Cover photo for William Ray Sarver's Obituary

William Ray Sarver

d. March 26, 2023


In Loving Memory of William Ray Sarver

January 18,1937 – March 26, 2023

Loving Husband, Father, Best Step-dad in the Whole Wide World, grandfather, brother, brother-in-law, and a friend to all

Bill went to be with the Lord peacefully and happy as the person he was.  He was born in Detroit; proud son to Frank and Elizabeth Ann (Dittmore) Sarver whom preceded him and his brother Frank, Jr., step-sister Judy Mundell and sister-in-law, Gloria Sarver, Uncle Ray H. (Betty) Dittmore.  In-laws, Gabriel, and Aniceta (Salazar) Rodriguez.

Bill is survived by his wife of 43 years, Gabriella Rodriguez Sarver; daughter Julie Ann Sarver; step-daughter Anna Denise Flores whom she loved and called him “The Best Step-Dad in the Whole Wide World” (Chris I. Martinez, Jr.).  Granddaughters Devin and Taylor Tinsley and Gabrielle (Michael) Martinez and grandson CJ Martinez.  Great-granddaughter Harper, great-grandson Michael, Jr., and Angelique Herrera-Borrego who he loved as a granddaughter.  Bill is also survived by his brothers Robert Sarver (Milwaukee, WI) and Donald (Cora) Sarver (Long Island, NY).  In-laws: Sister Therese, O.P., Helen Rivera, Lydia Padilla, Agnes (Richard) Johnson, Margaret (Joe) Trujillo, Roberto, Carmen (Chuck Harrington), Orlando, Edna, Daniel, Rosa, and Ernest (Hazel) Rodriguez.  A cousin whom he valued as a brother, Dean (Theresa) Chandler (Herrick, IL).  Many nieces, nephews, and friends whom he cherished.

Bill served with distinction in the U.S. Army as a cryptograph operator and a paratrooper.  After a 3-year honorable discharge from the Army, Bill joined the Paratrooper Club in Gallup, NM which he enjoyed.  A Green Bay Packer fan.  While living in WI, Bill took and taught underprivileged children to snowmobile, water ski and camp; his greatest joy was to see them enjoy themselves and their accomplishments.  Throughout Bill’s life which he loved and lived to the fullest, he continued his thrilling life flying a para-plane; air diving; parasailing; bungee jumping; swimming with the sharks; swimming with the dolphins; race car driving; boating; jet skiing; solemn skiing; canoeing; snowmobiling; snow skiing; RVing and sea cruises.  On Christmas eve, Bill dressed up as Santa Claus with the outfit his wife designed and made for him.  He played Santa Claus for his favorite niece Carolyn Rivera, for neighbors and friends and always made it a point to play Santa to the patients at the Espanola Hospital talking to them and giving them a candy cane and a small gift.  Bill was full of life and enjoyed life; he had such an infectious smile and personality, was a kind, gentle, humble, and always had a positive outlook in life.  Like his brothers, he could tell great jokes and many stories.  Bill is now in a happy place no longer suffering from Parkinson Disease.

Bill met his wife, Gabriella on a blind-date orchestrated by his friends who also became their best-man and maid-of-honor, Joe and Marcella Romero.  Bill came to NM with his Uncle Ray Dittmore from Milwaukee, WI to bid on the purchase of the local Continental Telephone Company.  After that date, Bill decided to work closer to NM to continue his relationship with his wife, Gabriella.

Bill and Gabriella flew to Kawi and married at the Fern Grotto without telling their children nor anyone else; funny thing was that the preacher was from Albuquerque.  The Lady and her band of 3 stood up for them as well as sang “Moon River, etc.” and played their guitars at the Grotto and on the river-boat ride where the newlyweds danced and viewed the beautiful scenery; later, honeymooning in Tahiti.  A year after, they married at Holy Cross Church with Father Luis Picazo officiating.

Bill retired from his uncle’s telephone company “Universal Telephone” (WI).  Moved to NM; worked as an electronical contractor at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and later as a security escort for a private contractor at LANL.  Bill was a past member of the Eagles and a standing member of the American Legion Post 17.  Thank you, David Pineda, Jose G. Garcia, and Bob Herrera for keeping contact with Bill when he no longer could not attend the meetings.

Please join our family in celebrating the life of Bill on Thursday, April 13, 2023.   A Rosary at 9:00 am followed by a Funeral Mass at 9:30 am at Holy Cross Catholic Church.  After a reception, burial will follow at the Santa Fe National Cemetery at 2:30 pm. 

Serving as Honorary Pallbearers will be his very close friends, Marcella (Joe+) Romero, Roland and Dorothy Borrego, Ralph and Leigh Ortiz and Maria (Lalo +) Ramirez.  As well as the American Legion Post 17.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bill’s honor to the Holy Cross Catholic School, P.O. Box 1228, Santa Cruz, NM 87567.  The family of William “Bill” Ray Sarver has entrusted his care to the DeVargas Funeral Home and Crematory of the Espanola Valley (505) 747-7477. 

The family of William Sarver has entrusted the care of their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the beautiful Espanola Valley.   (505) 747-7477

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

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, April 13, 2023

9:00 - 9:30 am (Mountain time)

Holy Cross Catholic Church

126 S McCurdy Rd, Santa Cruz, NM 87567

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Thursday, April 13, 2023

9:30 - 10:00 am (Mountain time)

Holy Cross Catholic Church (Santa Cruz)


Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Thursday, April 13, 2023

2:30 - 3:00 pm (Mountain time)

Santa Fe National Cemetery

Santa Fe New Mexico, Santa Fe, NM

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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