Canuto Sanchez, Jr., age 92, of Santa Rosa, NM, passed away on the morning of Wednesday, November 29, 2023 in Phoenix, AZ where he had resided since June 2023 at the Clarendale Arcadia Senior Residences Facility.
Canuto, later known as “Newt” was born in Santa Rosa, NM on February 1, 1931 to Canuto Carlos Sanchez and Victoriana Baca. He graduated from Santa Rosa High School in 1949 where he was Editor of the high school newspaper, served on the student council, lettered in basketball, football, and baseball, and achieved the All-Around Student Award in 1949. He then attended the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, State College in Las Cruces, NM from 1949 – 1953 where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with Major in Range Management. During his undergraduate years he was Vice-President of the Theta Chi Fraternity, received the Most Valuable Baseball Player Award in 1953, and was a member of the Livestock Judging Team. He was also a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corp (R.O.T.C) program from 1949-1952 but requested and received release from the R.O.T.C. program to help his father (Canuto Sr.) manage the ranch. Newt’s true passion was his connection to that family ranch (Canuto Sanchez Ranch) West of Santa Rosa, NM at Guadalupe Mesa where he spent his childhood and young adult life until the ranch sold in 1954.
Newt served in the U.S. Army from January 1954 – January 1956. His service took him through Infantry training at Ft. Bliss, Texas; Combat Engineer training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri; and Army Information School at Ft. Slocum, New York. He received an Honorable Discharge with the rank of Specialist 3rd Class. During the summers of 1950 – 1961 Newt worked as a part-time manager at Evans Motors, Santa Rosa, NM. He also worked for the J. Neils Lumber Co., Libby, Montana as a Jr. Forester during the Summer of 1956. Newt took further business courses at the University of Nevada, Reno (Fall Semester 1956). He also attended Mexico City College, Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico (Spring Quarter 1957) where he took courses in Basic Accounting, Money and Banking, Corporation Finance, and Business Law. During the summer of 1957 Newt worked for Miller, Smith and Jones Construction Co., in Albuquerque, NM as a Heavy Equipment Operator. Newt attended the American Graduate School of International Management, Phoenix, Arizona (1957 – 1958) where he studied Foreign Trade, Marketing, Accounting, Latin American Studies and acquired fluency in Portuguese language from native instructors. He was also employed by the Kaiser Steel Corp., Fontana, California from December 1958 – July 1959 as a Senior Statistical Clerk for their Industrial Engineering Department.
It was in Phoenix where Newt met his future wife, Beverly Cooley, at a church social. They were married on July 8, 1959 at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Albuquerque, NM. Later in 1959, Newt and Beverly moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil where Newt was employed by International Packers Ltd., as a cattle-buyer with Companhia Swift do Brazil, S.A. from August 1959 – August 1962. From September 1962 – May 1964 Newt worked for Pfizer International, Inc., assigned to Laboratorios Pfizer de Chile, Santiago, Chile where he served as sales manager of the Animal Health Division.
With the news that Newt’s father had a stroke in mid 1964, Newt moved the family back to Santa Rosa, NM to care for Canuto Sr. The move back to the U.S. started a new chapter in Newt’s life. He and Beverly were pioneers in the commercial development of the East end of Santa Rosa, NM along Route 66. In 1966, they purchased and began operations of the newly named Plains Motel. Later that same year Newt built and began operations of Newt’s American Service gas station next door to the Plains Motel. As the newly constructed Interstate 40 bypassed Santa Rosa in 1972, Newt eventually had to close the American gas station. Newt knew his business prospects had to evolve with the times and he eventually reopened the station as Newt’s Exxon Service in 1975. Newt then acquired land near Santa Rosa’s East I-40 interchange and in 1978 he and Beverly opened the Dairy Queen of Santa Rosa where they were the master franchise owners of Dairy Queen for that area. For several years all three businesses continued to operate simultaneously. As his children went off to college, the Plains Motel and Exxon station eventually closed but Newt and Beverly owned and managed the Dairy Queen for 29 years, employing countless residents of Santa Rosa.
Newt was a lifelong member of the Catholic church, especially in Santa Rosa, NM where his grandfather (Camilo Sanchez) donated the funds for one of the original stained-glass windows in the St. Rose of Lima Church where Camilo’s name is still on the original window. Newt and Beverly were extremely fortunate to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on July 8, 2019, just nine days before Beverly’s passing. Newt was also preceded in death by his mother, Victoriana in 1962 and his father, Canuto Sr. in 1968. Newt is survived by his children: Susan Watson of Greensboro, NC; David Tyndall of Beverly Hills, MI; Kelly Hurt of Animas, NM; Tracy Lucero of Las Cruces, NM; Curt Sanchez of Longmont, CO; Darby Sanchez of Las Cruces, NM; Miles Sanchez of Scottsdale, AZ; and Britt Sanchez of Phoenix, AZ; as well as 17 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.
The Sanchez family would like to thank the following organizations and personnel for their support of our dad, with his health, safety, and security these recent months and years: Campos Senior Center of Santa Rosa, NM; Guadalupe County Hospital, NM; Sunrise Medical Clinic of Santa Rosa, NM; U.S. Post Office, Santa Rosa, NM; Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office; New Mexico State Police; Clarendale Arcadia Senior Residences of Phoenix, AZ; and Polly & Chano Robinson.
Visitation for family and friends will take place on Wednesday, December 6, 2023 from 1 - 6 p.m. at Chavez Funeral Home, Santa Rosa, NM.
Pallbearers will be David Tyndall, Curt Sanchez, Miles Sanchez, Britt Sanchez, Ryan Gonzales, Lawrence Hurt, Remington Hurt, and Felipe L. Sanchez III. In lieu of flowers, it was Newt’s wishes that donations go to the New Mexico State University Foundation (htts://www.nmsufoundation.org/ways-to-give.html) to support his interest in providing opportunities for higher education. A rosary will be held on Thursday, December 7, 2023 at 9:00 a.m., immediately followed by a Mass at 10:00 a.m., both at St. Rose of Lima Church in Santa Rosa, NM. Burial with military honors will follow the Mass at St. Rose of Lima Cemetery in Santa Rosa.
Services are under the direction of Chavez Funeral Home, 923 S. Third St., Santa Rosa, NM 88435. 575-472-3369. To place an online condolence or tribute, please visit www.chavezfuneralhome.com.