David “Rocky” Bennett

1957-2021

David “Rocky” Bennett, age 64, passed away on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.

Our grandfather was a man who could make anybody smile. His jokes and affability made him the one that could cheer anybody up. Throughout his life, his priority was always family. Given the choice, he always decided to spend time with his loved ones.

In his early adulthood, he traveled all over the country with his wife. He lived all over the west and south, raising his two daughters. He settled permanently in central New Mexico with his family.

Our family’s love for him was such that we all settled quite close. He was a man of many interests. He always took particular pleasure in his vehicles. Also, he was always intent on keeping up with the latest technology. He was an avid collector of literature as well.

He was a licensed Ham radio operator with the call sign KISKOM. His most pleasurable and passionate hobby was music. He most likely had a copy of any song you asked for.

He was a grandfather, father, husband of 43 years, and a friend to all who met him. He was also a Walmart associate for more than 20 years at the Walmart Distribution Center in Los Lunas. He was also a veteran of the United States Army.

We wish to thank Ambercare for the medical support and care they provided.

Grandpa, you will be forever in our hearts.

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 noblin.com.

 

Leason A. Cherry

1980-2021

Leason A. Cherry, age 41, of Jarales, passed away on Nov. 26, 2021.

Leason was born on Sept. 22, 1980, in Albuquerque, to John and Beth Cherry.

Leason is preceded in passing by his grandparents, John and Rae Cherry; and Joel and Mary Hughes.

He is survived by his loving partner, Felicia Cedillos; his parents; his brother, Shannon (Joy) and their children, Tylor, Christian (Alise), Hope and Grace. He is also survived by his sister, Brandi Weebothee and her children, Kaydin and Buddy. Leason also leaves behind many aunts, uncles, cousins and many lifelong friends, who he considered family.

Leason was an amazingly generous and kind person. He lit up every room he walked into and could put a smile on anyone’s face. Many considered him their “best friend,” which is a testament to the impact he had on those around him. Leason had many joys, including poker. He will be dearly missed by those who’s lives he touched.

Services will be held at New Life Fellowship Church, 1928 Fellowship Way, Belen, on Saturday, Dec. 4. A visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m., with a service to be celebrated at 10 a.m.

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 noblin.com.

 

Twila Elise Clifton

2011-2021

Twila Elise Clifton, age 10, passed away peacefully at home with her parents and close family friends on the morning of Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021.

She was born on Oct. 18, 2011, in Albuquerque, to Caitlin Blea and Jesse Clifton. Twila was known and loved by so many, even in other countries. She was a tough fighter and had overcome several health battles during her short life.

With her joyful smile, her bright blue eyes would light up and her giggling laugh and distinct personality would melt everyone’s heart. She was known to be tenacious, lovely and always happy. Though her time with us was brief, Twila taught us many things — love, grit, humility, composure, perseverance, discipline and so much more.

A celebration of life will be held in a private family gathering on Thursday, Dec. 16.

For condolences and support, please share with either of Twila’s parents’ c/o Jesse Clifton, 6028 Namath Ave., NW, Albuquerque, NM, 87120. Jesseclifton@gmail.com.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Twila’s name can be made to one of the following: Colorado Children’s Hospital, childrenscolorado.org; UNICEF, unicefusa.org/form=donate. To plant a local tree in her name, treesthatplease.org.

Please visit our online guestbook for Twila at FrenchFunerals.com. FRENCH – Westside, 9300 Golf Course Rd NW, 505-897-0300.

 

John C. Gurule

1940-2021

John C. Gurule, age 81, a resident of, Mountainair, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021.

He was a proud Navy veteran, and a thankful member of A.A., aka “Rainbo John.”

He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank Gurule and Eugenia Gurule-Lujan; son, Scott Ingram; two brothers and three sisters.

John is survived by his loving wife, Sandra Gurule; sister, Erma Lovato (Albuquerque); brother, Jesse Gurule (Albuquerque); son, John Michael Gurule (Texas); and daughter, Patricia Stuart (Aztec); grandchildren, Kristin Rae, Leroy “Patrick” Lopez, Cheyenne and Cory Jolly, Bailee and Randy Latham, Joelle Gurule, Alexa Vinyard, James “Trini” Ballew and Thomas “Will” Ballew; and four great-grandchildren. He is also survived by numerous loving nieces, nephews and friends.

A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 11, at Kayser Cemetery in Mountainair.

Pallbearers are John-Michael Gurule and Leroy (Patrick) Lopez. Honorary pallbearers will be his grandchildren.

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 noblin.com.

 

Jose Antonio Ricardo Gutierrez

1939-2021

Jose Antonio Ricardo Gutierrez left this world on Nov. 1, 2021, to enter his heavenly home.

Richard was born to Jose Antonio Gutierrez and Sara Gurule Gutierrez on May 19, 1939, in Belen.

He was preceded in death by his father and mother, his aunt, Angie Gurule Chavez; his siblings, Mary Gutierrez, Eloy G. Gutierrez and Elizabeth Chavez; and his beloved grandson, Jacob A. Nixon.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Anna Baca Gutierrez; his daughter, Christine Gutierrez-Nixon; his sons, Greg A. Gutierrez and C. Lucas Gutierrez. He is also survived by his brother, Orlando Gutierrez; and sister, Patricia Ionita. Richard was blessed with many grandchildren, whom he loved dearly, Zachary Gutierrez, Miranda Gutierrez, Bernard Nixon Ill, Sara Nixon, Rebekah Gutierrez, CJ Gutierrez, Cameron Gutierrez, Cillian Gutierrez, Conor Gutierrez and Allysa Gutierrez.

Upon high school graduation, Richard followed his calling to serve his country as a member of the U.S. Army. He made friends wherever he went and enjoyed hunting and fishing with his two best friends, LeRoy Vallejos and Joe Trujillo. He was especially close to his nephew, Michael Vallejos.

Richard was well known in the community and went by a variety of names gifted to him by those who loved him during his 82 years on this earth. Besides his birth name, he immediately became son, brother and nephew. His childhood friends knew him as “Cala.” He became husband and dad while also being a patriot and soldier.

He eventually became brother-in-law and then father-in-law, but without a doubt, his most treasured name was grandpa. Many of his nephews and nieces called him Uncle Rick. His close church friends called him Uncle Ricky because of his warm personality and acceptance of all he met.

Residents in Belen called him “The Chile Man” because of the hot native chile he grew in his garden and sold at the farmers market. Patrons of his small stucco business called him Jose during his career in construction work. Strangers who met him at Walmart or football games called him friend because he never met a stranger that wasn’t a friend he hadn’t yet met.

Most of all, he was child of God and his family and friends take comfort in knowing that he is now in the presence of our Lord and Savior who has welcomed him into heaven with a “well done my good and faithful servant.”

A celebration of life service will be held at a later date.

 

Blae Elmo “Skip” Hansen

1944-2021

Skip Hansen, 77, gained freedom from suffering and joined his beloved son, Adam, on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021.

He was a much-loved husband, father, brother, grandpa and great-grandpa, as well as a friend to so many. To know him was a unique experience as his life was lived on his terms and those whom he chose to keep close were dear to him.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Blae and Mary Hansen; his son, Adam Joe Hansen, his mother-in-law, Helen Gallerani; sister-in-law, Alice Gallerani; brother-in-law, Steven Wilson; grandson, James Kirkland II; and nephew, David Braun. His reception party must have been awesome!

He was so loved and will be missed by all, especially the love of his life, his wife of 47 years, Arlena. He is also survived by his children, Chip (Kristi) Hansen, their four children and 11 grandchildren; Tricia (Larry) Lefever, their six children and 12 grandchildren; Jeni Hansen, her six children and 18 grandchildren; Holly (John) Chavez, of Rio Communities, their five children and 10 grandchildren; and Dan (Cathy) Hansen and their two children. He is survived as well by his sister, Sherry (Ralph) Larson; and nephew, Todd Braun.

Skip loved the mountains; fishing and hunting most of his life. He had a true love of the land and was a farmer through and through. His encyclopedic knowledge of gardening, history, farming, dogs and so many other topics were the source of many hours of conversation with his children as each turned to him for advice needed on nearly any subject.

Books lined his desk, his end table, and shelves. His favorite time of year was when the seed catalogs arrived! His creative side was fulfilled by making muzzle loaders each winter; each a beautiful, handmade work of art. Rendezvous were his fun, and his way of being a part of living history.

He worked hard his whole life and passed that ethic on to his children. He was a man of strong conviction and character and those who received his thanks and compliments knew they had done well.

His pallbearers are Chip Hansen, Dan Hansen, Larry Lefever, John Chavez, Eric Kirkland and John Chavez II. Honorary pallbearers are his lifelong friends, Dan Schofield and Glen Moss.

A graveside service was held on Tuesday, Nov. 23, in Woodland Utah.

 

Sharon Fay Hern

1951-2021

Sharon Fay Hern, age 70, passed away just after sunset, Nov. 14, at her home of more than 50 years in Bosque Farms, with family at her side.

In 2016, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and faced her foe with grace, strength and dignity.

Sharon was born in Belen to Lawrence Clifton Favor and Patricia Fay Tackitt on July 24, 1951. She grew up in Albuquerque and attended Valley High School. She married James Edward Hern on Dec. 6, 1968, who preceded her in death in 2007.

Jim and Sharon settled in Bosque Farms, where they raised three daughters. While Jim worked at General Electric in Albuquerque, Sharon made a wonderful home. She later attended TVI in Albuquerque, launching a career in banking, serving Valencia County for many years.

She was well known for her mastery and craftsmanship as a dressmaker and seamstress. Sharon skillfully created wedding, prom and homecoming gowns for all three of her girls, as well as many of their girlfriends. She lovingly constructed confirmation dresses, quilts, crochet blankets, countless crafts, gifts, and was always available for alterations and mending. Sharon became an active member of the American Sewing Guild, (ASG) Albuquerque Chapter. Eventually, she established a professional seamstress studio from her home.

Those who knew Sharon appreciate her adventurous spirit. She was never afraid to roll up her sleeves or get dirty. She was a skilled marksman, hunter, fisherman and she could water ski like a professional. She enjoyed summers at Elephant Butte, hunting in the Capitan Mountains, spending time at the ranch watching the cows, and many road-trips throughout her beloved New Mexico.

An avid reader, she always took along a good book. Sharon also became quite a pool shark, having competed with Jim in many county league tournaments. Sharon inherited a love for cooking, always creating a joyful kitchen for holidays and visits. Anyone who has ever had one of her pies can tell you that they are the best. Her canned fruits, vegetables, and jams brought comfort to meals throughout the year and were always welcome gifts.

Sharon always delighted in the simple things, a good meal, good talk, long bubble baths, cup of coffee with the paper, watching the hummingbirds. Sharon was a very loving wife, partner, dedicated mother and grandmother. She enjoyed spending time with her daughters and grandsons and could always be seen cheering for them at school sports events.

Sharon was a good friend. She made people feel important. She always made time to help. She generously listened to those in need. She is often praised for her good advice, patience, and warmth. Many admired Sharon’s own brand of stubbornness, sense of humor and tenacity.

When life knocked her down, she dusted herself off and kept right on moving. She never minced words. She was the perfect combination of caring, tough, and sweet. Sharon was loved by many and will be missed. Her spirit will continue to provide love and encouragement to every life she touched.

Sharon is survived by daughters, Brandy Fay Hern, Sherry Ann Hern and Aimee Marie Hern-Torres; and her grandsons, Landon James Moya and Dalton Edward Moya; and her significant other, Frank Ortiz.

Funeral services will be held at 11:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 3, at San Clemente Church, 244 Luna Ave., Los Lunas.

 

George McKee

1932-2021

George McKee was born in the mountains surrounding Johnson City, Tenn., to Edna Deacon and Earl McKee. He was the youngest of four children. George spent most of his childhood working in the tobacco fields surrounding his home.

When he was 16, he decided to join the U.S. Air Force, so he lied about his age. After completing his basic training, he was sent to the Korean War. While he was in war, he suffered a severe injury to his leg after the Jeep he was driving struck a landmine. He was later stationed at Kirtland AFB, where he met the love of his life, Ramona Chaves.

George and Ramona were married shortly after and had four children, David, Charlette, John and Michael. George moved his family to Belen, where he work at the BNSF railyard as a carman. Due to an injury, George had to leave and became a mailman and retired from the post office.

Ramona recalls George saying that he loved everyone on his mail route. George was also elected as a Belen city councilor in the early ’80s. George was also a member of the Belen VFW Post 2387 and served as its commander for a brief time.

George is preceded in death by his brother, JT McKee; sister, Jesse Miller; son-in-law, Jeff Thomas; and grandson, Ryan Thomas.

George is survived by his wife of 68 years, Ramona McKee; son, David McKee; daughter, Charlette Thomas; son, John McKee (Victoria McKee); son, Michael McKee (Stacy McKee); grandson, Justin Thomas (Courtney Thomas); grandsons, Jarred Thomas and Evan McKee; granddaughter, Lauren McKee; wife of grandson Ryan, Joyce Thomas; great-granddaughter, Alissa Thomas; great-grandson, Maximus Thomas; great-grandson, Ryan Thomas; and great-grandson, Beau Thomas.

George was a dedicated Christian and was a member of the Abundant Life Christian Center in Rio Communities. After a long battle with dementia and other health problems, the family has peace knowing that George is no longer suffering and is at peace with our Lord in Heaven. Services will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests those wanting to give, donate to the Belen VFW Post 2387.

An online guest register is available at noblin.com.

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.