Eloy Antonio Jeantete, lovingly known as Dad, Grandpa, Tio and Primo by his family and Eloy, Mr. Jeantete and Mayor by so many residents in the Taos area, passed peacefully in his home in Taos, New Mexico, Sunday, November 6, 2022. Eloy was deeply devoted to his wife, Mary, who preceded him in death and so passionately proud of his heritage, children and grandchildren, and his town of Taos.
Eloy married Mary Gonzales Jeantete on February 14, 1951. They were married for 69 years at the time Mary’s death. They had three children, Stephen (deceased) (Roberta), Catherine Aragon (Frank), and Rosemary Gallegos (Robert). He had 10 grandchildren, Andres, Alejandro, Dominic, Angela, Sarah, Bernadette, Ruth, Theresa, Rebekah, Stephen and 9 great-grandchildren.
Eloy was raised in La Loma in Taos. He graduated in 1946 from Taos High School. He valued education highly and said the only time he disobeyed his mom was one day when she wanted him to stay home from school and help with his siblings. Among his early jobs were for the County Treasurer and Clerk and later for the First State Bank of Taos (now U.S. Bank), where he worked for 46 years and rose in the ranks to become Bank President and Chairman of the Board. Eloy served on the Taos Town Council for 16 years and then as Mayor of Taos for 6 years from 1989 – 1994. Up until the final months of his life, any stranger he encountered in town became a friend and received an historical accounting of Taos. If you were from the Taos area, he most certainly figured out how he knew your family.
Eloy was active in many civic organizations including the Taos Fiesta Council, Kiwanis, Friends of the Taos Public Library, 35 years with Taos Feeds Taos, and VFW Senior Vice Commander. He could always be found with Mary at graduations, weddings, funerals and receptions of family and friends. Eloy was honored with numerous civic awards during his lifetime including, Taos Living Treasure, ARC of New Mexico Public Official of the Year, Kiwanian of the Year, New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Award by then Governor Johnson, and Town of Taos Outstanding Leadership Award.
Eloy was a proud veteran of the Korean War where he served in Korea from 1951- 1952 in the 2nd Infantry Division, 38th Infantry Regiment as a Sergeant First Class. He was assigned to type letters to families of soldiers who had fallen in combat and he helped fellow soldiers write letters home to loved ones.
Eloy is preceded in death by his son Stephen Jeantete, wife Mary Gonzales Jeantete, parents Gabriel and Epifania Jeantete, siblings, Feliberto Jeantete, Gabriel Jeantete (Pita), Uvaldo Jeantete (Georgia), Helen Archuleta (Ernest), Tomas Jeantete (Cleo -living). He is survived by his sisters, Beatrice Mascareñas (Moises – deceased), and Lucille Struck (Meliton).
His family and the Town of Taos will sorely miss Eloy. His spirit and energy will live on, as a beacon to us all on how to work hard, be honest and kind, carry ourselves with dignity, and serve our community. Go well Dad. Go well Grandpa. Go well Eloy. Fly free knowing you made a difference in all our lives.
Rosary was recited on Friday, November 18, 2022 at 10:00am followed by the Funeral Mass at 10:30am at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. Interment followed at the Las Cruces Cemetery. A meal in his honor was held at the Saint Joseph’s Hall/Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The family of Eloy Antonio Jeantete entrusted the care of their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home of Taos.