The funeral for my dear friend J. Paul Taylor will be held today just off the Mesilla plaza, five miles south of Las Cruces. The service will take place at San Albino church where Paul and his family worshipped for more than seventy-five years. At the time of his death Paul was a regent for the Museum of New Mexico. It was a board meeting on Janaury 20th that got Paul up to Santa Fe. For the past decade I had a dinner party for Paul when he came up for his board meetings. Although Paul was losing his eyesight, his mind was sharp as a tack. Today would have been Paul’s 102 and one-half birthday!
A Force in Southern New Mexico
Paul was the Associate Superintendent of Schools for the Las Cruces Public Schools for thirty-seven years. During that time he brought bilingual education to southern New Mexico. Once he retired from education, he served in the House of Representatives for Doña Ana county for nineteen years. During his legislative tenure Paul brought many improvements to the state including the creation of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Early Childhood programming to New Mexico.
Family Legacy Along the Santa Fe Trail
J. Paul Taylor’s mother, Margarita Romero y López, was born in 1881 in Romeroville, New Mexico, to one of the wealthiest families in the region. In the early 1800s her family worked in the livestock business. Later they changed their focus to freight and merchandise and traded along the Santa Fe Trail. Miguel Romero y Baca, Margarita’s grandfather, was born in 1798 on the family estate east of Santa Fe, presently known as El Rancho de las Golondrinas.