Dennis Salazar, a resident of Espanola, passed away on Thursday, November 12, 2020 due to complications from COVID-19. Dennis was born in El Guache, New Mexico May 12, 1935. He was preceded in death by his parents; Ross and Josephine Salazar; brothers Ross Salazar Jr., and Regino Salazar; sister, Eva S. Ahlborn; stepmother, Carmen Salazar; Spouses Ymelda DeVargas, Rena Oyenque and Angie Martinez.
Dennis was a successful businessman and community leader. He was best known as the founder of the Saints and Sinners Liquor Store and Lounge in Espanola which he operated since 1963. He treated all his customers, neighbors and friends like family, always providing words of encouragement and support. He was a U.S. Army Veteran and attended the University of New Mexico. Dennis was a proud graduate and alumni of the El Rito Normal High School and later, along with his brother Regino, helped found, what is today Northern New Mexico College, where he served on the Board of Regents for several years. He was elected to serve as a delegate to the New Mexico Constitutional Convention held in the 1960’s. He also started Southwest Cable, the first cable television station in Espanola, and was among the founders of El Pueblo State Bank in Espanola.
Dennis was known for his deep interest in improving public and higher education and encouraging friends and family, including those who worked at Saints, to further their education and return home to benefit others and help improve the community. His distinctive outlook on life and his belief in love as a basis for advice and decisions making had an extremely positive impact on anyone, he had the opportunity to cross paths with him and led to a much kinder and more gentle multicultural community. His humor, light heartedness and knowledge coupled with the ability to allow people to be themselves made for an enlightening and memorable visit.
Dennis is survived by his son, Ken Salazar; daughter, Teri Devargas; daughter, Jackie Martinez-Garcia and husband Patrick Garcia; daughter-in-law, Nancy Salazar; grandchildren Lucas and Tess Salazar, Dominic Velarde and Diego Romano, Miguel and Elena Garcia; sister, Frances Guillen and husband Elmer of Espanola; brother David Salazar of Santa Fe; sister-in-law Connie Salazar of Las Vegas, Nevada; nieces and nephews, Cassandra Salazar, JoAnn Korski and husband Ed, Joe Guillen and wife Cathy, Ivan Guillen, Nadine Guillen, Michelle Salazar Brooks and husband Alex, and Bianca Salazar; numerous great-nephews, nieces and other relatives and friends.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic and the Governor’s health orders, services have been postponed until a safer and more appropriate time. The family of Dennis Salazar has entrusted his funeral arrangements to DeVargas Funeral Home of the Espanola Valley. 505-747-7477—www.devargasfuneral.com
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