Sanchezes celebrate golden wedding anniversary
Dr. Gilbert Sanchez and his wife, Lorena, formerly of Belen, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Aug. 27. The couple was married on Aug. 26, 1961, at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church.
After their wedding, the Sanchezes lived in Albuquerque, where Gilbert worked as a microbiologist for the new Mexico Public Health Laboratory. Prior to their marriage, Gilbert earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Kansas. He completed his studies and research in 1967, and was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree in microbiology.
He then proceeded to continue his studies and research at Rice University as a post doctoral fellow. In 1968, he accepted a faculty position at New Mexico Tech, where he served as professor of biology and department chairman.
He was awarded several research grants from federal agencies to support his research activities. In addition, he produced many students who went on to earn doctoral and medical degrees. He also served as president of the Socorro Consolidated Board of Education for several years.
After his long tenure at New Mexico Tech, Dr. Sanchez was recruited and hired as dean of graduate studies and research at Eastern New Mexico University. He served as a member of the National Science Foundation board of directors. He also assisted several farmers in acquiring grants to build alcohol producing plants in the Portales area.
Following his tenure at ENMU, Sanchez was hired as vice president at the University of Southern Colorado. During that time, he was nominated for the presidency at New Mexico Highland University, where he served in that position from 1985 to 1995. He also attracted millions of dollars in grants and contracts from several federal agencies.
During all these years, Lorena, formerly Lorena Tabet, raised their three children, Elizabeth Sanchez, who is a graphic artist; Dr. Phillip Sanchez, a dentist; and Katherine Irons, the chief financial officer for TRI Construction Co.
Lorena also studied for her bachelor’s degree in fine arts. She has been an active freelance artist, focusing on watercolor landscapes. Her paintings have been shown in galleries in Portales, Pueblo, Colo., Las Vegas, N.M., and in Albuquerque.
The couple has six grandchildren, Erika, Joseph and Jonathan Sanchez, and Chance, Cannon and Colton Irons.
After. Dr. Sanchez retired from a long tenure in higher education, he served as a consultant and board member for several organizations and agencies, including NASA, the National Science Foundation, Sandia National Laboratories, the Federal Reserve Bank in Denver, North Carolina A & T University, Hispanic Radio Network, United Negro College Fund — Special Project Corp., and was the founding chair of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.
The Sanchezes are enjoying retirement, spending time with their children and grandchildren. They live in Albuquerque.
The couple will renew their vows at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church on Saturday, Aug. 27. A reception will follow for invited friends and relatives at the Holiday Inn Express.
Gilbert is the son of the late Macedonio and Josephine Sanchez. Lorena is the daughter of Lily B. Tabet and the late Joseph Tabet.