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Joe Sylivan Tafoya

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Chief warrant officer, U.S. Army, retired
Joe Sylivan Tafoya, 77, retired chief warrant officer, died the morning of July 26, 2008, in Alamogordo at the age of 77.
He was born on the Feb. 24, 1931, in Clayton to Maurice Tafoya and Virginia Hendren. After graduating Clayton High School, he entered the Air Force and served as a military policeman, serving in Japan and Ohio. In August 1956 he became a special agent for the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations and served in Madrid, Korea, Ohio, Texas and New Mexico. He then transferred to the Army Criminal Investigations Division in September 1966.
He was chief of the American division of CID from March 1968 to February 1969 (Chu-Lai-Run), where he was awarded the Bronze Star medal. He finally returned to serve in Washington, D.C., Fort Bliss and White Sands Missile Range, where he retired in 1972.
He ranched near Logan until 1978, then decided to attend school at the University of New Mexico. From 1981 to 1984 he was the chief of police in Española. He then moved to Albuquerque until August 1990, when he returned to Logan. In 2005 he moved to Alamogordo to be closer to his children.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother; brothers Jake and Sylvan; sisters Lucy and Linda; and son Nick.
He is survived by two sons, Patrick and wife, Juli, of Austin, Texas, and Mike, of Alamogordo; two daughters, LeeAnn (Ann) Tafoya and Jackie Rizzuto and husband, David, of Tularosa; three grandsons, Joshua, JerryDon Salazar and John Michael Dove; and two granddaughters, Madison Tafoya and Tracyann Edwards.
He is also survived by one brother, Phillip Michael, of Logan; two sisters, Gertrude Chavez, of Las Cruces, and Terry Lavandowski, of Albuquerque; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, 2008, at Our Lady of the Light Catholic Church in La Luz by Deacon Don Dickman.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 31, 2008, in the church with Father Bruce Hausfeld, O.F.M., celebrant.
Interment will take place at 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1, 2008, in Logan.
The family will greet friends from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Wednesday before the rosary at Our Lady of the Light Catholic Church.
The Tafoya family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Alamogordo Funeral Home to direct the funeral services.

To sign the online guestbook, please visit

Published in Alamogordo Daily News from July 27 to Aug. 12, 2008
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