Candles 02

Efren Sanchez

November 12, 2020


Efren Sanchez—beloved husband, father, grandfather, and brother—passed away November 12, 2020, surrounded by family in his Lyden home, a stone’s throw away from where he was born, 85 years ago.

He is preceeded in death by his father Juan Antonio Sanchez, and mother Josefita (nee Pacheco), siblings Viola Martinez, Consuelo Martinez, Joe L. Sanchez, and Paul Sanchez.  He is survived by his sister Isabel Salazar, his wife, Kay Sanchez, his son Andrew and daughter Beth Ann; two grandsons, Justin and Jonathan, and one granddaughter, Alma.

Born April 30, 1935, Efren lived his life in the Española Valley, a devoted member of his church, community, and family. Efren was a fourth-degree knight in the Knights of Columbus, and an hermano of the Morada de Los Pachecos.

After graduation from Española High School, he went to St. Michaels College for two years, became a bookkeeper for Jemez Electric Coop, then an insurance salesman in the days when the job required him to go door-to-door to provide his service.  He met his future wife—Kay Schwartz—who came to Española from Montana to be a nurse.

The couple built their home on family property in 1972 and raised their family. He eventually went to work for the State of New Mexico, including the Human Rights Commission, where he retired in 1998.  

After retirement—as noted in a 2017 proclamation of the Rio Arriba County Commission—he devoted his time advocating for young people and preserving northern New Mexico’s Hispanic community’s cultural, religious and family traditions. One way he did this was organizing community efforts, such as the Northern New Mexico Youth and Families Walk Against Drugs, which he and a small devoted group began on May 20, 2002. His work with this group was recognized by the New Mexico State legislature in 2013 and by Rio Arriba County in 2017.

When at home, he spent time in his garden, where he became famous locally for his chile and chicos.  He also enjoyed passing on his knowledge of farming, herbal medicine and local family genealogy while telling tales on his front porch.  He also passed on traditional matanza knowledge to everyone willing to come to his annual celebration.  Public visitation will begin on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. in the Sangre de Cristo Chapel of DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory. A graveside service will be held on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at La Morada de Alcalde. Burial to follow at the Alcalde Catholic Cemetery, with immediate family and friends. Pallbearers will be Ronald Binion, Gilbert Borrego, Tony Sandoval, Joe Martinez, Glen Gregory, and Perry Sanchez. The family would like to extend their gratitude to Road Runner Hospice and all the friends who called to offer condolences. The Family of Efren Sanchez has entrusted the care of their loved one to the DeVargas Funeral Home of the Espanola Valley. 

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