Edward E. Vigil, Jr., (Eddie) 100, a longtime resident of Chama, NM, departed this life on February 13, 2021. He was born and raised in Ensenada, NM, one of nine children born to Eduardo Vigil, Sr. and Ignacita Martinez Vigil. He graduated from St. Michael’s High School in Santa Fe. Upon learning of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Eddie enlisted for active duty in the United States Navy, serving nearly four years during World War II. After the war, Eddie worked for the Santa Fe Railroad as a telegraph operator and dispatcher at depots in Colorado and New Mexico before opening Eddie’s Chevron in Chama, NM in 1952. He could be found working at the “station,” driving the gasoline and fuel tankers as wholesale distributor for Standard Oil, and parking RV’s as owner of the Twin Rivers RV Park. He greeted customers with his trademark smile and gusto well into his 80’s when he retired. As Chama’s first mayor, elected in 1961, he championed the town’s incorporation and delivered the town’s first public works projects including a water system, sewer system, cable TV system, natural gas pipeline, and the Azotea diversion project. He served as a board member of the Chama Valley School Board, the Small Business Association, and the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad, having been instrumental in the “save the railroad” campaign. He was also a lifelong member of the Knights of Columbus. Eddie was named “Man of the Century” in 2001 by the Governor and Forty-Fifth Legislature for his “outstanding achievement and exceptional accomplishments.”
He was preceded in death by his parents; his in-laws, Abenicio and Maria Gallegos; his siblings Lillian Gallegos (Phil), Susie Trujillo (Mel), Dorah Bailey, Emma Williams (George), Marge Biggin (Charles), Joe (Loyola), and Priscilla; and his son-in-law Marvin Sanchez. He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Luz G. Vigil; children, Eddie III (Allison), Mary Agnes (Bob), Linda, Terri, Thomas (Lorraine), Larkin (Silvia), Michael (Darlene), Joan, Joann Sanchez, Ernest (Sonia); sister, Roseanne Radanovich of Mariposa, CA, brother-in-law, Melvin Gallegos of Los Lunas, 19 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, 4 great-great grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. He has left large footprints and is the embodiment of what a son, husband, father, grandfather, and public servant should be.
A Mass will be held at Risen Savior Catholic Church with interment following at Santa Fe National Cemetery. The Services will be private due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Pallbearers will be Eddie Vigil IV, Steven Perez, Javier Vigil, Mark Vigil, Jerard Vigil, Daniel Vigil, TJ Baca, Jayme Vigil, Thomas Vigil, Mike Vigil, and James Baca.
Donations in honor of Eddie may be made to Friends of the Cumbres-Toltec Scenic Railroad, Inc. at friendsofcumbrestoltec.org.
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