Bill J. Padilla ‘BJ’ Jr.


Bill J. Padilla “BJ” Jr., beloved husband and father, passed away Tuesday, July 17, in Pagosa Springs. Padilla was born in Albuquerque N.M., on Feb. 10, 1951, to Michele and Bill Padilla Sr. and was the eldest brother of five. Excelling in high school, he attended Boys State and lettered in wrestling in addition to football.
Bill won a full scholarship to college, but served in the U.S. Navy, becoming a cryptologist (codebreaker). In 1970, he met the love of his life, Karen Ann, on the island of Guam. Wearing many hats, he worked hard supporting his family as a construction contractor, security guard, realtor, locksmith and a handyman. His love of helping people led him to a service job as a Los Alamos police officer. Thriving at police work, he became the head of public relations in the Santa Fe police department. Bill J. saved many lives and delivered three babies in his lifetime.
Many in the town of Pagosa Springs knew him as Coach because he coached football at Pagosa high, helping his team go to the state championships. Padilla owned the local business Star Video and Gym where he worked as a certified personal trainer and VCR technician.
In 1999, Bill was diagnosed with a life-threatening tumor in his brain. Thirteen hours of brain surgery left him disabled for the rest of his life. Pure determination and willpower helped him to relearn to walk, talk and eat.
B.J. was an avid fisherman, played trombone in the Navy band, crafted homemade beer, traveled the U.S., and he was an excellent photographer.
Padilla was always willing to give a helping hand with money or labor, finding solutions for any problems around him. You could often see him on his lawnmower or tractor plowing snow from the neighbors’ yards or hauling his grandchildren around. Bill was funny, smart, strong, charismatic and a hero to many. Putting his family first, he lived by his core values. His strong perseverance in life taught his family that it is not enough to just show up, you must try your best and you can do anything you put your mind to. We will always love him and strive to fill his larger-than-life shoes as we love his legacy of grandchildren he left behind. Rest in peace, Bill J. Padilla, you were a legend.
Bill J. is predeceased by his parents, Bill and Michele Padilla; his mother in-law, Patsy Corrine Abner; and sons Brian and Derek Padilla. Bill J. is survived by his wife, Karen Padilla; siblings Kathleen and Michael Sanchez, Robert and Suzanne Padilla, John Padilla, Karen and Mervin Sr. Martinez, and Jody Neely. Bill is survived by his children, Sean and Fionna Padilla, Melissa Padilla and Steven Solis, Desire and David Smith, Carlos Padilla and Sara Shively-Padilla; his grandchildren, Miquela Padilla, Zoe Smith, Eli Smith, Maxine Padilla, Gabriela Padilla and a baby girl Padilla due in September. Bill is also survived by many wonderful aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, extended Hawaiian family and countless lifelong friends. Services will be privately held next year.