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Miguel Encinias

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Miguel Encinias Obituary
Encinias, Miguel, Dr. (Lt. Col)



Dr. (Lt. Col) Miguel Encinias, passed away Saturday, February 20, 2016 in Albuquerque surrounded by his family. He was 92 years old and feisty to the end.

Born in Las Vegas, N.M. in 1923, he joined the military at the age of 16. He had a long and distinguished career in the Air Force and was the only Hispanic in the United States and one of only five pilots to have flown combat missions in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He was shot down and was a POW on the Baltic Coast of Germany for 15 months. During his career he was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses, 14 Air Medals, and two Purple Hearts, making him one of New Mexico's most highly decorated veterans.

Between the wars he took advantage of the GI Bill of Rights earning a BS in Foreign Service at Georgetown University, a Certificate of Political Studies at Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, France, a Masters Degree in French from Middlebury and the Sorbonne, and a double PhD in Hispanic Literature and Education from University of New Mexico. Dr. Encinias was a professor at several New Mexico Universities and was a pioneer in the development of Bilingual Education in New Mexico. After retiring, he wrote several books on New Mexico history and translated the Epic Poem of New Mexico from Old Spanish into English.

He founded the Compania de Teatro de Albuquerque, La Zarzuela de Albuquerque, a founding member of the Hispanic Culture Foundation, a Board Member of the Albuquerque Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

In 1993 he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the World War II Memorial Advisory Board and contributed to the design and planning of the memorial on the mall in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Encinias was the youngest of a large Northern New Mexico family and from that family is survived by his sister Beatrice. He is also survived by his wife of 52 years, Jeannine Encinias; his daughter Maria-Isabel Encinias and son Juan-Pablo Encinias; his step-daughter Valerie Gerard Thompson and step-son Jean-Robert Gerard; grandchildren Joaquim Brissaud-Encinias, Tiago Brissaud-Encinias, Ajna Tolstoy, and Charlotte Thompson. He was preceded in death by his daughter Ana-Maria (Nana) Encinias.

Funeral Services will be held at San Felipe de Neri Church in Old Town Albuquerque on Thursday, February 25 at 11:00 am., followed by a 1:00 pm reception at the New Mexico Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th Street SW. Interment will take place on Friday, February 26 at 9:00 am, at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.
Published in Albuquerque Journal from Feb. 23 to Feb. 24, 2016
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