Surrounded by loving family and friends, Manuel Martin Archuleta passed peacefully on to eternal rest in his family home on main street Sunday, Aug. 6.
The last of the Archuleta brothers, Manuel was the great-grandson of J.M. Archuleta Sr., for whom the county was named. The Archuleta family has been influential in shaping Pagosa Country since its very inception. One of six children born to Lionel and Ruby (Gomez) Archuleta, Manuel was raised across the county that bears his name.
Born on Nov. 11, 1937, in Lumberton, N.M., Manuel later graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 1955. Manuel saw the world by serving our country with distinction as a member of the United States Navy. He had advanced A, B, C clearance and was trusted with atomic, biological and chemical training. He later returned to Pagosa, where he ran sheep, worked in the sawmill, was an electrician in the water diversion project in Chromo and eventually became a fixture of Pagosa’s iconic Silver Dollar Liquor, where he spent much of his time sharing his love of Pagosa with old-timers and newcomers alike.
In 1965, Manuel married and was blessed with three children, Martin, Ruby and Francine. Manuel was a wonderful father and grandfather. He traveled frequently to visit his family in California and his grandson, Johnathan, lived with and helped care for him in his later years. Always proud of his children and grandchildren, he would regale patrons with his family’s victories and exploits. They were the light of his life. He is survived by Francine and Ruby and his grandchildren, Sydney, Sinjin, Jonathan and Cierra.
Additionally, he adopted the Dach family when they moved to Pagosa in late 1979, helping them to learn how to become part of the community and teaching them the ways of the mountains. He was a surrogate grandfather to the Dachlings, Carla, Trish, Peter and Michael. He formally became a part of the family when the Dach’s youngest son was named Michael Manuel Dach and took on the role of Michael’s godfather. Pete has said that Manuel was “his best friend” for all of these years.
An old sheepherder at heart, Manuel took his legacy as an outdoorsman seriously. He spent much time in the high country hunting and fishing, and he was never happier than when he was working the family ranch south of town. No matter where life led him, Archuleta County always was and always will be his home.