José Merced Florez, 93, of Blanco, with his family by his side, gave his gentle and kind soul to the Lord Jesus on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. He knew no stranger and spent his entire life serving his family and his community. He was born March 19, 1922, in Gobernador, to Abel and Fidela Vasquez Florez. He served as a sergeant fourth class in the U.S. Army Air Force in the South Pacific Theater during World War II. His service included the liberation of the Philippines in 1945. In 1946, José married Florence Hancock, and they were blessed with 12 children. They made their home in Blanco and were to celebrate 70 years of marriage on Oct. 26, 2016. In 1979, after 30 years of service, he retired from the El Paso Natural Gas Company and continued his passion for ranching, building the BAR MF family ranch along the San Juan River. In 2007, José being an extremely faithful man, donated land in Gobernador to the Benedictine Sisters to establish Our Lady of the Desert Monastery. He encouraged his family to be stewards of the monastery, voicing his wish that care for the sisters be continued for generations to come.
José Florez was preceeded in death by his parents, Abel and Fidela Vaquez Florez; son, the Rev. Marc Florez; and grandson, Gregory Fitt. He leaves behind his loving wife, Florence; and his children, Vi Florez Tighe (Girard), Steve Florez (Dolores), Louella Florez Evans (Jesse), Frank Florez (Gloria), Katrina Florez Fitt (Jeff), Bill Florez (Abby), Kenneth Florez (Joanna), Corine Florez Trujillo, Susan Florez Chavez (Ken), Robert Florez (Charrise) and Carmen Florez Mansi (Tom). He is also survived by 40 grandchildren and 64 great-grandchildren.
A rosary will be recited for José at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25 at the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, 7378 U.S. Highway 64 in Blanco.
The Mass of Christian burial will be at noon Friday, Feb. 26 at the St. Rose of Lima Church in Blanco, followed by the internment in Santo Nino Cemetery in Gobernador.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Our Lady of the Desert Monastery, P.O. Box 556, Blanco, NM 87412, or at ourladyofthedesert.org.
Jose's care is entrusted to Cope Memorial Chapel, 404 W. Arrington St. in Farmington, 505-327-5142. Those who wish to express their condolences may do so at serenityandcompany.com.
Published by Farmington Daily Times on Feb. 24, 2016.