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Gilbert S. Baca died at his home, 725 Los Lovatos Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico, on May 20, 2020. He was born in Santa Fe on August 19, 1935, to Max and Lola Baca of Urioste Street. Gilbert sought to distinguish himself at every opportunity, beginning with his graduation from Santa Fe High School in 1954, where he lettered in football, baseball and most notably basketball, where he was an All-State selection. He went on to study and play basketball at New Mexico State University, but he left those early studies to pursue his calling: serving his country as a professional soldier. He enlisted at age 16 in the US Army National Guard in 1952, transitioned to full-time status within the National Guard in 1956 as an officer, and served within various administrative, planning, training, and command positions during his career, most notably in the Tierra Amarilla Court House shooting, the Albuquerque Roosevelt Park Riot, and as the lead commander who quelled the infamous New Mexico Penitentiary Riot of 1980. His military career also led him to active duty status within the US Army, whereupon he served two tours at the Pentagon, led as the Chief of Exercises for Southern Command and the US Army South in Panama and Latin America, redesigned the Army as the Chief of Force Development at Fort Leavenworth, and investigated the aftermath of Desert Storm. At his retirement, he had obtained the rank of Brigadier General. He then went on to become the Assistant General Manager for Training and Curriculum at the Department of Energy to train couriers of nuclear materials, and as the Administrator and Finance Director and Program Manager at the New Mexico Department of Health. His post-service resume also included establishing the International Law Enforcement Academy in Roswell. He served on the boards of the New Mexico Community Foundation, Hands Across Culture and Court Appointed Special Advocates, and he was also appointed by President George W. Bush to be on the Board of Visitors, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. He had continued his education during his career, finishing his Bachelor's Degree at Liberty University and earning a Master's from the US Army War College, as well as graduating from the National Defense University, the US Army Command and General Staff College, the US Engineer School, the Military Police School and the US Air Defense School. Most of all, he was proud to have been a graduate of the US Infantry School that earned him Ranger status. Gilbert is survived by his wife of 63 years, Alice Christine Sanchez y Medina de Baca; six children, Jeffrey Gilbert of Santa Fe, Jonathan Steven and wife Jennifer of Santa Fe, Tamara Denise Baca and wife Theresa Faiers of Phoenix, Arizona, Christopher Max and wife Sylvia of Las Vegas, New Mexico, Amy Dolores Baca-Trujillo of Santa Fe, and Estelle Ana C de Baca and husband Joaquin of Brooklyn, New York; two sisters, Stella Valdez of Santa Fe, Rosina and husband Raymond Lopez of Santa Fe; his grandchildren Jonathan Baca of Las Vegas, New Mexico, Victoria Way and husband Ian Way of New York, New York, Jacob Trujillo of Santa Fe, Elisabeth Baca and husband Ken Dwigans of Hamilton, Ohio, Kaitlin Baca and husband Alejo Irurueta of Boulder, Colorado, Aurelia Baca of Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, Dylan Baca of Brooklyn, New York, Ethan Alexander Baca of Raleigh, North Carolina, Isaiah Kongsvik and India Kongsvik of Santa Fe, and Calista C de Baca and Ada C de Baca of Brooklyn, New York; and three great-grandchildren, William Dwigans and Evelyn Dwigans of Hamilton, Ohio, and Stellan Way of New York, New York. Gilbert was preceded in death by his parents Max and Lola Baca, his sister Juanita Baca and his brother Paul Baca. Memorial services will be held at date after the Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted in order to permit attendees.
The Family of Gilbert S. Baca has entrusted the care of their beloved one to Avista Cremation & Burial Funeral Home where healing begins.
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