Jerry L. Behrend


Jerry L. Behrend, 54, loving husband, father, son and friend, and a life-long resident of Albuquerque, died Tuesday, Feb. 26.

He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Betty Behrend; sons, Jeffrey Behrend and James Behrend, of Los Lunas; mother, Mae Behrend; sister, Roberta Behrend, of Albuquerque; and several other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his father, Robert F. Behrend in 1984. Behrend was an eight-year Vietnam Veteran of the U.S. Army. He loved to build hot rods and was an artist who created many things for family and friends.

Services will be held at noon on Saturday, March 2, at French Mortuary, 1111 University Blvd. NE in Albuquerque with Pastor Rick Donaho officiating. Cremation will follow services.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Lung Association of New Mexico, 216 Truman NE, 87108.

George Henry Coffin


George Henry Coffin, a resident of Albuquerque since 1967, passed away on Monday, Feb. 25.

He was born on July 10, 1926, in Framingham, Mass.

George was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War and proudly served in the U.S. Navy Reserve, achieving the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer.

He worked for over 50 years as a Tool and Die Maker, retiring from Motorola in 1994. For nearly 20 years, he selflessly volunteered for the New Mexico Mounted Patrol. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant and was a past commander of Troop 2 in Albuquerque.

He was a master mason for 52 years, a member of the Temple Lodge Number 6 and was also an active member of Sandia Presbyterian Church.

George is survived by his beautiful and loving wife, Valentina and his children; Herb and Karin Coffin of Ruidoso, NM; Jennifer and Tim March of Portales; Michel and Michael Mertens of Austin, Texas; and Cassandra and Larry August Jr. of Los Lunas.

He is also survived by his grandchildren Heather and David Shields, Gary Coffin, Casey Board, Kari Board, Susan Coffin, and the newest addition to the family, his great-great-granddaughter, Avery Shields.

George is also survived by his many friends who loved him and will miss his kind and generous spirit.

Interment took place at the Santa Fe National Cemetery on Friday, March 1. Following the burial, the memorial service was held at Sandia Presbyterian Church, 10704 Paseo del Norte NE in Albuquerque.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his name to the American Lung Foundation of New Mexico. Arrangements by Direct Funeral Services in Albuquerque.

Merlin Crawford Gantz


Merlin Crawford Gantz, 81, passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 26, from complications of a fall and resulting brain injury.

He was born on April 16, 1920, in Pikeville, Ky., to S.A. and Mary Gantz. His home through his college years was Indianapolis, Ind.

Merlin attended Purdue University under athletic scholarship for baseball and football and received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1947 and later his Masters at the University of New Mexico.

His education at Purdue was interrupted by World War II, during which he was a Marine Corps pilot. He worked for New York Life Insurance Co. in the 1950s. At the old Albuquerque Sunport, he worked for the FAA in the control tower and later in Phoenix, Ariz., at Sky Harbour.

From 1974 to 1996, he built himself a home and retired in Belen. In the early 1970s he moved from the North Valley of Albuquerque to Scottsdale, Ariz. Merlin and his wife, Jane, were very active in the Mountain View Presbyterian Church in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Merlin sang in the choir and participated in the musical productions put on by the church.

Last year, Merlin joined the First Presbyterian Church in Belen. He was a member of the El Zaribah Shrine in Phoenix and recently became a member of the Bethlehem Lodge No. 56, AF and AM in Belen.

His many interests included golf, flying, music and building model airplanes. Along with his wife, Jane, he was very active in the Rio Grande Horse Association. For many years he announced the State Fair horse show here in Albuquerque and at various national shows.

He is preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Jane Bobbitt Maddox Gantz and daughter, Diane Lucille Hartman.

He is survived by his children, Blake Maddox of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Jim Maddox of Belen; Susie Hartman of Scottsdale; his grandchildren, David Hartman and Bobbie Hartman Deamon of Albuquerque; Debbie Donk of Scottsdale; Glenn Monserrat of Phoenix; Amy Maddox Dawn of Arlington, Texas; Todd and Brian Maddox; his great grandchildren, Abby Mae Dawson; Jack Cooper Dawson; Colin Maddox; Sidney Donk; Taylor Daemon; Alexandra and Ryan Monserrat; and his faithful sweet dog, Wishbone, whom he loved dearly.

His many friends will miss Merlin on the 16th tee box of Tierra Del Sol Country Club.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 9, at 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 85 Manzano Expressway in Belen. Interment will be at a later date at the Santa Fe National Cemetery. Romero Funeral Home in Belen is in charge of arrangements.

Ann Marie Hunsperger

Died 2002

Ann Marie “Nancy” Hunsperger, a resident of Belen, passed away at an Albuquerque hospital on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Cremation has taken place. Please contact Romero Funeral Home for service times at 864-8501.

Eusebio Ortiz Pino


Eusebio Ortiz Pino, 76, a life-long resident of Belen, passed away on Saturday, Feb. 23.

He was born July 12, 1925. He was a member of Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church. He worked for V.C.M.C. in Barstow, Calif., from 1947 to 1950. He joined the U.S. Army in October 1950 and served during the Korean War in Alaska. He was honorably discharged in 1952. He retired from Kirtland Air Force Base after 33 years of dedicated service. He also worked as a building inspector for Valencia County from 1987 to 1992 and as a bartender for Tommy’s Lounge from 1992 to 1994.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Amadeo and Evarista Pino; three sisters, Vickie Munford, Sylvia Duran and Pasqualita Torres; and four brothers, Ross, Timoteo, David and Charlie Pino.

Pino is survived by his wife of 48 years, Olivia; his children, Bobby and his wife, Barbara Pino; Cindy and her husband, Richard Sanchez, and Leroy and his wife, Marlene Pino, all of Belen; his eight grandchildren, Karrie, Jamie, Ricardo, Robert, David, Justin, Jeremy and Jacob; one great-grandchild, Nicolai Baca; and his sister, Patsy Archibique, of Barstow, Calif. He is also survived by his many loving nieces, nephews and friends.

A viewing was held at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church with a rosary following at 6 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church. Interment will take place that same day at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.

Pallbearers are Robert, David and Justin Pino, Ricardo Sanchez, David and Karrie Renteria, Joshua Baca and Jonathon Carroll. Romero Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Richard Smrt


Richard “Rick” Smrt, born on August 5, 1954, in Miami Fla., passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

A life-long resident of Belen, Rick graduated from Belen High School in 1972. He was a well-known businessman owning and operating Rick Smrt Advertising for many years. His business adventures took him all over the United States.

He was a mainstay at the New Mexico State Fair, selling his many wares. He was also one of the first entrepreneurs to realize the potential and magnitude that the Albuquerque Kodak Balloon Festival would have on the state of New Mexico and the country.

Since the Balloon Festival inception, he made sure he had a well-positioned booth, and each year his business continued to grow. A person could always stop at his booths at the state fair, balloon festival, and many other trade shows and events and be greeted with a big smile and a warm handshake.

Rick always loved visiting with all of his many family and friends.

He is preceded in death by his father, Richard “Little Richie Johnson” Smrt in 1997; one uncle, Charles J. in 1977; his mother and father-in-law, Eudora and Delno West.

Rick is survived by his loving wife of 29 years, Marie; his two children, Richard and Erica; his mother, Ann Griffin and her husband, Larry, of Colorado; his grandmothers, Dorothy Fleming, also of Colorado, and Katie Johnson of Belen; his step-mother, Carol Wood, and her husband, Paul, of Albuquerque; his three brothers, Chuck Smrt and his wife, Susan, of Belen; Jim Smrt and his wife, Jacque, of Nevada; and George Griffin of Ariz.; his two sisters, Sandra Beck and her husband, Ron, of Albuquerque; and Dina Bell and her husband, Brian, of Texas; his brother-in-law, Gary West and his fiancé, Brenda Hurbina, of Albuquerque; and his aunt, Millie Smrt, of Belen.

Richard is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews and cousins.

Rick’s family received guests on Friday, March 1, from 2:30 to 3 p.m. with services at 3 p.m. at First Assembly of God in Belen with Rev. Greg Burchfied officiating. Interment followed at Terrace Grove Cemetery in Belen. Pallbearers were Buddy Dillow, Michael Jaramillo, Woody Hunter, Herman Tabet, Daniel Sanchez, Johnny Jojola, and Leroy Marquez.

The family requests that donations be made in Rick’s name to the Richie Smrt Scholarship Fund in care of the Rio Communities Association, PO Box 771, Belen, NM, 87002. Romero Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Helen Eileen Waldie


Helen “Honey” Eileen Waldie, 93 years and 364 days young, a resident of Belen and formerly of Albuquerque, passed away in the presence of her beloved Lord, family and friends on Wednesday, Feb. 27.

She spent her early childhood in Russell, Kan. One of her fondest memories was playing the piano for silent movies.

Honey enjoyed her life, as her purpose in life was for her family and God. She was a short and classy woman.

Honey’s legacy to us is the recognition of joyful experiences in our lives and the guidance to handle the hard times. Her love of family, God and life will always be an inspiration to us all.

She was a member of the First Baptist Church of Los Chavez. Before moving to Belen, she was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Albuquerque.

She was preceded in death by her first husband, John Morrow, in 1947; her second husband, Arch C. Waldie, in 1992; her parents, Adam and Anna Mehler; and three brothers, Verlon, Gail, and Kenneth Mehler.

She is survived by her children, John A. Morrow and his wife, Joan, of Tampa, Fla.; Marilyn Sue Farrell and her husband, Mike, of Belen; Janet Dunham of Lago Vista, Texas; Margie Collins of Twin Falls, Ind; Jim Waldie and his wife, Barbara, of Rimrock, Ariz.; nine grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren; and one sister, Viena Taylor, of Oklahoma City, Okla. She is also survived by her loving nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, March 8, at the First Baptist Church of Los Chavez with Pastor Boyd Morerod officiating. Private Interment will follow at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Albuquerque. The family requests donations be made to the First Baptist Church of Los Chavez, 09 Los Chavez Park, Belen, NM, 87002. Romero Funeral Home in Belen is assisting the family with arrangements.

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