Deacon James A. Baca, age 95, of Rio Rancho, NM passed away peacefully on Thursday, June 7, 2018.
Deacon Baca is survived by his niece, Dr. Maria Carlota Baca of Santa Fe; nephews, Major Thomas Baca of Albuquerque, and former Mayor Jim Baca of Albuquerque; four grandnieces and nephews and nine great-grandnieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Delfin and Lenore Baca; sister, Rupertita and brother Fermin.
Deacon Baca, a Veteran of the Pacific Theater during World War II, was born in Pena Blanca, NM on January, 1923. He dedicated his life to his faith and his students while teaching in the Bernalillo Public Schools. He was a founder of the New Mexico GI Forum which fought for civil rights for returning Latino War II veterans. A book, soon to be published, “It Wasn’t So Jolly” tells the story of Deacon Baca and his B-24 Bomber crew in the Pacific. The crew and bomber were members of the “Jolly Roger” Squadron that marched up the island chain of the Pacific in the fight against the Japanese.
After the war Baca received a teaching degree and immediately started work, first at the Santa Domingo (Now known as Kewa) Pueblo Elementary, Our Lady of Fatima Heights Catholic School, and then in the Bernalillo Public School system. He spent many summers traveling in Spain or tending the family apple orchard in Pena Blanca.
After retiring he was ordained a Deacon in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and served in many parishes around New Mexico. He spent most of his time as a Deacon at St. Thomas Aquinas in Rio Rancho where he made many friends and provided assistance to many parishioners.
A visitation will be held Tuesday, June 12, 2018 from 6:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 1502 Sara Rd. SW, Rio Rancho, New Mexico with a Rosary to be recited at 7:00 p.m., recited by Monsignor Douglas Raun. A final visitation will be held Wednesday, June 13, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 1502 Sara Rd. SW, Rio Rancho, New Mexico with Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 10:30 a.m., will be celebrated by Monsignor Douglas Raun. A Committal Service will be held, Friday, June 29, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at Santa Fe National Cemetery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.