Corine Apodaca

Died 2021

Corine Apodaca

Corine Apodaca, age 90, passed away peacefully on Aug. 1, 2021, after a long illness.

Corine loved cooking, the casino, and telling crazy stories about her childhood. No one ever left her house with an empty stomach. Corine was born and raised in Los Chavez, but resided in Peralta for most of her life.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Dan Apodaca; daughter, Annette Apodaca; father, Tiboricio Chavez; mother, Rosina “Luz” Chavez; and brothers and sisters, Preciliano Chavez, Simon Chavez, Frank Chavez, Arturo Chavez, Tibo Chavez, Gregorita Chavez, Mary Helen Cordova and Nilda Coe.

She is survived by her daughters, Anna Tapia (Felix Casaus), Rosina Apodaca, Pauline Chavez (Felix Salas), Theresa Hidalgo (Richard) and Yolanda Miles (Jose Zambrano); 11 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

Corine’s daughters would like to extend a very special thanks to Glenn and Anna Garcia, as well as the staff at Albuquerque Uptown Assisted Living. They took such good care of Corine since day one of her stay.

Corine will be cremated and privately laid to rest with Dan at the Santa Fe National Cemetery at a later date.


Raymond Charles Auge


Raymond Charles Auge

Raymond Charles Auge, 87, passed from this life on to new adventures on Aug. 6, 2021.

Born in Belen to Harry Auge Sr. and Pearl Osborn Auge in 1934, joining two brothers, Harry Auge Jr. and Lee Auge. He graduated from Belen High School in 1952, and joined the New Mexico National Guard the same year, being honorably discharged from the Guard in May 1961, a total of nine years.

Ray attended The University of New Mexico for two years before joining his family at Auge Sales and Service in Belen. He became a body repairman and worked for several body shops in the area, learning everything he could about repairing vehicles.

He met his future wife, Christalee “Chris” Lamb, from Los Lunas, on a blind date. They square-danced at the church youth group and didn’t quit for more than 55 years. Ray also became a caller and re-started the Belen Hub Wheelers until 1972, then danced with the Bosque Cuadrillas until his Parkinson’s disease affected his dancing.

Chris and Ray were married on July 27, 1956, and celebrated their 65th anniversary last week on July 27. Their children are Cheryl and Bret Schafersman, Sandra “Sam” and Ron Allen, Glen and Lynn Auge and Donald “Duck” and Rebecca “Becky” Auge. His grandchildren are Sheldon and Sarah Garcia Auge, Haley Auge and Chris DuBerry, Jason and Jordan Allen, Austin and Ashley Allen (Allison and Bentley), Shelby and Jeremiah Polito, 2nd Lt. Shea Auge USMC, Ploy Tansakul and Arnout Swannet (Ella).

On June 12, 1966, Ray and Chris purchased New Mexico Salvage Pool and successfully ran it until they sold it to a national concern in May 2000. They started out just the two of them, and had 28 employees plus themselves when they sold. All of their children were involved in the business. Both sons are auctioneers.

Not used to sitting around, Ray, being an airplane pilot, built 41 airplane hangars at the Belen airport and 13 hangars at the Truth or Consequences airport with the help of his children and friends, all the while running a little ranch close to Mountainair, taking care of cattle and horses. The ranch has become a precious retreat for the whole family, especially at Thanksgiving each year when any friend who shows up is asked to stay and be part of the family.

Ray did not like to be in the spotlight, preferring to help out and nurture behind the scenes. He trained his family and his employees with the ethics of honesty, hard work, truthfulness and helping others less fortunate. He was his own person and will be truly missed, especially his bright blue eyes and his crooked, loving smile.

He was predeceased by his parents, his parents-in-law, Merl and Margaret Lamb; his brothers, Harry (Helen) Auge and Lee (Ruth) Auge; two brothers-in-law, Chuck Jones and Terry Thompson;  sister-in-law, Stephanie Lamb; nephew, Wesley Jones.

He is survived by his wife, Chris; all his children and their spouses, his grandchildren and their spouses, three great-grandchildren, numerous nephews, nieces, grand-nephews and nieces.

A memorial service to honor Ray’s life will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 14, at the Church at the Butte, 516 NM-195, Elephant Butte, NM 87935, with Pastor Joe Byers officiating. Honorary pallbearers will be his grandchildren and their spouses.

Arrangements are by Kirikos Family Funeral Home, Inc., & Sierra Crematory, LLC., 303 N. Cedar St., T. or C., NM 87901, 575-894-2574. For online memorial messages please visit


Maria Guadalupe “Lupe” Frenzel

Feb. 9, 1939-Nov. 13, 2020

Maria Guadalupe “Lupe” Frenzel passed away as she lived, at home in Los Lunas, peacefully, gracefully and surrounded by her husband and daughters.

Please join us in celebrating her life and memory. A memorial potluck reception will be held from 4-7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 20, at Europa Cafe, 2105 N.M. 314 NW, Los Lunas, N.M., 87031.


Alma Mercek


Alma Mercek

Alma Mercek went to be with her Lord and Savior on Aug. 6, 2021.

She was born in El Paso, texas on Nov. 2, 1929. She was a wife to Robert J. Mercek for 60 years when he passed away in 2009.

She is survived by her children, Robert, Margarette (Mike), Kathryn (Larry) and Richard (Bonnie). She has nine grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and 15 great-great grandchildren.

Her family was most important to her. She loved to travel and had many hobbies throughout her lifetime. She was outgoing, adventurous and could be recounted by many as a wonderful friend. She will be missed dearly, and we were so proud to call her our MOM!

Services will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 12, at Daniels Family Funeral and Cremation, 7601 Wyoming Blvd., in Albuquerque.

In her memory, a reception will be held at Daniels Family Funeral and Cremation on Wyoming in Albuquerque.

To view information or leave a condolence, please visit


Orlando Sanchez


Orlando Sanchez

Orlando Sanchez, age 95, devout husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, began his eternal life on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021.

He was born to Diego and Josephine Sanchez in Albuquerque on Jan. 10, 1926. Orlando was one of 10 children.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Diego and Josephine Padilla Sanchez; five brothers, three sisters, grandson, Hector Sanchez Jr.; and great-granddaughter, Celeste Holjencin.

He is survived by his loving wife of 73 years, Delicia; their five children, eight grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and brother, Lorenzo Sanchez. Children, Chris (Vicki) and grandchildren, Steven (Jessica), Melissa (John Holjencin), Christopher (Holly), and six great-grandchildren, Hector (Theresa) and granddaughters, Rochelle (Randy Gomez), Tonia, and three great-grandchildren; Manuel (Jeanine) and granddaughter, Tiffany (Rick Estrada); Danny (Doris); and Valerie (Anna) (Richard Chavez), and granddaughters, Desiree (Eric Smith), Victoria (Gabe Olguin); five great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Orlando was a hard-working man until the end. He retired after 32 years from Sandia National Laboratories. He loved farming his land and helped many others as they learned to do the same. Orlando enjoyed sitting under his tree and telling stories of hunting and his youth.

He lived a long and beautiful life and will be missed by many. Orlando will be remembered by those who were able to hear his stories and enjoy his company, making memories to last a lifetime.

Services were held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Peralta on Tuesday, Aug. 10. Interment followed at OLOG Valencia Cemetery.

Pallbearers were grandsons, Christopher Sanchez and Gabriel Olguin; and great-grandsons, Timothy Sanchez, Landon Holjencin and Randall and Jacob Gomez.

Please sign Orlando’s online tribute at Romero Funeral Home, 609 N. Main St., Belen.


Sunny Ramel Brannan Sellars


Sunny Ramel Brannan Sellars

Our mother, Sunny Ramel Brannan Sellars loved God and her family above all else. She had an appreciation for beauty, be it in nature, art, pottery,

music or writing.


She appreciated the finer things in life and was an amazing artist, painter and potter, having earned a degree in art from UNM. She enjoyed opera, ballet and poetry and was an avid reader.

She was beautiful, with bright blue eyes, a radiant smile and flaming red hair even until the day she passed. She always made everyone feel welcome. She was loving, kind and faithful and had a tendency to spoil her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She had a reserved, quiet nature but a wicked sense of humor. One rarely saw her temper but if pushed, stand back!

Sunny was born in Evant, Texas, and moved to Belen when she was just 2 years old. Her father, V.O. Brannan, a railroader, came to study geology at NM Tech and later discovered the marble mine west of Belen.

Sunny Ramel Brannan Sellars

As a young woman, she worked as a waitress at Rud’s Café and remembered serving sandwiches to Oppenheimer and his crew as they passed through Belen on a special train en route from Trinity to Los Alamos.

Sunny devoted her life to God and taught Sunday school, Vacation Bible School and after-school Bible class for over 50 years, making posters and puppets for the classroom.  She helped her husband, Jack, through his coursework at the East Tennessee School of preaching.

She was a fantastic cook and a great seamstress, having made Easter, prom and wedding dresses for her daughters and everything in between. She had a great appreciation for nature, the environment and all of God’s creatures.

Sunny passed away gracefully to be with our Lord at 5:30 p.m., July 21, 2021, surrounded by family and friends.  She would have been 90 years old in October.

She is survived by her children, Victoria Sellars Hale (Victor), of Veguita, Jackson Sellars (Patti), of Tomé, and Rebecca Sellars, of Las Cruces; her grandchildren, Will Hale (Becki), Ira Sellars (Jennifer), Cody Hale (Kim), Autumn Sellars Collins (Shaphen), Sunny Sharon Sellars Pacheco (Phil); great-grandchildren, Alathea Sellars, Cheyenne Sellars, Cadence Sellars, Madilynn Hale, Rhiley Hale, Aconee Belle Collins, Rayleigh Sellars, Weldon Collins and Enis Collins; numerous nephews, nieces and countless cousins.

Sunny is proceeded in death by the love of her life and husband of 70 years, William Jack Sellars; her sister, Brenda Jo Brannan, of Albuquerque; her brother, Bill Brannan (Norma), of Hurley; her parents, Victor O. and Artie Brannan; her sister-in-law, Evelyn Sellars Brannan; her uncle/brother-in-law, Joe Brannan; in-laws, Muriel Rodgers Sellars and Jack Sellars Sr.; uncles, Glen Brannan (Nena), Johnny Brannan (Beatrice) and Richard Brannan (Gloria); and aunt, Pauline Brannan.

A memorial service for Sunny is planned for 2 p.m., Sept. 4, at the Golf Road Church of Christ in Belen. Interment will be private.

We all loved her dearly and will miss her more than we have words to say. Come and rejoice with us a life well-lived! “Her children rise up, and call her blessed;” Proverbs 31:28.

Arrangements are being handled by the caring professionals at the Noblin Funeral Service Belen Chapel, 418 W. Reinken Ave., 505-864-4448, where an online guest register is available at


Clara (Garley) Ely and Lorena (Garley) Tafoya

Clara (Garley) Ely and Lorena (Garley) Tafoya

A memorial will be held on behalf of Clara (Garley) Ely and Lorena (Garley) Tafoya on Friday, Aug. 20.

There will be a Rosary at 9:30 a.m., and a Funeral Mass at 10 a.m. at San Clemente Parish in Los Lunas. Interment will be at San Clemente Cemetery following Mass.

May all family and friends know how much you are loved by Clara and Lorena.




Lorina Garley Tafoya


Lorina Garley Tafoya

Lorina Garley Tafoya, age 89, a resident Los Lunas, and later moved to Tomé, passed away peacefully on Oct. 11, 2020.

She was born in Peralta, and was a member of San Clemente Parish in Los Lunas. Lorina retired from the Los Lunas Hospital and Training School.

She is preceded in death by her husband, John P. Tafoya; daughter, Eileen Reed; son, Leroy Tafoya; parents, Estanislado and Jenny Carabajal Garley; brother, Chrissy Garley; and sister, Clarita Garley Ely.

Lorina is survived by her sons, Raymond, Paul, John, Michael (Debbie) and Stanley (Angela); sister-in-law, Celina Garley; and special granddaughter and caregiver, Jennifer Tafoya Gonzales (Jimmy). She was also blessed with many loving grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews and friends.

The family would like to thank the Ambercare Hospice team and the many loving caregivers throughout the years who cared for Lorina.

Services will take place on Friday, Aug. 20, at San Clemente Catholic Church in Los Lunas, beginning with a Rosary to be recited at 9:30 a.m., and a Funeral Mass to follow at 10 a.m.

Please sign Lorena’s online tribute at Romero Funeral Home, 609 N. Main St., Belen.


Rev. Robert E. Whitis


Rev. Robert E. Whitis

Friends and family of Robert Eugene Whitis will finally have the chance to celebrate Bob’s life at a memorial service. The service is scheduled for 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 14, at Belen First United Methodist Church, 75 Manzano Expressway, Rio Communities. The family asks that attendees, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, please wear a mask.

Robert Eugene Whitis, of Rio Communities, passed away on Aug. 29, 2020.

Robert was born in Dayton, Ohio, to Carl Eugene and Grace Hope Whitis on Feb. 21, 1935. Robert met Nelda Dunn at McMurry College and they married in August 1959.

Rev. Whitis served as a United Methodist minister for more than 42 years, including appointments to Belen First United Methodist Church from 1971-1978 and Christ United Methodist Church in Albuquerque from 1978-1983. He retired in 1999, and he and Nelda moved back to Rio Communities.

He is preceded in death by his parents.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Nelda; sons, Michael (Jane) Whitis, of Lewisville, Texas, and Douglas (Katherine) Whitis; three grandchildren, Emily, Joshua and Joseph; and one step-granddaughter, Destiny, all in Texas; daughter, Anne Whitis of Chinle, Ariz.; and sister, Marj (Joe) Conner, of Rio Communities.

In retirement, Robert volunteered for several years with Crossings Prison Ministries at Central New Mexico Correctional Facility. Pastor Bob loved singing in the church choir and interacting with kids.

He and Nelda were supported by a wonderful body of friends and family who exemplified what it meant to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world. We rejoice that he is now home and whole on the other side with our Lord.

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