Cover photo for Bill Caperton's Obituary
Bill Caperton Profile Photo

Bill Caperton

December 18, 2020

A long-time resident of San Pedro in Espanola, New Mexico, Billy Jack Caperton passed away peacefully at home at the age of 92 on December 18, 2020. Bill touched many lives as an educator for over 31 years, a decorated Army Veteran, a leader in his parish, and an active horseman. He served as a national advocate for children’s issues and a local leader for education throughout his life. A tremendous father, husband, son, grandson, nephew, brother, cousin, uncle, and friend, Bill never hesitated to help his family, community, or anyone in need, and always knew how to make everyone laugh and enjoy life.

Bill was preceded in death by his beloved wife of almost 33 years, Margaret Consuelo Montoya de Caperton, another passionate and dedicated educator and advocate for children; his parents, John William Caperton and Miriam Osborn Caperton; his in-laws, Adolfo Montoya and Elaiza Lujan de Montoya; numerous aunts, uncles, sisters-in law, brothers-in law, cousins, nieces, nephews; and his God Daughter, Yolanda Olivas de Jacques.

Bill is survived by his only child, William James Caperton y Montoya of San Pedro and Los Angeles; his sister, Polly SoRelle and husband Charles of Amarillo, Texas; his sister-in law Virginia Archuleta and husband Ruben of Espanola; and his niece, Jan SoRelle, and her children, Kelly Harkins Ravestijn and Seth Woolsey and their families.

Numerous other nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews survive him in addition to seven God Children: Phillip Jacques; Lucas Cala; Lori Andino; Christopher and Kristin Roybal; Terry Reynolds Geer; and Vanessa Zoler, as well as eight honorary God Children: Gloria Cala and Lauren Cala Edwards; Marcella, Franchesca, and Christopher Atencio; Matthew Jacques; and Estevan and Jessica Padilla.

He taught elementary school in New Mexico and Texas for nine years and was the County School Superintendent for Union County, New Mexico for two years. Bill served as principal of Espanola Elementary in New Mexico for three years, was Director of Special Projects for the New Mexico State Department of Education for seven years, and Director of Instruction for the Pojoaque Valley School System for ten and a half years prior to retiring in 1984 to run his own horse racing business.

Bill was active in several professional educational associations at the national, state, and local levels including the National Education Association; National Elementary School Principals Association; New Mexico Teacher Education and Professional Standards Commission; and the New Mexico and Espanola Valley Associations of Educational Retirees.

He was born in Tell, Texas in 1928. He grew up as a true cowboy on ranches in New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. He was a 1946 graduate of Grenville High School in New Mexico and earned a BA in Agriculture from West Texas State University in 1950 and an MA in Education with minors in Sociology and History in 1954. Bill completed advanced degree work at New Mexico Highlands University and New Mexico State University, and earned a Specialist Degree in School Administration from the University of New Mexico.

Bill was a Founding Charter Member of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA). In 1950, Bill and his life-long friend, Earl Reynolds, won the World Championship in Collegiate Team Roping at the NIRA Finals Rodeo in San Francisco at the Cow Palace.

He served his country in the Korean War for three years and was decorated with the United States Korean Service Medal of Honor. As a young man, Bill was recruited by the government to become a counter intelligence agent in the Far East Command. He served as an operative for the Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) working with the Central Intelligence Agency in Japan and with the Federal Bureau of Investigation domestically. He also served in the U.S. Selective Service System as a draft board member for 20 years.

Bill was a parishioner of La Iglesia de Santa Cruz de la Canada Catholic Church, a Mayordomo of the San Pedro Chapel built by Margaret’s family, and an active Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus. He volunteered for several charities and served on boards of directors for many government and nonprofit organizations.

A celebration in honor of Bill’s life will be held with Catholic ceremonies including a Rosary, Mass, and Burial as soon as community gatherings are possible once again. His Pall Bearers are: Phillip Jacques; Buddy Jacques; Franklin Garcia; Chuck Cala; Michael Roybal; Art Montano; Larry Archuleta; and Orlando Archuleta. Honorary Pall Bearers are Kelly Harkins Ravestijn; Seth Woolsey; Lauren Cala Edwards; Lucas Cala; Christopher and Kristin Roybal; Franchesca and Christopher Atencio; Louie Montano; and Kenny Jr. Montoya.

Will would like to thank the many relatives and friends who made so many good memories with him and his parents over the years, and would especially like to thank Gloria Cala, Marcella Atencio, Franklin Garcia, and their families for taking such good care of Bill after Margaret passed away 20 years ago on Christmas Day, 2000.

Additional thanks from the family to Connie Medina for her friendship with Bill, and to Bunny Romero for her recent care of Bill. The family of Bill Caperton has entrusted the care of their loved one to the DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Espanola Valley.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bill Caperton, please visit our flower store.

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