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Because You Are Our Family

American Veteran 08

"Zac" Zacarias Valles

March 7, 1943 ~ September 17, 2019 (age 76)

“Zac”, Zacarias Benavidez Valles Jr., 76, passed away Tuesday September 17, 2019 in Las Cruces, where he had lived most of his working life.

Family and friends will come together to celebrate the life of this dear husband, father, grandfather, friend, teacher, coach and mentor on Wednesday September 25, 2019 at the Catholic Basilica of San Albino in Mesilla where he was a communicant. At 10:30 in the morning the Holy Rosary will be recited led by Joseph Escarsiga. Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11: 30 celebrated by Fr. Chris Williams, Pastor, and at 2:30 in the afternoon the rite of committal will be officiated by Fr. Don Adamski and interment will follow at Ft. Bliss National Cemetery .  Veteran honors will be accorded by a U. S. Army detail.  A celebration of life reception will follow at 4:30 at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Road, Las Cruces, New Mexico 88011.

Serving as pallbearers will be Ernest Viramontes, Max Padilla, Larry Hawkins, Manny Treviso, Felix Armijo and Hector Madrid.

“Zac”, as he was affectionately known, was born in La Mesa on March 7, 1943 at what is now Chope’s to Reina Benavidez and Zacarias Valles. He attended Gadsden Public Schools and graduated from Gadsden High school in 1962 where he had back to back titles in1961and1962. He attended New Mexico State University and Western New Mexico University until his education was interrupted by the Vietnam War where he served his country honorably in the U. S. Army in 1968 through 1970. Sgt. Valles was a recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Air Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and the Bronze Star.  He married Mary Lou Rivas in La Mesa in 1968 and returned to NMSU to receive his Bachelor’s Degree and 2 Masters degrees in education.   His legacy in education and coaching begin in Santa Rosa, followed by Zia Junior High (winning 3 city championships), Gadsden (returning to his Alma Mater and bringing pride back to the Valley), Onate (named for numerous coaching awards) and Canutillo where his passion was reignited while coaching girls’ basketball.     

Survivors include his loving wife of over 51 years, Mary Lou Valles of the home; 2 sons, Jimmy Valles and Ronnie and wife, Tiffany of Las Cruces; 6 grandchildren, Francisco, Xavier, Isabel, Zachary, Ronnie (Suge) and David Valles; 3 sisters, Celia Valles of Anthony and Elvia Romero and husband, Isidro and Beatrice Valles of Las Cruces.

Preceding him in death are his parents; a son, David Valles on July 5, 2017 and 2 brothers, Ray and Fernie Valles.  

He will be remembered most by family and friends for his humor and over all love for life.

Zac, you lit up every room you were ever in and we cannot thank you enough for the time you spent making us better people…You, SIR, will forever be a “Scholar and a Gent.”


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