Leonardo Tafoya, 82, died Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 at the family home in Santa Clara Pueblo.
Mr. Tafoya was born in Santa Clara Pueblo Feb. 23, 1937, the sixth of 13 children, to Alcario and Margaret Tafoya.
He graduated from Española High School in 1958. After high school he continued to help his parents with the family’s farming and livestock and worked small jobs around the pueblo. In the early 1960s he was one of four journeyman plumbers at Santa Clara Pueblo, tasked with installing the first indoor plumbing systems on the reservation.
Mr. Tafoya performed with the “Chief Foggy Bird Family” dance group at Royal Gorge near Cañon City, Colorado in the 1950s and early 1960s.
He was also a Wildland Firefighter for the tribe at that time. Flat feet kept him out of the military.
Mr. Tafoya worked as a maintenance technician at the tribal administration offices and was known to be meticulous at cleaning. He retired from there.
He participated in activities with the Santa Clara Pueblo Senior Center and enjoyed a last trip to the state fair in September. He missed fishing in Santa Clara Canyon and enjoyed watching local high school baseball and basketball games.
Mr. Tafoya was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Lee, Roger, Phillip and Kenneth Tafoya and sisters Virginia Ebelacker, Jennie Trammel, Mela Youngblood and Shirley Tafoya.
He is survived by siblings Toni Roller, LuAnn Tafoya and Wayne Tafoya, all of Santa Clara, and Mary Ester Archuleta, Ohkay Owingeh and many other relatives and friends.
A wake service was held at 7 p.m., Wednesday (10/9) at the family home in Santa Clara. A rosary followed at 7:30 p.m. Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 9 a.m., Thursday (10/10) at the Santa Clara Tewa Mission with Rev. Fr. Nathan Lopez presiding. Burial followed at 10 a.m. at the Santa Clara Pueblo Cemetery.
Serving as pallbearers are Barry and Bryon Archuleta, A.J. Oyenque, William Tafoya, Joseph Lugo and James Ebelacker.