Anselmo (Sam) Gutierrez, 72 years old
Our hearts were broken in the early morning hours of Saturday September 18, 2021 when Covid claimed the life of our beloved Sam. He was born on April 8, 1949 in Albuquerque, New Mexico to Rudolfo Gutierrez and Lena Martinez Gutierrez.
Sam was predeceased by his parents, his father in 1994 and his mother in 1956; his brother George William Gutierrez (Billy) and his sister Rose Gutierrez Velarde (Rosie) and his grandparents Epifanio Gutierrez, Agapita Aragon Gutierrez, Ramoncita Martinez and his favorite aunt Angelita Gutierrez Olivas.
Sam is survived by his chosen life partner, Emily Kalinauskas; his son Paul and his wife Ellen; his son Peter and his wife Julie and all his precious grandchildren who lost their Papo: Tiger, Lance, Emma, Paige, Ryder and Kylie. He is also survived by his sisters Judy Casaus (Ben), Gloria Dominguez (Manny) and brother Rudy (Annie), and was the Chunky uncle of 11 nieces and nephews and several great-nieces and nephews.
Sam was quite young when his mother fell very ill and was only 7 when his mother passed away. He and two of his siblings moved to live with his grandparents and aunt at the family ranch in La Jara, New Mexico. He lived with his father in Albuquerque for a short time and returned to La Jara. After graduating from high school in Cuba, he enlisted in the United States Army during the height of the Vietnam War and chose to enlist in the United States Air Force and served for 8 years at various Air Force bases in the United States and Thailand. Upon his return home, he enlisted in the New Mexico Air National Guard (The Tacos). One of the most intense moments was when he stood in front of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington DC, touching the names of the 8 crew members lost in one day when they lost a plane overhead from Cambodia. He made many lifelong friendships with all of his Air Force and Guard comrades.
He was the most creative, kind, warm, generous, and magnetic personality most people had ever met. Sam had an infectious smile and laugh and gave the most wonderful hugs (when he hugged you you knew you had been hugged). He would grab your cheeks with those wonderfully rough hands that we all inherited from our mother and that you just loved. Everyone was looking for him and he was always surrounded by his family and many friends.
Over the course of his life he was dealing with a lot of things, so curious that he would always make something with his hands (those wonderful scratching hands) or invent the next exciting thing, so creative and amazing. He was a wonderful father, talented artist, jeweler, business owner and in many other businesses, but he found his true joy when he left Albuquerque to take over the management of the family ranch in La Jara and become the guardian of his aunt Angelita until her death. . He was a cattle rancher, but he loved all of his big, monstrous machines and you could always find him on top of something digging or digging holes. He single-handedly built his beautiful and peaceful lakes and seeded them so that anyone who wanted to could enjoy fishing.
Sam left us far too soon and he leaves his whole family behind to miss him. We wish we could have had it longer; his death did not have to be. Covid is ruthless and deadly and the pain of the loss is very, very real. Private family-only services will take place. Sam loved his country was a proud Vietnam veteran and patriot and he will rest in Santa Fe National Cemetery at a later date. The family are hoping to be able to organize a big celebration of their life next summer on their La Jara lakes with all of their friends and family who can attend. To view information or leave condolences, please visit
Published by Albuquerque Journal on October 3, 2021.