Paul “Joseph” Moya
Farmer and retired teacher, Paul “Joseph” Moya, was called to his heavenly home to be with his Lord and Savior on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, surrounded by his loving family.
His kindness, wisdom and humor will continue to live on through the lives that he impacted in his 71 years on this earth.
Joseph was born on May 15, 1951, to Paul S. and Mary Jo (Garley) Moya. He was raised on the family farm in La Costancia, and was the eldest of six children. He graduated from Belen High School in 1969, before completing his undergraduate degree in agriculture at New Mexico State University and his master’s degree at New Mexico Highlands University.
He started his career at Belen Middle School and then moved to Belen High School, where he served as the agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor. He received both the State FFA Degree and the Honorary American FFA Degree. His work impacted thousands of students over his 27-year career, and the ripple effects of his ability to inspire and teach life-long lessons to his students and help shape them into the best versions of themselves will be seen for generations to come.
He served as a wise “father figure” for many, as has been made evident over the past week by the number of times his family has been told, “I felt like I had lost my own father when I heard that Mr. Moya died.”
He was a lifelong member of Tomé Immaculate Conception Church, where he served as both an altar server and played the guitar and sang in the Spanish Choir. His faith was fundamental in his life, and he would pray throughout the day and fall asleep each night after praying the Holy Rosary.
He had an uncanny ability to bring joy and laughter to all he encountered. He loved sharing his newest jokes or playing “Las Mananitas,” “Tiny Bubbles” or “Okie from Muskogee” on his guitar to bring a smile to a friend’s (or stranger’s) face. He adored his dog, Suerte, who would respond to commands in both English and Spanish. People were always so impressed with this and, being the jokester that he was, Joseph would often respond by saying, “The trickiest part has been teaching her to bark in Spanish!” and then just chuckle at their astonishment.
He believed that every great blessing brought even greater responsibility and was committed to serving the people in his community in every way he could. He was the longest-tenured member of the Board of Supervisors for the Valencia Soil and Water Conservation District Board, and one of the founders of the Whitfield Wildlife Conservation Area, where he served for 25 years in positions including board chairman, board treasurer and board parliamentarian. He was also a volunteer firefighter with the Tomé-Adelino Fire Department.
In his free time, he loved cooking hamburgers for his friends at local businesses, using his tractor to clean up and beautify his community, showing off his machine shop, welding and fixing tractors and farm equipment that no one else could.
Joseph possessed a saintly ability to truly see people for who they were and who they could become. He was constantly opening up his home as a place of welcoming for those without a place to stay, buying food for those who went without, donating hay or money to help people get by and showing people a type of love that allowed them to see themselves the way God sees them.
He was simply a magnificent soul, and the many rare eternal values that Joseph exemplified are what made him so special and what will be so dearly missed by all. He was the kindest man that we have ever known, and his legacy will continue to live on through those he leaves behind.
He is preceded in death by his father and mother.
He is survived by his loving partner, Peggy Gutjahr; his three children, Max (Melanie), Irene and Paul Moya; the loving mother of his children, Sylvia Jaramillo; his two grandchildren, Maxim and Maisie Moya; his siblings, Mary Ellen Hodges (Benny), Ron Moya (Mary), Eugene Moya (Janet), Anna Moya-Troyer (Gerry) and Theresa Moya-Johnson (Lawrence); as well as many uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and countless family members and life-long friends.
Pallbearers will be Benny Hodges, Mary Moya, Janet Zamora-Moya, Gerry Troyer, Xavier Moya, Francisco Romero, Benito Moya, Maria Troyer, Victoria Troyer and Joey Troyer.
Memorial services were held on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at Tomé Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. He was laid to rest at Tomé Immaculate Conception Cemetery with a reception following at the Parish Hall.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Tomé Immaculate Conception Church ”Renovation Project” or the charity of your choice in Joseph’s honor.
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