Burial services for a group of indigent people took place in Magdalena on Friday.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain

Backdropped by the Magdalena mountains and a beautiful cloud-filled New Mexico sky, Socorro County laid 12 lonesome souls to rest on June 2.

“Those that lie before us without family or fanfare once lived, had dreams, created memories, and most all were people who shared and touched lives,” Socorro County manager Michael Hawkes said while reading a dozen names on a tiny tri-fold pamphlet.

This was the second burial by Socorro County of indigents whose bodies went unclaimed, and the sight of 12 tiny graves dug for cremated remains was reminiscent of a plane crash or natural disaster as workers respectfully tended the sites.

A prior burial several years ago interred eight people after the city of Magdalena donated the plots.

Magdalena Mayor Richard Rumpf and Family Christian Center pastor Ed Sullivan delivered the eulogies for Carl Wilbur Olsen Baca, Elizabeth Wallace, Donald Soloman, Cheryl Yelsma, Caroline Kozloski, Eric Hyneck, Jessica Turney, Mona Danner, Tony Garcia, Robert Derby, Ruth Owen and Barbara Lepper.

Hawkes’ reading further etched the somberness of the occasion.

“But fret not of these souls as we are gathered to recognize that they were, they existed and therefore we take pause today to pay respects to those whom others may have not have been able to,” Hawkes said.

The remains of all were cared for and transported to the site for burial by Dale Dawson of Socorro’s Daniels Family Funeral Home.