Paul A. “Casper” Baca


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Paul A. “Casper” Baca 

Professional stock contractor and local cowboy legend, Casper Baca, unexpectedly passed away at his home on the morning of Oct. 5, 2019, in Peralta.

Casper was born on Dec. 12, 1956, in Grants, to Pete and Loyola Baca. From a very humble beginning, like many other cowboys who follow the rodeo trail, Casper Baca grew up competing in rodeos, riding bulls and team roping. Casper was one of eight bullriders from the United States invited to compete at Rodeo Royal in Calgary, Canada.

He was also the first ever stock contractor to compete at the NMRA finals in bullriding and team roping. While Casper was riding bulls and team roping, he was also helping his father manage his rodeo business the Baca Brother’s Rodeo Company from 1975 to 1986. Baca Bros. rodeo was vital in the creation of the New Mexico Rodeo Association. Baca Bros. was the first stock contracting company, and Casper became the first bullriding director of the new association, accomplishments that are for the most part unknown but cherished by Casper.

In 1986, Casper felt it was time to start his own business. Since the humble beginnings the Casper Baca Rodeo Company has grown to be one of the finest world class rodeo companies. “From the sands of San Fidel to the lights of Las Vegas.” Casper Baca lived a life filled with hard work, dedication, family, artistry, chivalry and virtue, and left an impact on those around him for eternity. Heaven is truly the Home of the Champions now.

Casper is preceded in death by his parents, Pete and Loyola Baca; and nephew, Dustin Baca.

He is survived by his three children, Christy Aragon and husband, Andrew, CJ Baca, Charm Edwards and husband, Tanner; their mother, Cheryl; eight grandchildren, Malyka, Zaryah, Clay, Jayce, Brody, Esteban, Tayte and Oudy; sister, Sarah Cordova and husband, Julian; brothers, Joey Baca and wife, Barbara, Larry Baca and wife, Angela; nieces and nephews, Joshua, Jeremy, Twila, Derrick and Desiree; and numerous great-nieces and nephews.

A Rosary will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 19, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church of Peralta. A memorial will be held at the Valencia County Sheriff Posse Arena at 1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 20, with a reception to follow at the Sheriff Posse Café.

Arrangements are being handled by the caring professionals at the Noblin Funeral Service Los Lunas Chapel, 2211-D Main St., 866-9992, where an online guest register is available at

James Patrick Cooke Jr.


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James Patrick Cooke Jr.

James Patrick Cooke Jr., age 31, born in Waterbury, Conn., on May 27, 1988, went into the arms of the Lord and joined his father, James Sr. in Heaven on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

He was a long-time resident of Los Lunas, and a very loved man by his family and by the community. James had a passion for mechanics and loved his 1991 Mustang. He was always willing to help anyone who needed mechanical work done on their vehicles and would drop everything just to help someone.

James was an incredible father to his children. They were his pride and joy and helped shape him into the incredible man he was. There was nothing else on this earth that he loved more.

He was a beloved brother by all his siblings and he never let anyone go without. James was also an incredible Uncle Baca to all his nephews and nieces. He was an incredible son, brother and friend to all.

James had an incredible sense of humor and loved to make people laugh. His smile literally lit up everyone’s life, and his laugh was so infectious. James had so many people who loved him and he will be dearly missed. He left the world far to soon.

He is survived by his two daughters, Denise Nicole Cooke and Milani Rae Cooke; his son, James Patrick Cooke III; his mother, Wendy Marie Cooke; five siblings, Michael, Joseph, Tiffany, Denniellie and Robbie; five nephews and seven nieces.

James is in Heaven now with his father, James Sr.

A memorial service for James will be held Saturday, Oct. 12, at Grace Fellowship, 3384 N.M. 47, Los Lunas, in the main auditorium, beginning with a visitation from 10-11 a.m., followed by a service at 11 a.m. A reception at the church will follow after the service.

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

Bradley Kyle Dillard


Brad, Bud, Son … You are loved by so many and you will be missed. With the glory and promises of the Almighty God we will see you again.

Bradley Kyle Dillard is survived by his parents, Melody Shupe and Kyle Dillard; wife, Teresa Lee Dillard; two sisters, Anessa Brown and family, and Whitney Blue Crotty and family.

A gathering to say our Earthly goodbye will be shared at 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Ronald Regan Community Center, 195 E. Douglas Ave., El Cajon, Calif.

To help the family cover end-of-Life expenses, donations can be made to GoFundMe.Com –Search “Help Brad’s Family Remember Him.” – Fountain, Colo.

Margaret DeLaO Lujan

Died 2019

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Margaret DeLaO Lujan

Margaret DeLaO Lujan, age 79, passed away Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, after a long illness.

She was a member of the Greek Orthodox Church. Margaret was the kind of person who would help someone in need and was so giving to all her family. She was an avid antique dealer. She enjoyed yard sales, antique shops and flea markets.

She was a very hard-working woman all her life. Many people enjoyed her company and she always saw the good in everyone. Her greatest joy was her grandchildren. She was loved dearly and will truly be missed.

Margaret was preceded in death by her sister, Priscilla Trujillo; and her only son, Mark Trujillo.

She is survived by her daughters, Marie Luna and husband, Ronald Luna, and Maggie Aragon; her grandchildren, Jacqueline Vigil, Angelo Luna, Gino Evans and Maria Vigil; her sisters, Marcella Trujillo, Juanita Gordon and Marie DeLaO; and many nieces and nephews.

Services will be held from 4-6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 16, at Riverside Funeral Home in Los Lunas. A reception to follow will be announced at the service.

David Richard St. John, PhD


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David Richard St. John, PhD

David Richard St. John, 76, passed gently after a long fight with cancer Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. He was surrounded by family at his home in Rio Communities.

David has called central New Mexico home since 1976. In that time, he owned and operated New Mexico Product Inc., a packaging business. He introduced himself as “a professional boxer.”

He married Lois Struck in 1963. He met his lifelong love while they were both studying education at Colorado State College in Greeley, Colo. The couple went on to live in Ovid, Colo., Brighten, Colo., Columbia, Mo., Laramie, Wyo., and Albuquerque, before making their home in Rio Communities.

He earned a B.A. and a M.A. in industrial arts educational from Colorado State College, and a PhD in industrial technology and industrial psychology from the University of Missouri. He taught at the University of Wyoming and the University of New Mexico before opening his own business.

David and Lois were founding members of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Albuquerque, where both were active until they moved to Rio Communities in 2001. Since then, they’ve been members of Valley Lutheran Church in Los Lunas.

David never met a stranger. He fought to prevent child abuse by volunteering with the Breakfast Exchange Club of Albuquerque. He also crewed for Warsteiner several years during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. He was a member of Moose Lodge 2550 in Rio Communities.

David was an avid outdoorsman and loved hunting, fishing and horse-riding.

He is survived by his wife, Lois; son, David and daughter-in-law, Meghan, and granddaughters, Kyla and Alanna; son, Michael and daughter-in-law, Alisa, granddaughter, Malia, and grandson, Keller; son, Steven and daughter-in-law, Lillian Kelly; son, Christopher Venghaus; sisters, Anita Odegard and Denise Busking; and many extended family members.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 12, at Valley Lutheran Church, 3259 N.M. 47, Los Lunas. Lunch to follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the church or the American Cancer Society.

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