Fond farewell to Sam Salazar, Sr.
June 1, 1912—August 14, 2002
—Jane P. Harmes
Las Placitas Presbyterian Church
On August 14, Las Placitas Presbyterian Church and the entire Placitas community lost one of its most beloved life-long members and citizens. At age ninety, Samuel Salazar passed away at his home after an extended illness. Toward the end, he was under hospice care.
To the folks at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, Sam was the gatekeeper, the one who greeted visitors and members with a smile each week until his health began to fail. To this pastor, Sam always said “God bless you” at the close of our visits and prayers. Sam was viewed by many at the church as the “daddy” of the congregation. Two-and-one-half years ago, I had the great pleasure of officiating at Sam’s second marriage (at age 88) to Anita Montoya. Our sanctuary overflowed with great grandchildren and many other relatives and friends. It was a most joyful occasion. When Sam married Anita, his extended family doubled.
Sam Salazar was born to Ramon and Rumaldita Salazar on June 1, 1912. He was raised and lived most of his life in Placitas. Sam married Siria Santillanez on July 17, 1937. They enjoyed 56 years of marriage until her death in 1993. Sam and Siria’s children include Romie, Norma, Anna Marie, Sam Jr., and Esther who died at a young age.
Sam Salazar served his country during World War II, seeing combat in Germany and France. He retired from Sandia Labs in 1977 after twenty years of service. He loved the outdoors, Spanish music, and dancing. He was an avid gardener and enjoyed horseback riding (in parades especially) and rodeos. Sam loved attending the Placitas Senior Center special events where he met Anita in 1998.
He was a man of faith and patience, a peacemaker, an excellent role model to his family. Sam never learned to read, but every night he knelt down and opened his Spanish Bible to the twenty-third psalm and recited it from memory. He showed me the page where Psalm 23 had been. There was a hole in the page, worn thin by his prayerful hands touching the words he prayed.
I and many in the community will miss this dear man.
The family would like any contributions in Sam’s memory to go to the Las Placitas Presbyterian Church building fund.