Notable passings


Edy Anderson

d. May 25

An adventurer, longtime nurse, founder of Los Alamos Visiting Nurses and co-founder of Taos Community Foundation, Anderson left a deep legacy with her family and in the Taos community before her death at age 85 of natural causes.

"She taught me how to enjoy life, yet walk through the rough stuff," said her son, Taos News columnist Ted Wiard.

Benjie Apodaca

d. July 15

A beloved culinary teacher, Apodaca died at home at age 55. His death shocked the school community and others in the culinary world who knew him.Sen. Carlos Cisneros

d. Sept. 17

Cisneros, a former miner, had risen through the ranks of the state Legislature in his 34 years there as a senator representing all of Taos County and portions of three other counties. He died of a heart attack at age 71. He had championed the causes of acequias and working people but with an eye toward fiscal responsibility.

Arsenio Córdova

d. Sept. 22

A musician, historian, community activist and the unofficial mayor of El Prado, Córdova was known all over the Taos Valley. He was a teacher and an administrator who brought a sense of humor to even the most serious times. He died after a long battle with cancer.

Peter Chinni

d. Feb. 4

Internationally known modern art sculptor and Taos resident Chinni, 90, died after a fall while preparing to practice with the Taos Community Chorus. "He was an unstoppable man," said one of his many friends in the Taos arts community.

Gary Cook

d. Jan. 12

A man about the community, Cook was known for his 18 years of work at Super Save. The Taos community remembers him as a hard-working and loving person while friends and family remember "Boss" as a "Viking warrior."

Maria Elena Cruz

d. Sept. 4

The Taos High School community was rocked again when one of the students died in a DWI-related crash. Maria Elena Cruz was on her way home from work when a vehicle driven by a Texas country singer on her way to the Big Barn Dance crossed the center lane and ran head on into the 16-year-old's vehicle. Both died in the crash. The singer's blood alcohol levels were later found to be three times the legal limit.

Patrick Larkin

d. Aug. 27

Larkin was the owner of World Cup café and was a known adventurer and craftsman. Over the years, he had settled into his Taos home where he worked on providing a farm-to-table style of living for his family.

Roger Lerman

d. May 13

Lerman, a master beekeeper, businessman, dancer and builder, died in a backhoe accident. "He was a unique asset to this community, from helping to start recycling, Taos Charter School building, beekeeping - everything to do with helping this community," said his friend Steve Natelson.Suzan Pitt

d. June 17

Pitt was an acclaimed filmmaker who was honored with the AnimaFest Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. She died at her Taos home of pancreatic cancer. AnimaFest, the second oldest film festival devoted exclusively to the art of animation, selected Pitt by unanimous decision. Her animations were done the traditional way - every frame hand-drawn and -painted.

Merlin Randall

d. July 20

Merlin, 78, was a member of the familiar Randall family in Taos and managed the Taos Mill, a division of Randall Lumber Company, for several years. Born in Embudo and raised in Taos, he was a devout member of Bent Lodge #42 and was always the outdoorsman.

Richard Reaves

d. Jan 31

A well-known Taos realtor, Reaves was always on the mountain if the snow was good. He and his wife moved to Taos around 10 years ago, where he would often be found skiing and enjoying the outdoors.

Ruben Romero

d. Jan 12

As a four-time governor for Taos Pueblo, Romero knew the importance of culture to Taos. He always was looking to get older projects moving and even served as a Taos Pueblo firefighter on the Snowball crew for several years. He is one of the few Taos Pueblo governors to serve four terms.

Gene Sanchez

d. May 11

Sanchez was a National Guardsman, architect and art lover. He ran his own Taos architecture firm for years. Sanchez also served on the town of Taos Council and was among a cast of colorful, social influencers during Taos' wilder days. He authored the two-volume hardcover edition "Gene Kloss: An American Printmaker, A Raisonné," with 482 of Kloss's 627 catalogued images.

Peggy Stall

d. Dec. 18

Stall was a longtime, beloved teacher in Taos schools and even was called to come out of retirement to work at Taos International School.

"She was very much a part of our small family here," said Taos International School director Nadien VigilRay Vinella

d. Feb. 3

Famed artist Vinella, a teacher and fine artist known as one of the "Taos Six," left an indelible mark on the Taos arts community and beyond.

Taos author John Nichols said, "Ray was a 'good old boy.' He could paint the kind of stuff that can make you happy, and even had the audacity to touch your soul."


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