Notable passings in 2017: the feelings of loss linger for many


Every death leaves behind someone who grieves. But some people’s lives had wide ripples beyond their own families and friends. Here are a few of the notable passings in 2017.

George Chacon, 63 – Taos musician, poet and artist whose murals were featured in The New York Times and honored with numerous awards. He died of a heart attack while playing the conga drums during a SOMOS event. Died April 1.

David Gomez, Sr., 78 – Former Taos Pueblo Governor and senior tribal councilman, credited with the establishment of the modern professional tribal administration now in place at the pueblo. Died June 30.

Al Hurricane, 81 – A Dixon native, Alberto “Al Hurricane” Sanchez, went on to become a beloved master of the New Mexico music scene with fans from around the West. He played music and sang almost until the day he died of cancer. Died Oct. 22.

Donna Martinez, 59 – Martinez was a world-renowned Taos tapestry artist and the beloved proprietor of Taos Java, a place where locals and visitors enjoyed hanging out. Died Oct. 31.

Gerard Martinez – A decades-long Taos firefighter from Taos Pueblo, Martinez earned respect throughout the firefighting community as a steadfast and kindhearted man. Died Aug. 30.

Michael Allen Kyte, 61 – Archaeology was his passion and his career at the Carson National Forest. He pursued his passion in the outdoors after he retired in January. Died June 15.

Archie L. Trujillo, 68 – A civil engineer when younger, “Big Archie” was a musician and a promoter of Northern New Mexican music as one of the original organizers of the Fiestas de Arroyo Hondo. He loved sports and his family and traveling; he spent years as a popular bus driver for Taos athletic teams. Died May 19.

Carlos Benito “CB” Trujillo, 85 – U.S. Navy veteran, teacher, rancher and long-time state lawmaker who chaired the Legislative Finance Committee and was majority leader during his tenure. Trujillo ran a State Farm insurance agency in Taos. Died Nov. 20.

Bonnie Zirkel – Real estate agent in Taos for 40 years and huge animal advocate in the county. Died Nov. 20.

Hannah Metzger, 25, and Cedrick Kober, 33 – River raft guides killed in a head-on collision with an alleged drunk driver near Taos. Died Sept. 30.