, NM 87505. (505) 984-8600. Please sign our guestbook for the family at: www.berardinellifuneralhome.com

Funeral Home

Berardinelli Family Funeral Service
1399 Luisa Street Santa Fe, NM 87505
(505) 984-8600
Published in Santa Fe New Mexican from May 11 to May 12, 2014