Selestino Joe Lovato, 87 of Fort Sumner, NM passed away peacefully in the early morning hours on Monday, May 18, 2020 at Retirement Ranch of Clovis following a short illness. Joe was born June 21, 1932 in Yeso, NM to the home of Juan R. and Tomasita (Aragon) Lovato. He attended schools in Yeso and graduated from Fort Sumner High School in 1951. Following his high school graduation Joe enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on June 30, 1951. Joe married Mary T. Gonzales on March 6, 1954 in Fort Sumner. Joe’s Air Force occupation included Aircraft Mechanic, Electrician, and Quality Control of aircraft inspections. Joe retired from the Air Force in 1971. That same year he entered the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science where he received his mortuary science degree. Joe became a licensed funeral director and embalmer in Texas and New Mexico. Joe worked for funeral homes in Dallas, Ballinger, and El Paso before moving to New Mexico where he worked for funeral homes in Santa Fe, and Albuquerque, before joining the staff at Chavez Funeral Home in Santa Rosa. Following Joe’s retirement in 1994, they made their home in Fort Sumner. Joe was an active member of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church while living in Santa Rosa. He was a longtime member and a 4th Degree of the Knights of Columbus. He was a member of the American Legion. Joe and Mary enjoyed preparing and serving dinners for local veterans. He was a past member of Lions Club, and Rotary Club. Joe served two, four year, terms on the Fort Sumner Village Council. Mary T. Lovato preceded Joe in death on April 30, 2011. On February 15, 2017 Joe married Mary Whelchel at the Chavez Funeral Home Chapel in Fort Sumner. The marriage was blessed at St. Anthony Catholic Church on March 25, 2017. Joe and Mary attended church at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church Mission in Melrose for the past two years. Joe’s hobbies included woodworking, cooking, and making rosaries. He enjoyed visiting and having coffee with his friends at Dariland and Addison Drug Store. Joe is preceded in death by his parents, and his wife Mary T. Lovato. Survivors include his wife Mary L. Lovato of the home in Fort Sumner, two sons, John Lovato and wife Amy of Taylorville, Utah, Tony Lovato of Tempe, AZ, and a daughter Nancy Weisner of Grand Prarie, TX, a brother Juan Lovato and wife Betty of Albuquerque. Four grandchildren Tammy, Jenee, Elijah, and Antonio, two great-grandchildren Mariah and Charnelle, and one great-great-granddaughter Kylie. Other survivors include Mary’s family, sons Bill Whelchel and wife Kim of Rio Rancho, Daniel Whelchel and wife Crystal of Albuquerque, and a daughter Shirley Grant and husband David of Spokane, WA along with a host of other relatives and many friends. Visitation hours for friends and family will be Thursday, May 21, 2020 from 1pm to 5pm at the Chavez Funeral Home in Fort Sumner. A prayer service was held at 7:00 pm, Thursday in the Chavez Funeral Home Chapel with Father Sotero Sena leading the service. Interment will at 11:00 am be on Friday, May 22, 2020 at the Santa Fe National Cemetery. National Cemetery rules, at this time, only allow five family members to witness the burial. We ask that you continue to keep Joe’s family in your prayers. Please leave a note of condolence, or share a favorite memory when you sign Joe’s online guestbook. www.chavezfuneralhome.com Arrangements are under the direction of Chavez Funeral Home, 830 N. Fifth Street, Fort Sumner, New Mexico. (575) 355-2311.