People we lost in 2020 | Updates


Former mayor of Questa and a staunch conservationist who lobbied for the Río Grande del Norte National Monument and to restore the St. Anthony Catholic Church in her native Questa.

Morgan Elizabeth Sanders, 37

Morgan Sanders, a massage therapist and owner of a local landscaping business in Taos, died of a suspected suicide at the Río Grande Gorge Bridge.

David Nichols was so unlike old school Hollywood you’d never imagine he worked alongside the likes of Martin Scorsese or Robert De Niro. Instead, he was a charming and personable soul who belied the sometimes inaccessible and impersonal nature of what things can be like behind the camera. He died in Taos after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

George G. Medina and Michael Johnstone

June 24, 2020 / June 27, 2020

Medina and Johnstone were two Taos County snowboarders who encouraged the Blake family to end a ban on the sport at Taos Ski Valley 13 years ago. The two had been business partners in Experience Snowboards based in Angel Fire in the 1990s.

Medina died at the age of 54 June 24, when a concrete truck he was driving flipped on U.S. 64 in Taos Canyon. He drove the truck for many years for his family’s business, Robert Medina and Sons Concrete and Sand.

Johnstone, 50, died in his sleep June 27.

Inventor, engineer, philanthropist, mentor and New Mexican. Patterson had been a board member and generous benefactor to the Taos Community Foundation.

Author, raconteur and certifiable character, according to his obituary in the New Mexican, Evans lived in Taos for several years.

Ret. Lt. General Edward Baca, 82

Retired Lt. Gen. Edward D. Baca, a Santa Fe native who rose through the ranks of the National Guard to become the first Hispanic to head the service’s bureau in Washington, D.C., left a big legacy in Northern New Mexico.

Jean-Marie Henri Louis Mayer died peacefully after a battle with cancer. He was a founding pioneer of Taos Ski Valley and owner/operator of the Hotel St. Bernard, he started the world-renowned Taos Ski School. He was elected to the 2008 New Mexico Ski Hall of Fame.

Eloisa Bernal Apachito, 102

Apachito was Taos Pueblo’s oldest military veteran. She served two years in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II, became an educator and was known around the pueblo as a caretaker.

Mary Gonzales Jeantete, 91

A former First Lady of Taos, she passed away surrounded by family after battling cancer. She was the wife of former Taos mayor Eloy Jeantete and well-known for her hospitality.

Pastor Charley Leory Rael II, 62

He was Pastor of Mt. Zion Tabernacle for 20 years, coached Taos Little League and ran the Giant Convenience Store and Gas Station for 25 years.

Amarante “Mante” Chacón, 77

A local food legend and founder of the popular locals’ diner, Mante’s Chow Cart. Mante was known to almost everyone in the Taos area as of a generous nature. He died of complications related to COVID-19.

Donald Rogers “Rogers” Lanon, 58

Rogers participated in the Angel Fire Chamber Board of Directors where he held positions as the Chairman of the Board and Treasurer. He also held a position on Angel Fire Village Council and served as Mayor Pro-Tem.

And though not all of their names are known, this honors all of the people who died of COVID-19 in Taos and Colfax counties.