Joseph Elmer Guillen , 92, a resident of Española, New Mexico left this world peacefully on Friday, February 26, 2021, following a short illness. He was preceded in death by his parents, Enrique and Anita Sanchez Guillen; brothers, Phillip, Dickie and Tranquilino; sisters, Teresina Galvez and Rebecca Salazar, brothers-in-law, Ross, Regino and Dennis Salazar, Dionicio Galvez, Bernardino Salazar, Merce Villareal, and sister-in-law, Eva Salazar Ahlborn.
Elmer was born on April 21, 1928 to Enrique Guillen, a lifelong teacher, and his loving mother Anita Sanchez Guillen. He grew up in Alcalde and was an outstanding student and athlete at Española High School where he played football, basketball and baseball for the Hornets. That is where he met and later married his high school sweetheart, Frances, who he crowned homecoming queen as football captain. In later years they were both very active and competed very successfully in the Senior Olympics Program at both the county and state level. They made many friends across the state and brought home many medals, ribbons and honors.
Elmer will be remembered by his friends and family as a kind and caring man full of life, love and humor. He was a master mechanic and loved working on vehicle repair projects and tending to his garden. He was very generous with his time offering his help and guidance to all. He also counseled many friends through difficult times during his long and dedicated service on the Recovery of Alcoholics Program Board of Directors. Many knew him from his time at J.W. Owens, Tewa Lanes and Southwest Cable TV. He was also a devoted member of the Holy Cross Parish in Santa Cruz.
Elmer’s greatest love was his family. He and Frances have four children, whom he loved very dearly and had a special bond with each. He was also very passionate about his grandchildren, they gave him much joy and happiness. His first and only great grandchild, Nico, gave him special joy over the last several months and brought new smiles and laughter to his face.
Elmer is survived by his beloved wife of 72 years, Frances Salazar Guillen of Española; children: JoAnn Korski and husband Edward of Surprise, Arizona; Joseph E. Jr. and wife Cathy of Espanola; James Ivan and partner Kim Gonzales of La Mesilla; and Nadine of Albuquerque, grandchildren: Keith Korski, Kevin Korski, Carlos Guillen and husband Chris Conboy, Chris Guillen and wife Ana, Katrina Guillen, and Mario Guillen and fiancé Yesenia Solis; great-grandson: Nicolas “Nico” Guillen; sister; Clarabelle Villareal; sisters-in-law: Matilde Guillen, Bette Guillen and Connie Salazar; brother-in-law: David Salazar; and numerous nephews, nieces, relatives and friends that loved him dearly.
Public viewing will be held on Thursday, March 4, 2021 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Sangre de Cristo Chapel of DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory. A rosary will be recited on Friday March 5, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Santa Cruz with funeral mass to follow at 11:00 a.m. Burial will follow at the Holy Cross Cemetery. The following will serve as pallbearers, all his grandchildren; nephews, Pancho Galvez and Kenny Salazar, and Godchildren, Walter Vigil, Jeffrey Block and Jackie Salazar Weise. All current NM COVID restrictions will be followed including masks, social distancing, and attendance restrictions at 75 persons. The family of Elmer Guillen has entrusted the care of their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Española Valley.