Paul Romero, age 96, a long-time resident of Velarde and a resident of Albuquerque since 2009, was born in Velarde in 1925, and passed away peacefully on April 14, 2022, at Rust Medical Center with family by his side.
Paul lived a blessed and long life. He had been looking forward to his 100th birthday and many were sure he would easily make it. However, it was not to be, after being stricken by a massive heart attack.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Flavio and Cirila Romero, his wife of 54 years, Cecilia, their daughter Ana; and his siblings, Flavio (Freda), Lita Gutierrez (Alejo), Lucia Serna (Tony), Flora Ortiz (Ramon), Jose (Eloisa), Eloy, Sophie Vigil and Levi (Frina). Paul was the last of his generation.
He is also preceded in death by his in-laws from the Cecilia Valdez family: Josephine Martinez (Max), Apolinar (Simodosea), Ralph (Doloritas), Ruby Martinez (Max), Carolina Lopez (Juan), Ruperto (Jennie), Frank (Mary), Demetrio Valdez and Aurora Montoya (Tony).
He is survived by his three sons, Larry and wife Julia of Albuquerque, Paul(Gene) of Velarde, James and wife Reina of Albuquerque: three daughters, Geri and husband Tony Roybal of Albuquerque, Carmel and husband Jon Hooker of Nashville, Barbara (Bobbie) and wife Ginger Romero-Moreno of Albuquerque. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Bernice Romero, and brother-in-law, Longino Vigil.
Paul was blessed with 11 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren. His grandchildren are Daniel, David (Larry), Victoriana, Marcos (Paul/Gene), James Michael, Contessa (James), Joshua, Karla (Ana), Chad, Sierra, and Paul (Carmel). His great grandchildren are Joshua, Jeramiah,
Eugene, Cecilia (Paul/Gene), Elena, Diana, James, Alex (James), Saahur, Elyziah, Ankhara, Ukko, Eliina, Manu, Eden (Ana), Elliana and Ellis (Carmel). Paul’s 7 step great grandchildren are: Carlos Jr., Rhianna, Bella, Justina and Monique (Paul/Gene).
Paul graduated from Espanola High School in 1944. He was drafted into the army on December 7, 1944, to serve in WWII. Stationed in the South Pacific at Camp Roberts, South Korea, Sergeant Romero fought for the liberation of the Philippines in Luzon and Manila. He received many honors and decorations that include the Army of Occupation Medal (Japan), the Philippine Liberation Medal and the Asiatic Pacific Medal of Good Conduct & Victory. His honorable discharge in September 1946, meant Paul could return to Velarde and marry his beloved, Cecilia Valdez.
He & Cecilia married on April 12, 1947. He worked for Zia Company in Los Alamos for 42 years, from where he retired in 1987 as the Shipping & Receiving Supervisor. After retirement, he and Cecilia lived in Velarde until she passed away in October 2001. Paul continued to live in Velarde in the family home after Cecilia passed away.
In 2009 he moved to Albuquerque. He enjoyed going to the casinos periodically and was extremely lucky. He cherished visits from friends and family. One of his favorite pastimes was watching sports on TV especially professional football, basketball and baseball, but he watched all other sports from the Olympics to golf. He spent much of his time supervising his children’s chile garden and tying ristras. Paul enjoyed Albuquerque, but his heart remained in Velarde along with his Cecilia.
Paul was devoted to his wife, Cecilia. When she passed away in October of 2001, they had been married 54 years. Just two days before he passed away, he celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. Paul and Cecilia were truly in
love and did almost everything thing together. It is hard to say Paul without saying Paul and Cecilia, such was his devotion to his wife of 54 years. This devotion was a model of dedication. Vivid memories of them after Paul’s retirement include, he and Cecilia preparing the Cosecha (harvest) then heading out together to the various markets, and family gatherings such as the hoedown dinners, anniversary and retirement parties.
Paul was devoted to his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Family was the center of his life. Paul’s life purpose was to love, care for, support, advise, teach, reprimand, accept, encourage and guide his children. He and Cecilia made sure their kids knew education was important, a must, not an option.
Paul was devoted to his church, his community and his religion. They all played an important role in Paul’s life. He served as mayordomo (guardian) for Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission Church in Velarde and helped with many of the church traditions such as Trinity Sunday, Our Lady of Guadalupe vespers and feast day, and many other church feast days. He took great pride in helping Cecilia fund-raise to help build the parish hall in Velarde. He served on St. Anthony’s Catholic School Board and worked tirelessly to keep the school open. He was a member of The Holy Name Society and served as Eucharistic Minister for many years. In further service to his community, he served on the Zia Credit Union Board for many years.
Paul was devoted to his hobby ~ his farm. Upon retirement this hobby became a full-time job, as he tended his orchard and garden in La Canova and in later years, the Luna property. Paul served as mayordomo for the Acequia de los Garcias for many years. He did his part to keep the acequia systems of Velarde/La Canova maintained and functioning.
He had few complaints of the hard work in his garden and orchard. In later years, he would feel the pain of stooping and hoeing, irrigating, loading and unloading la carga (the load). He loved tending to his orchards, chile and vegetable gardens, making chicos, tying chile, making ristras, grinding chile, and selling his high-quality produce at various Farmers’ Markets in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. One could sit for hours listening to his stories of working on the farm and the many fruteadas (trips to peddle fruit), from his formative years as young boy peddling with his father from a horse drawn wagon, to his years when he sold his fruit to his marchantes (steady customers) who knew him and his father.
He took tremendous pride in this work, which served as an exemplary example of his strong work ethic and sense of honor. He expected this of others in return – holding everyone to a very high standard.
There are many ways to describe Paul: a strict, but excellent father, an incredible provider and husband, a man who was knowledgeable and wise, someone with a great sense of humor, disciplined and driven, a generous man, a man dedicated to his family, a hardworking man, a good friend, someone to depend on, a special one-of-a-kind, a man with a strong character and solid work ethic. The most enlightening descriptor, offered by a nephew is: irreplaceable. His legacy and memory will live on in our lives because of these beautiful character traits.
Paul selected his grandsons to serve as his pallbearers: Daniel Romero, Marcos Romero, James Michael Romero, Joshua Torres, Chad Hooker and Paul Hooker. Honorary pallbearers are his godchildren, Charlyn Mascarenas, Martha Bateman, Rita Ortiz, Alicia Lujan, Daniel Romero, Karla Torres, Janice Martinez, Alberto Roybal and Joseph Roybal; and his 17 great grandchildren. His grandson, David Romero will do the honor of delivering his eulogy.
The Holy Rosary will be recited at St. Therese of the Little Flower Catholic Church at 3424 4th Street, NW, Albuquerque, on Thursday, April 28, Visitation with the family at 4:00 followed by the rosary at 5:00 pm. The Catholic Rite of Christian Burial will also be held at St. Therese of the Little Flower, on Friday, April 29, at 9:30 am. A funeral mass will be scheduled at a date closer to the interment at the National Cemetery in May.
The family would like to extend sincere gratitude to the staff of the Rust Medical Center Emergency Room, Cath Lab and Intensive Care Unit for their kind and compassionate care. The family also extends their sincere appreciation to the many family members, friends and neighbors who visited and brought Paul many favorite treats. Gratitude is extended to French Funeral Home on Wyoming for their generous help and support.
As an option, please feel free to donate to your favorite cause in lieu of sending flowers.
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