Jose “Joe” Romero Jr., 87, a lifelong resident of Cordova, NM passed away peacefully at home on Monday, February 3, 2020.
He was born on September 25, 1932 to Nabor Romero and Octaviana Trujillo Romero. He was born and raised in the small farming and ranching community of Cordova, NM.
Joe was a very hard worker since he was a young child. At an early age of 6 years old he was entrusted to raise his father’s goats. His father, Nabor was the only person with a herd of goats in Cordova, NM at that time. Lil’ Joe would walk the herd of goats through town and would make pit stops in the community to provide fresh goat’s milk to many families in the community. He would milk the goats, and trade goat’s milk for other necessities for his family. He would also help with thatching wheat for his community and surrounding communities.
Photographers passing through Cordova, NM (circa 1939 to 1944) were intrigued with the little boy, his dogs and the herd of goats. On more than one occasion, different photographers took pictures of lil’ Joe and the goats. There’s one picture in particular that is pretty amazing, it has lil’ Joe (at age 10) holding his black puppy and over thirty kids (baby goats) around him in his dad’s coral. That is one of several photographs that are currently preserved as part of our history at the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives History Museum located in Santa Fe, NM.
Joe graduated from Santa Cruz High School in 1952 and shortly after graduating he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War. After serving for two years, he came back home to Cordova, NM. On June 18, 1955, he married Maria A.E. Trujillo. The day after their wedding day, a Sargent from the U.S. Army came to visit Joe, and Joe decided to re-enlist.
He liked the U.S. Army so much, that he stayed in the service for over seven years, which gave him a chance to be stationed in Germany for approximately two years, Illinois for almost two years and Alaska for three years. During the seven plus (7+) years in the U.S. Army, he specialized in Procurement and Stock Control of supplies.
In April of 1960, he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in Anchorage, AK. In 1961, he decided that he wanted to move his family back to his hometown of Cordova, NM. He drove his family (which consisted of his wife and his three small children - ages 5, 3 and 2) in his station wagon, with a mattress in the back for his children to rest during the long drive. He’d stop driving so he could rest for only a few hours every night, driving for eight (8) days straight until he reached his destination of Cordova, NM.
Soon thereafter, he went to work for the Espanola Hospital in Espanola, NM as the Purchasing Agent. In 1966 after being with the Espanola Hospital for six years, he went and bought a new car at Cimino Car Center in Espanola, NM. While he was doing the transaction, the owner of the car agency (Mr. Dominic Cimino) offered him a job selling cars.
After Joe was convinced that he would make more money selling cars than at his current job, he decided to change jobs. On May 1, 1966 he started his car salesman career at Cimino Car Center and then continued to work at Henry Valencia, Inc. It wasn’t long after, that Joe excelled as an outstanding car salesman and became an ICON at Henry Valencia, Inc.
In 1975, and for more than ten consecutive years thereafter, he was recognized as a Professional Sales Master by the Buick Division for his outstanding sales achievement and devotion to customer service; was awarded Henry Valencia, Inc. Car Salesman of the Month Awards numerous times (too many to count), Henry Valencia, Inc. Car Salesman of the Year Awards numerous times and received Outstanding Car Salesman awards from GMC, Chevrolet, Pontiac & Buick to name a few.
During his 38-year tenure as a car salesman, he sold hundreds of vehicles and made hundreds of friends. He loved his customers and he never forgot any of them. Even though the dealership kept computerized records of every customer, he kept handwritten customer records because he didn’t trust computers. He’d call his customers on their birthdays every year. During the Christmas holiday season, he would sit for hours at a time hand writing personalized Christmas cards, addressing envelopes, licking hundreds of envelopes and stamps so that he could mail them to his customers.
While working as a car salesman, Joe also attended Northern New Mexico Community College for two years, taking classes in Business Administration and Accounting.
He continued to work as a car salesman until his retirement on December 31, 2004. Clocking out and leaving the dealership at exactly at 6:00 p.m., he walked out with tears in his eyes leaving behind what he loved to do. After his retirement, he enjoyed working at the ranch, taking care of his property, raising cows, and continued to work endless number of hours to finish building his new house. He cherished spending time with his family and friends.
Joe had a firm belief, “It doesn’t matter where you are from or what skills you learn in life. You can always make a decent living if you do your job and do it well, because there’s always room for advancement. The only way that anybody can do his/her job well, is by being devoted and you have to have the desire and determination to accomplish your goal.”
Joe was the last surviving sibling from his family. He was preceded in death by his parents, Nabor Romero and Octaviana Trujillo Romero; siblings, Corina “Cora” Vigil Sandoval (Marcial), Filemon Romero (Clorinda), Ernestina Romero, Jose Isabro Romero, Nabor Romero, Jr. & Ramon A. Romero; granddaughter, Shaylene Romero; father-in-law, Aurelio Trujillo and mother-in-law, Constancia Trujillo.
Joe is survived by his children Benny Romero (Vicky), Kathie Romero-Villareal, Dolores Romero Vigil (Miguel), Frankie Romero (Judy), mother of his children, Maria A.E. Romero; children John Romero (Tammy), Joseph Romero (Melissa), mother of his children, Delia Romero; and Raymond Romero (Pamela).
Grandchildren: Kimberly Olivas, Joaquin Romero (partner Monica), Christina Villareal (partner Cisco), Carlos Villareal, Estevan J. Vigil, Reina Vigil Valdez (Danny), Thomas Vigil (Ashley), Joseph Romero Jr., Noah Romero, Jonah Romero, Jonathon Romero, Brandon Romero, Ezekiel Romero, Matthew Ray Romero and Neeomiah Romero. Great-grandchildren: Andrea Leyba, Jesus Romero, Diego Valdez, Delilah Valdez, Dominic Valdez, Malakai Vigil, Dalia Vigil, Hazel Romero and Abiagal. Step-grandchildren: Jeanette Rodriguez Duran (Matt), Walter “Goosey” Rodriguez (Lisa) and Jenay Vigil Martinez (Jacob). Step great-grandchildren: Gabriel Duran, Kyle Rodriguez, Demetri Rodriguez and Isaiah Martinez.
Joe is also survived by a very special prima, Martha Trujillo Herrera; special nephews Tommy Romero (& son, lil’ Tommy) and Roy Arnold Romero (& family); his sisters-in law Rosina Romero, Oclides Romero & Otilia Lopez Romero; his Henry Valencia Inc. family … Henry Valencia, Sr., Margaret Valencia, Ernestine Valdez, Joe Sisneros, Pres Garcia, Bobby Martinez and all of the Henry Valencia, Inc. staff (all car salesmen, mechanics, body shop staff, service shop staff); and numerous other relatives and friends.
The Romero family would like to thank the Addus Home Healthcare staff and Hospice Staff. Special thanks to all the caregivers who cared for our father as if he were their family member, especially those caregivers who were there now at the end: Ruby Valdez, Celina Borrego-Garcia, Tina Borrego, Emily Herrera & Theresa Sandoval-Rivera.
Public visitation will begin on Thursday, February 6, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. in the Sangre de Cristo Chapel of DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory with a rosary to follow at 7:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, February 8, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Family Parish in Chimayo with a burial to follow at the Cordova Catholic Cemetery.
Grandchildren serving as pallbearers: Estevan J. Vigil, Joaquin Romero, Thomas Vigil, Carlos Villareal, Jonathon Romero & Brandon Romero. Grandchildren serving as honorary pallbearers: Kimberly Olivas, Reina Vigil Valdez, Christina Villareal, Joseph Romero, Jr. and Ezekiel Romero.
The family of Jose “Joe” Romero Jr. has entrusted the care of their beloved one to the DeVargas Funeral Home and Crematory of the Espanola Valley.
505.747.7477 – www.devargasfuneral.com
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