On October 18, 2016, Gary Libman, 73, beloved husband, father, uncle, grandfather, friend, and community leader passed away after a sixteen-month, courageous, and gracefully fought struggle with a rare form of leukemia.
Gary was born on May 4, 1943, in Chicago, IL, to Benjamin and Frieda Libman. He is survived by his wife Erika Gerety; son Daniel Libman (Molly McNett); daughter Amy Cohen (Joseph Cohen); son Marc Libman (Christina Lee); grandchildren Ben, Madeleine, Miya, Rose, Oscar, Miles. Held in special memory by Norma Libman. Brother of the late Jack and Alan Libman. A beloved uncle and cousin and friend to many. A graveside service was held for Gary on October 28, at the Fairview Cemetery, in Albuquerque, followed by a traditional Shiva reception.
Gary was president, director, and chief cheerleader of the Albuquerque Folk Festival (AFF), positions he actively maintained throughout most of his illness. He loved it because of its ability to bring music, light, community, dance, laughter, and happiness to the world—as he himself did. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to: Albuquerque Folk Festival, PO Box 4837, Albuquerque NM, 87106; or online at https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=85-0464484.
In addition, he served on the Board of Directors of the Southwest BlueGrass and Traditional Music Association, and he was a volunteer staff member of FolkMADS (Folk Music and Dance Society) for which he hosted the annual dance-camp talent show and led late-night jams after the dancing ended.
Gary loved all music: classical, folk, opera, show-tunes, klezmer and more, and he took an active role in the music community. In Placitas, he was president of the Placitas Artist Series, scheduling an annual music and art series. He also founded and performed for many years with the Placitas Mountain Band. Gary started the group “Shlomo and the Adobes.” Though the Adobes were a distinct group already, Gary asked them to join him for Klezmer gigs, gathered music, and coordinated gigs. He also was a member of the Albuquerque Megaband and the contra dance band, Cheap Shots, with whom he played his last concert at this year’s Albuquerque Folk Festival in June.
Gary enjoyed his 23-year career as a microbiologist with Abbott Laboratories, a large agricultural and pharmaceutical company headquartered in Chicago. He specialized in quality control for the pharmaceutical and agricultural division and headed up the regulatory sector of the international division, traveling around the globe ensuring that Abbott’s worldwide plants met stringent health and safety requirements. Though known for his genial good nature, he could also be tough when the situation warranted. More than once, he shut down a plant or stopped a shipment until potential health hazards had been resolved. When asked how difficult it was to make these decisions, Gary responded by saying it was simply the right thing to do to protect consumers.
At the end of Gary’s life, his doctor told his family that Gary, who had received experimental drugs never before used to treat his disease, had helped advance the medical knowledge that might one day enable them to successfully combat this ravaging disease for the benefit of others.
Marylou Arriola retires from Placitas Community Center
Marylou Arriola, Program Assistant at the Placitas Community Center, is retiring after 16 years of service to the Center. She started as a volunteer to the Summer Children’s Program at the in 1998 in which she taught a craft class to youth. In July of 2000, she was hired as Program Assistant to the Center.
In her 16 years of service, Marylou has dedicated herself to the Center and to the senior clients she has served, Janice Mortensen, director of the Placitas Community Center told the Signpost. “She has touched so many lives and has always been there for her clients and coworkers,” said Janice. “Marylou will be greatly missed by all, but promises she will be back to take part in senior services and as a volunteer. We send out our most gracious ‘Thank you’ to Marylou for her exceptional service to the community of Placitas.”
The Community Center staff hopes that she will enjoy many years of doing what she loves best—being there for her grandchildren.
Brenda Tafoya returns to Jemez Historic Site
—Matthew J. Barbour, Regional Manager, Coronado and Jemez Historic Sites
After a careful search, and in consultation with both the Pueblo of Jemez and the Friends of Coronado Historic Site, Brenda Tafoya was hired on as Forest and Conservation Worker—Operational (Historic Site Ranger) on October 8. She has a long history with New Mexico Historic Sites. Since 1994, Ms. Tafoya has been the public face of Jemez Historic Site. Working at the front desk, she greeted visitors and answered all incoming phone calls. Yet, her contribution to the site went well beyond the public purview. She handled much of the financial reporting and coordinated with vendors for special events.
In 2013, Ms. Tafoya spearheaded the “Jemez Artists of Today” rotating exhibit. However, she departed Jemez Historic Site in 2014 to pursue a job in the medical field. Ms. Tafoya returns now after a nearly two-year hiatus with a new role. While she will continue to serve as a welcoming face and the administrative backbone of operations at Jemez Historic Site, her role will now include much more of an emphasis on updating displays and bringing in new temporary exhibits. The first of these new temporary exhibits is planned for early 2017
With this addition to the Northern Region (Coronado and Jemez Historic Sites) of New Mexico Historic Sites, Coronado and Jemez should be able to meet all anticipated obligations for Fiscal Year 2017. While various staff members are stationed at a specific site, under the reorganization, employees can be effectively moved between stations as needed to deal with special events and labor issues as they arise.
Currently, Coronado Historic Site is open Wednesday through Monday (six days a week) and Jemez Historic Site is open Wednesday through Sunday (five days a week). Both sites are open between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Each charges five dollars per person admission, or $7 for a joint pass to both sites. Pueblo peoples are free of charge.