On December 5, 1948, Jose Antonio “Joe” Loya, Jr. was born in Ysleta, Texas, and raised in Socorro, Texas.
On December 7, 2022, Joe peacefully passed away in his sleep in Socorro, New Mexico, the land of his Piro ancestors, thus fulfilling his last wish.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Tony and Nela Loya.
Throughout his life, Joe was a devout Roman Catholic and served in many ministries, beginning in childhood, as altar boy.
After graduating from Ysleta High School, Joe served for four years in the U.S. Air Force.
He was particularly proud to serve his country, as his father and uncles had done in World War II, and his grandfather in World War I.
Upon being discharged from military service, Joe earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Speech Therapy and Audiology from the University of Texas at El Paso.
After college, Joe relocated to New Mexico, where he embarked upon a fulfilling career in public education: first in Taos, then in Silver City, and finally in Socorro, where he remained for the last 36 years of his life.
Beyond his professional life, Joe relished in the flora and fauna of the Land of Enchantment, all of which afforded him a voluminous repertoire.
Joe savored recounting tales of his jaunts in the Gila Wilderness, El Bosque del Apache, the Magdalena Mountains, the Black Range, among many wonder-filled natural environments that he intimately appreciated.
His love of nature was magnificently documented in his prize-winning photography, which he shared with family and friends.
As his forebears, Joe was an avid hunter, his prized kill being a “trophy-worthy” antelope, last fall: Joe’s last hurrah.
Joe will be remembered for his participation throughout the community, especially at this time of year, when he delighted children in his Santa Claus outfit.
Joe’s culinary skill ranged from Chinese cooking to his salsa, to his juniper berry and limoncello hooch, which he also generously shared with many.
Opera and classical music were among his varied interests; a voracious reader, Joe’s favorite topic was history.
Joe is survived by three sisters, two brothers, nieces, nephews, God children, and an abundance of friends.
Joe’s pallbearers are: Ralph Loya, George Loya, Gabriel Padilla, Niklos Maureira, Diego Maureira, Andrés Loya, Joe Melendez, Elmo Padilla, Larry Vigil, Joey Lucero and Mike Peacock.
Joe’s honorary pallbearers are: Fabian Loya, Vernon Leseburg, Stanley Kurkowski, Tim Griffin, Paul Fuierer and Charles Hemming.
Funeral arrangements provided by Daniels Family Funeral Mortuary, 309 Garfield Avenue, Socorro, New Mexico 87801, with viewing from 8 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., Friday, December 16, 2022.
Recitation of the Rosary will be at 10 a.m., followed by Funeral Mass, at San Miguel Mission, 110 San Miguel Street, Socorro, New Mexico.
Joe will be buried at the New San Miguel Cemetery on Blue Canyon Road.
Regrettably, due to current levels of flu and covid infections, a reception following Joe’s services will be delayed until more favorable conditions allow gathering, hopefully by spring, in Socorro, New Mexico.