Max Aragon Jr.


Max Aragon Jr.

Max Aragon Jr., age 93, a resident of Belen, passed away on Jan. 27, 2022, at home.

He was born on April 2, 1928. Max was a devoted Christian and was a eucharistic minister to the sick and home bound, whose faith in God was often exhibited through his compassionate spirit.

He attended Saint Mary’s school for eight years. Max worked at Safeway for 37 years, and at Padrinos in 1983 and 1998.

He is preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Mary Aragon.

Max is survived by his loving children, Joseph, Maxine Montoya and Randy; grandchildren, Jennifer Montoya, Alexis Kieana, Jerick, Frankie, Deana Montoya, Lauren, Estevan, James Montoya, Sailor Belle, Lucianna, Rossi, Nicole, Joe Aragon Jr., Antonio, Orion, Jesse Paul Aragon, Jessica, Ariel, Nicholas, Luke, Jesse, Alyssa Brooke and Raya.

A viewing was held Tuesday, Feb. 1, at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church followed by a Rosary and a Funeral Mass. Interment followed at Our Lady of Belen Memorial Gardens.

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


Yvette Stella C De Baca


Yvette Stella C De Baca

Yvette Stella C De Baca passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 20, 2022, at her home in Los Chavez.

Yvette was born in Albuquerque on June 27, 1961, to Pete and Nancy C De Baca, and graduated from Highland High School in 1979. After graduation, she joined the U.S. Army, where she proudly served as a military police officer while living in Germany, Kentucky, Colorado and Missouri before returning to Albuquerque after an honorable discharge.

She was a loving mother, who raised her two children, Shawn Thill and wife, Linda, and Sharon Hopkins and husband, Devin; and grandchildren, Tayllir, Harvey and Infinity.

She is survived by her parents, her sister, Julie Maner and husband, Randy; nephew, Ryan; brother, Joseph C De Baca and his wife, Cindy; niece, Alyx; and numerous extended family and friends.

Yvette’s was a free spirit with a joyful approach to life and a deep love of her many pets that she cared for throughout her life. Her family is planning a private service.


John Cherry


John Cherry

John Cherry, 62, born April 15, 1959, passed away Jan. 26, 2022.

John was preceded in death by his parents John and Rae Cherry; and his son, Leason Cherry.

He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Beth; his son, Shannon and his wife, Joy, and their children; his daughter, Brandi and her children; and his daughter-in-law, Felicia.

John was a beloved member of the community. He was involved with the volunteer fire department for more than 40 years. His hobbies included taekwondo and racing.

Services and a reception will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 5, at the La Merced Moose Lodge, 306 Rio Communities Blvd., in Rio Communities.

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


Charlotte “Sunnie” Jane Clark


Charlotte “Sunnie” Jane Clark

Charlotte “Sunnie” Jane Clark, born Saturday, Sept. 11, 1926, passed away Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Los Lunas.

Born in Dawson, N.M., the daughter of Italian immigrants, Frank and Maria Genta, she later moved to Raton, N.M. After high school graduation, she followed her sister to San Diego, Calif., where she worked for the Naval Supply Depot and enjoyed going the local USO office.

She met her husband, Arthur “Mike” Clark, there and they were married in Raton on Monday, May 6, 1946. They lived in Minneapolis, Minn., while Mike attended school. They eventually moved to Pasco, Wash., and were very active in the Knights of Columbus and their church.

They lived in Roswell, and then moved to Las Cruces. Charlotte was employed by the Department of Agriculture until 1981, when Mike decided to take a position overseas. They spent eight years living in Germany and traveling throughout Europe, Egypt and Russia.

Upon returning to the United States, both retired and continued their love of traveling throughout the United States. They moved to Los Lunas to be closer to family.

Sunnie was proud of her Italian heritage and enjoyed anyone and anything Italian. Her family photo is displayed on Ellis Island, marking her parents’ entry to the United States in 1913. Her husband gave her the nickname “Sunnie” because she was always cheerful, smiling, and enjoyed socializing with family and friends. Sunnie loved visiting family, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Arthur Clark; children, Patrick and Candy; parents, Frank and Maria Genta; sisters, Jennie DeFellippie, Frances Corazzi and Mary Watson; brothers, Anthony Genta and Dominic Genta; and son-in-law, William Hasse Jr.

She is survived by her children, Cynthia (Mike) Griffin, Michael (GayLynn) Clark, Deborah Hasse and Timothy (Sharon) Clark; brother-in-law, Warren (Sandy) Clark; sister-in-law, Susan McKereghan; nine grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial Mass was held Tuesday, Feb. 1, at San Clemente Church in Los Lunas. Burial took place Wednesday, Feb. 2, at Santa Fe National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to St. Jude’s Hospital in her honor.

Please visit our online guestbook for Charlotte at FRENCH – University, 1111 University Blvd. NE, 505-843-6333.


Barbara Gail Duncan


Barbara Gail Duncan

Barbara Gail Duncan, a longtime Valencia County resident who never failed to brighten up a day with her sparkling eyes, contagious smile and gentle presence, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.

Despite the challenges of life, she was always the essence of grace, dignity and joy all wrapped together.

Gail was born in 1944 to Ira and Juanita Myers. She spent her early years in Lindrith, N.M., alongside her brothers, Charlie and Clinton Myers, before moving to Belen in 1951. Visits with her children back to her first home in Lindrith were an opportunity to share fond memories of a childhood in a rugged environment rich with natural beauty. She carried a love for the outdoors and especially the mountains of New Mexico throughout her life.

Gail graduated from Belen High School in 1962. Shortly after graduating and newly married to high school sweetheart, Ron Gentry, Gail moved to Ventura, Calif. There she spent several years living near the ocean and embracing the adventure of motherhood. Gail returned to Valencia County in 1970 and started to create a life for her young family in Belen.

Without the permission of her children, she began working in the front office of Belen High School just as her daughter, Tammy, approached high school age and continued until after son, Cliff, completed high school in 1984. Gail touched the lives of many BHS students during those years.

Always seeking to grow and learn, she then pursued a new career at the UNM Cancer Center, where after beginning as a receptionist she built a professional career as a medical registrar. Gail and her second husband, Larry Duncan, lived in Albuquerque for 28 years before moving to Los Lunas in 2016.

Many summers were spent hosting her grandchildren in Albuquerque. If asked how the summer would be spent, she would often simply say, “Oh, we’ll be making memories.” Gail had a gift for creating and preserving the very best of memories. We are grateful that our vibrant, beloved Mom and Grandma spent many weeks filled with family, laughter and love in Colorado and Texas throughout the past year.

Gail is survived by Tammy Bergeson and her husband, Eric, Cliff Gentry and his wife, Ives; grandchildren, Kelsey, Haley and Lucas; brother, Charlie Myers his wife, Phyllis, and their daughter, Dana Sanders. She was also a loving wife, aunt and cousin.

Gail was a treasured friend to so many, and a woman of unwavering faith. She will be greatly missed.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, March 15, at Calvary Chapel Rio Grande Valley with a reception to follow. A private burial will be held.

Please visit our online guestbook for Gail at FRENCH – University, 1111 University Blvd., NE.


Gregory Duane Ezell


Gregory Duane Ezell

A gentle, kind man, Gregory Duane Ezell, age 68, a resident of Socorro, left this world on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022.

He was born on Dec. 12, 1953, to William B. Ezell Sr. and Lela Mary Ramsey Ezell in Albuquerque. Greg spent his childhood days in Los Chavez, and graduated from Los Lunas High School in 1971. He attended one year of college at Eastern University, then transferred to NM Tech, where he earned his master’s degree on May 7, 1988.

During the summer months, while still going to college, Greg worked at various cafés in Belen as a cook. He enjoyed creating different dishes. Playing summer league baseball was a favorite pastime in his younger days. After teaching at different small towns around New Mexico, including Questa, Mountainair and Reserve, Greg took a position in Socorro. There he fell in love with the town and the people and remained there for the next 30 years.

Greg loved teaching and coaching and that was his life. Socorro was his home and he made many friends whom he felt were family and all the students were his kids.

Greg was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Richard and William (Bart) Ezell; and two sisters, Roberta Sue and Gladys White.

Greg is survived by his brother, Michael (Misty) of Kinston, Okla.; sisters, Mattie Garrett, of East Carbon, Utah, Mary Oldfield, of Los Lunas, and Glenda Ezell, of Belen; many loving nieces, nephews and cousins, and many friends.

His jolly, kind soul is now with his Lord. Greg will be greatly missed.

A visitation will be held at 10 a.m., Monday, Feb. 7, at Romero Funeral Home, with a funeral service to be celebrated at 11 a.m., and interment to follow at Terrace Grove Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be, Clint Ezell, Grady Ezell, Greg Stralow, Dylan Boelter, David Hamonn, Gilbert Peralta, Joseph Garcia and Chris Backstrom. Honorary pallbearers will be, Robert Mata, Tony Montoya, Kevin Carson and Robert Alonzo.

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


Max Lee Kiehne


Max Lee Kiehne

Max Lee Kiehne, of Los Lunas, passed away on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, while surrounded by his loved ones after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Max was born in Fort Collins, Colo., on Oct. 26, 1945, to Emil O. and Beverly Kiehne. Soon thereafter, the family moved to Reserve, N.M., his father’s hometown. Max grew up with his brothers, Arkie, Jim and Gary, working in several family businesses and learning the value of hard work on their cattle ranches.

In 1963, Max graduated as valedictorian from Reserve High School, where he excelled in every endeavor, from sports to 4-H to the FFA. He held various offices in the Future Farmers of America and served as state secretary and then was elected state president the year after his high school graduation.

That year, he toured the entire state of New Mexico and visited every FFA chapter. At the national convention later that year, Max received the highest national award from the FFA, the American Farmer degree.

Max entered Harvard College in Cambridge, Mass., in the fall of 1964. There he made many lifelong friends and was active in the Harvard Student Agencies. HSA is a non-profit which allows students to manage businesses while pursuing their degrees at Harvard. With his entrepreneurial spirit and ideas, Max quickly became the manager of several campus businesses.

After graduating Cum Laude in 1968, Max married the former Cherie Reynolds of Silver City in 1969, and they moved to Albuquerque to begin their life together. Max enlisted in the New Mexico Air National Guard and was promoted to second lieutenant in the Intelligence Division, where he served for six years while also beginning his career in real estate in Albuquerque with the D.W. Falls Corp. in 1974. Max tried his hand at politics and ran (unsuccessfully) for the city council in Albuquerque.

Life with Max was very exciting and unpredictable as he was always full of new business ideas. He began his career on the west side of Albuquerque and was instrumental in developing many residential and commercial projects in Albuquerque, such as Volcano Cliffs, The Knolls of Paradise Hills, the Covey, Laurelwood and Bedrock. Max sold the Bond Ranch west of the volcanoes to the city of Albuquerque, which became the West Mesa Airport. He also sold 711 acres to Bellamah Corp., which later became known as Taylor Ranch. At one time, Max managed 22 limited partnerships and businesses.

For many years, Max was the president of the Harvard Club of New Mexico.  He enjoyed traveling the state to encourage students to apply for admission and to interview those who did.

Even with his east coast education, Max always remained a cowboy at heart and could flank and brand calves with the best of them! He loved growing up on a ranch in Reserve and it wasn’t long before he began selling ranches as well. Max loved showing ranches and soon gained a reputation as one of the best and most knowledgeable ranch brokers in the state. It took four years, but when Max finally sold the Red Lake Ranch to the Acoma Indian Tribe, he counted it as one of his proudest moments.

In 1976, Max and Cherie moved with their family to Bosque Farms so their kids could have a childhood similar to his. He made sure they learned to raise animals and have chores just like he did. Over the years, the Kiehne home was the neighborhood place to be as they had sheep, calves, horses and even cows that the kids milked twice a day!

Max then turned his attention to investing in land in Valencia County and developing many properties there as well. Two of the largest and most successful were Sun Ranch Village at I-25 and Main Street and Rancho Valencia, a 378-lot community. Max was very proud to have brought the first movie theater to Los Lunas and was recognized as Citizen of the Year by the Greater Belen Chamber of Commerce.

For three years, Max hosted a popular weekly real estate segment on KKOB Radio in Albuquerque. His firsthand knowledge of the real estate and ranching businesses, coupled with his love of New Mexico, made him an invaluable resource for anyone purchasing property in New Mexico. Max established great working relationships with lenders, appraisers, surveyors, title companies, the United States Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the New Mexico State Land Office and many other professional organizations throughout the state.

Max was a generous, fun-loving and a devoted husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. He will be missed by his wife of 52 years, Cherie Kiehne; son, Emil J. Kiehne and his wife, Laurie, and grandsons, Max Edward and Daniel, of Los Lunas; son, Shawn Kiehne and wife his wife, Ada, and grandchildren, Brett, Tyler and Kamila, all of Los Lunas; and daughter, Kristin Armstrong, of Baltimore, Maryland.

Max is also survived by his three brothers and their wives, Arkie and Kathleen Kiehne, of Portales, Jim and Bonnie Kiehne, of El Paso, Texas, and Gary and Julie Kiehne, of Springerville, Ariz., as well as his brothers-in-law, John H. Reynolds, M.D., of Las Cruces, and Jim Reynolds and wife, Tricia Reynolds, of Silver City, as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.

The memorial service for Max will be held at Calvary Chapel Rio Grande Valley, 19381 N.M. 314, Belen.

Arrangements are being handled by Noblin Funeral Service in Los Lunas.  Details can be found at A luncheon reception will immediately follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Max’s name to Canon Christian Academy and The Citadel, in care of Calvary Chapel Rio Grande Valley.

Funeral arrangements were trusted to Noblin Funeral Service, Los Lunas, 2211-D Main St., SE Los Lunas, NM 87031, 505-866-9992.


Salvador Martinez


Salvador Martinez

Salvador Martinez, age 86, a resident of Los Chavez, passed away on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022.

All services will be held at Belen Seventh-day Adventist Church on Friday, Feb. 4. A public viewing will begin at 10 a.m., with a funeral service to be celebrated at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Belen Recreation Center.

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 or



Ubaldo Gilberto Martinez


Ubaldo Gilberto Martinez

In loving memory of Ubaldo Gilberto Martinez Jr., 40, a resident of El Cerro Mission, who went to be with the Lord on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022.

He was a loving father, grandfather, son, brother, cousin and friend to us all.

He is survived by his mother, Pauline Baca; his girlfriend, Caitlyn Hopper; his four sons, Sammy, Sergio, Daniel and Jameson Lee; his grandson, Jasper; his sister, Jennifer Apodaca, who is married to Lorenzo Apodaca; nieces, Elizabeth and Hailey; nephew, Jason; and his many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

His is preceded in death by his loving father, Ubaldo Gilberto Martinez Sr.; his sister, Michelle Lynn; his brother, Jason Montano-Martinez; paternal grandparents, Lalo and Carla Moya; maternal grandparents, Elias Gallegos and Manuelita Baca; and godparents, Carlos and Sally Benta.

Our family chain is broken and nothing seems the same; but as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.

A viewing will be held at 9:30 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 3, at El Cerro Mission Baptist Church, 243 El Cerro Mission Road, with a funeral service beginning at 10 a.m., followed by interment at Los Lentes Cemetery in Los Lunas.

Pallbearers are Jason Montano, Jerry Martinez Jr., Cisco Martinez, Jeff Baca, Fabian Martinez, Jason Alcala and Johnathan Ornelas. Honorary pallbearers are Sammy Christie, Sergio Ramirez, Lorenzo Apodaca and Maryann Whatley.


Meliton G. “Mele” Ortega


Meliton G. “Mele” Ortega

Meliton G. “Mele” Ortega, age 79, passed away on Jan. 28, 2022, at his home in Los Lunas, surrounded by his family.

Born Dec. 1, 1942, in San Mateo, N.M., to Tomas and Margarita Ortega. He married Patricia Martinez in 1963 and raised his three boys in Milan, N.M., where he worked for Continental Divide Electrical Co-op for 40 years.

He is preceded in death by his parents, four sisters and two brothers.

Mele leaves to cherish his loving memory, his wife of 59 years, Patricia Ortega; children, Vincent and wife, Elizabeth, Leonard, Milton and wife, Carolyn; grandchildren, Janel, Marcus and wife, Justine, Joshua, Matthew and wife, Kc, Lori, Larry, Phillip, Melanie and husband, Alex, Michael and fiancé, Jade and Andrew; 10 great-grandchildren, his siblings, Pauline and husband, Gilbert Gonzales, Jennie Marquez, Beatrice and husband, Toby Martinez and many nieces and nephews.

Mele enjoyed fishing, hunting, working in his garden and woodworking. He is fondly remembered by the people from San Mateo and his co-workers from Continental Divide.

He loved spending time with his sons, grandkids and great-grandkids. He was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandpa and great-grandpa, always putting his family first. To know Mele was to love him, and he never met anyone he didn’t know.

A celebration of life will be announced later. A private cremation burial will be held at San Mateo Cemetery.

Funeral arrangements were trusted to Noblin Funeral Service, Los Lunas, 2211-D Main St., SE Los Lunas, NM, 87031, 505-866-9992.


Melinda Shaw


Melinda Shaw

Melinda Shaw, age 55, a resident of Belen, passed away on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.

She was born in Gallup on May 4, 1966. Her family moved several places but eventually, she grew up in Belen. Melinda graduated from Belen High School and went on to get her associates degree. She was a certified nursing assistant for several years.

Melinda was a kind soul and she never met a stranger. Melinda had three daughters and four grandchildren. She made her home in Belen, where she passed unexpectedly.

Melinda was preceded in death by her mother, Dorothy Shaw; father, Roy T. Shaw; sister, Laurie Lee; aunt, Geneva Mitchel; and nephew, Jimmy Speight.

She is survived by her children, Amanda Torres, Vanessa Encinias and Adrianna Lopez; her grandchildren, Cruz and Rebel Rose Lopez and Roe and Rye Encinias; brother, James Speight Jr.; sisters, Judy Watts and Lisa Speight; aunt, Erna; and uncles, Dave and Willie Torres. Melinda is also survived by many loving cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

Services will be held at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. A visitation will begin at 9 a.m., with a Rosary to be recited at 9:30 a.m., and a Funeral Mass 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


John Austin Smith


John Austin Smith

John Austin Smith, beloved son, dad and grandpa (papa), passed away peacefully on Jan. 25, 2022.

He worked for the telephone company for 32 years before retiring and becoming a farmer. He spent countless hours sharing his love for the outdoors with his children and grandchildren, teaching them to hunt, fish and enjoy the outdoor life. The stories and jokes this amazing man shared will keep us entertained for years to come!

He loved his family and his farm, and packed a lot of adventure into his 87 years. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him!

John was born on June 15, 1934, to Grace and Homer Smith in Treece, Kan. They moved to Albuquerque in 1945. They decided to stay and raise their families.

He is survived by his former wife and high school sweetheart, Donna Jennings; and their children, Rita (Patricia) Smith, Gene Smith, James Smith (and wife, Valarie) and Jeremy Smith (and wife, Elizabeth). Their son, Jeffrey, passed away in 2007.

John was preceded in death by his second wife and best friend, Kay Smith, in 2011, and is survived by their daughter, Kristin Chavez and her husband Jarrod Chavez. John is also survived by his loving companion of 35 years, Nancy Lewis.

Additional surviving family members include his brother, Curtis Smith; sister, Jill Newbold; his grandchildren, Becky Smith, Erik Smith, David Smith, Jessie Gorlinsky, Katie Kephart, Cerisa Chavez, Brendon Chavez, Devin Chavez and Aidan Chavez; as well as 13 great-grandchildren (and one on the way) and one great great-granddaughter.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Ellis Smith; and sister, Mary Endicott.

Please join us for a celebration of life to held at the Noblin Funeral Service Belen Chapel at 11 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 5, with a reception to follow at the Smith residence.

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


Ronnie G. Stump

Died 2022

Ronnie G. Stump

In loving memory of Ronnie G. Stump, age 44, a resident of Belen, passed away on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.

Ronnie was a giving, loving, kind, humble and amusing sort of person. He never knew a stranger and made friends wherever he went. He was a dreamer and believed the best in people. He loved the Lord with all his heart and that love was a reflection in his actions.

He was preceded in death by his father, Rodney Stump.

Ronnie is survived by his loving wife of 22 years, Debra; stepson, Kyle Collier and partner, Tashelle Mitchell; stepdaughter, Shanna Collier; grandchildren, Sebastian Provencio, Yuna Collier, and Johanna and Giovanni Collier; mother, Nora Stump; sister, Rita and husband, Jamel Powers; brother, Robert Stump and partner, Ashley Gutierrez; niece, Natasha Waites; and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, March 5, at the Cornerstone Church in Rio Communities.

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

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