Rafael T. Garcia


Rafael “Ralph” T. Garcia (85) passed away peacefully at his home in Pagosa Springs, Colo., on Dec. 6, 2017, after a hard-fought battle with heart disease.

Rafael T. Garcia was born on Oct. 24, 1932, to Preciliano and Cleofas Garcia in Edith, Colo. He enjoyed his childhood years living and working at his favorite place — his family’s Montezuma ranch — and in Lumberton, N.M., where his family owned Garcia’s Cash Store. As a U.S. Army corporal during the Korean War, Ralph was awarded the National Defense Service Medal. As a small business owner, he ran various businesses including: Garcia Dry Goods, Mercure’s Bar and Dance Hall, R and R Grocery, and Ralph’s Gift Shop. In 1959, he was the youngest person to be elected New Mexico state representative of Rio Arriba County. In 1971, Ralph was elected New Mexico Rio Arriba County commissioner. Ralph was well-known, admired and respected for his integrity and honesty during his tenures in office.

In Pagosa Springs, Ralph was an appraiser and clerk for Archuleta County until retirement. Ralph enjoyed woodworking and made works of art that hang proudly in his family’s and friends’ homes today. He was a voracious reader and worker of crossword and word search puzzles and had a great love of history. Ralph had a brilliant mind — many said he had “a calculator for a brain.”

A steadfast patriarch with a deep faith in God, Ralph handled every situation with kindness and gentleness. Without doubt, it was Ralph’s great faith that enabled him to dedicate his life to caring for his family. Always his main priority, his loved ones feel immensely fortunate and grateful to have had him in their lives. Loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and wonderful example to all those around him, Ralph is greatly missed already, and always will be.

Dad, may you rest comfortably and peacefully in God’s arms in heaven. One day, we will all be home together again. We love you with all of our hearts!

Ralph is survived by: wife and primary loving caretaker of 56 years Teodora Garcia; three daughters: Darice and Jerry Vigil, Virginia “Gina” Lucero and Clifford Lucero, Marlena Crandall and Ron Christensen; grandchildren: Jerry Jr. and Brunella Vigil (Emilio), Brandon and Alma Vigil (Gabriel), Shaun Vigil and Kimberlee Hurley, Dominique Lucero and Tasha Andrews (Diandra, Nadia), Tricia and Michael Vega (Aidan, Liana, Lillyan, Asher), Zachary and Liz Lucero, Kain Lucero, Anissa Lucero, Jacob Crandall; son-in-law Ron Crandall; siblings: Preciliano Garcia, Lucila Props, Loyola Palmer, Amos Garcia; sister-in-law Elma Garcia; brother-in-law Gilbert Lucero; and, many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Rafael was preceded in death by: son Mauro Garcia; daughter Markita Garcia; parents Preciliano and Cleofas Garcia; siblings Jose Ignacio Garcia, Mary Lucero and three infant siblings.

Rosary took place on Dec. 11 at Pope John Paul II Catholic Church, Pagosa Springs, Colo. Funeral Mass took place on Dec. 12 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Pagosa Springs, Colo.

Interment to follow at a later date at Lumberton Cemetery, Lumberton, N.M.