Joseph Candelaria, 54, of El Paso, Texas, passed away peacefully at the Hospice of El Paso Center for Compassionate Care Oct. 18, following a valiant fight with cancer. He was born Feb. 28, 1962 in Estancia and is survived by his older sister, Ramona Risinger of Portales. Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Santanita and Anastacio Candelaria; his foster parents, Walter and Ada Belle Waltrip; his brother, Martin (Tiny) Candelaria; and sisters, Roberta Staeden and Carolina Davis. After graduating from Estancia High School, Joe attended Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute from 1981 to 1984 before beginning his career at Associated Milk Products Inc., where he repaired and maintained the company 18-wheelers in safe working condition. In 2007, he went to work for Sun Metro, where he used his mechanical skills to keep the city buses in working order. He was still employed there at the time of his death as a Fleet Maintenance Supervisor. Words cannot express our appreciation to Misty Monteros, a very dear, loyal and understanding friend of Joe’s, who stood by his side and helped him with his fight against cancer. Her loving care was surpassed only by the amazing quality of life she provided for him. The many hours she spent conversing with him about his life and getting him to do what was needed when he wanted to put things off, was above and beyond that of a mere friend. Listening to all that he had to talk about, going out of her way to bring him things that he could eat and needed, and taking him wherever he needed to go was more than what an ordinary friend would do. The good Lord provided this beautiful angel to care for Joe during his final days here on Earth. Thank you Misty from all of us here. A memorial service was held Oct. 24 at the Alamogordo Funeral Home Chapel. Interment followed at Monte Vista Cemetery in Alamogordo. At Joe’s request, a reception followed at The Gathering Place, 1601 Hawaii, Alamogordo, where food and refreshments were served as we gather together and reflect on Joe’s life and how he touched each and every one of us. We will miss him and his gentle heart. Pallbearers included Jesse Almeida, Ed Velasquez, Wilfred Naylor, Mike Neria, Don Staeden and John Talbot. The Candelaria family entrusted their loved one to the care of Alamogordo Funeral Home to direct the services. To sign the online register book, please visit alamogordofuneralhome.org.

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at news.ind.editor@gmail.com.