OUR STAFF

Johnny C. DeVargas –  Owner/Funeral Service Practitioner

Johnny C. DeVargas, founder and principal Funeral Director began his career in his early teens. Johnny has a passion for the work he does and recognized at a tender age that he wanted to devote his life in service to families during the most vulnerable time in a person’s life. At the age of 13, he began his apprenticeship and mentoring at the skilled guidance of a local funeral home owner. Johnny was soon identified as having the desire, empathy, people skills, and artistic talents necessary to succeed in this very specialized field. Johnny’s career experience spans over 40 years, primarily in the Española Valley and in Santa Fe. In humble beginnings, he founded DeVargas Funeral Home in March of 1999 in a very small structure, formerly the Forestry Service Building on the Los Alamos Highway in Española. Not long after, Johnny was blessed with realizing his dream of today’s more modern, larger and state-of-the-art facility. We are conveniently located in the heart of the Espanola Valley, we have 3 beautiful chapels to accommodate multiple services at the same time, an entire fleet of stately new vehicles, ample parking, and beautiful serene surroundings. DeVargas Funeral Home is proud to offer the Española Valley's newest crematory facility designed for comfort when witnessing is requested. Johnny has passed the New Mexico State Board of Thanatopractice and the National Conference of Examining Boards and is certified with both.

James Martinez - Funeral Service Intern

James Richard Martinez a native of the Española Valley.  He is a 1996 graduate of the Española Valley High School; James is a native of La Puebla.  Through a continuation of education he received a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from New Mexico State University in 2002.  Within the past 7 years he has obtained a position in the funeral industry part time by doing recovery calls and tending to families after hours.  He has recently converted to full time to take the steps to become a Funeral Service Practitioner.  Through obtaining his Funeral Service Intern Licensees in directing, arranging and embalming and continuing his education through mortuary schooling he will be assisting Johnny C. DeVargas and the DeVargas family in co-management by providing our families with the utmost care, compassion and professionalism needed at a time of loss.  His dedication to serving his community and surrounding areas with his compassionate personality will ensure the trust that your loved ones will be cared for and loved as one of our own.

Jason DeVargas - Assisting Manager

Jason DeVargas, son to Johnny C. DeVargas, is a lifelong resident of the beautiful Espanola Valley. With over 16 years of service to the Espanola Valley and other surrounding communities, Jason has worked alongside his father since the start of DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory and for several years prior. He has many years of extensive experience in the assurance of safety and equipment setup and maintenance for cemetery services, as well as vehicle, grounds and building maintenance. With more than 5 years of experience in management and quality assurance, Jason is currently co-managing DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory along with James Martinez.

 

Santiago (Jim) Salazar III – Funeral Service Practitioner

Santiago is a fully licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer with over 30 years experience in the funeral industry.  He has been employed with DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory since 2005.  Santiago is a Scholastic Achievement graduate of the Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service in Houston, TX and is licensed in three states including New Mexico.  He has also served as a clinical embalming preceptor or instructor with the Commonwealth Institute for 10 years.  He is a Vietnam era Veteran of the U.S. Air Force.  Santiago and his wife Linda are parishioners of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Ohkay Owingeh, where he is a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus, San Juan de Los Caballeros council 13684.

Michael S. Montoya - Funeral Service Intern

A native of the Española Valley, Michael served and retired from the Española Public Schools after 28 years of service.  He has been with DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory since its beginnings in 1999.  He began as a rosary attendant and assisting Mr. DeVargas with funeral services.  In February of 2002, he obtained and continues to maintain his Funeral Service Intern license through continuing education. Michael and his wife Connie are parishioners of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Ohkay Owingeh and for the past 6 years he has been actively involved with the Knights of Columbus and is currently the Deputy Grand Knight of Council 13684 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

 

Lorraine Vigil – Funeral Service Intern

Lorraine Vigil was born and raised in the Espanola Valley.   She has been a resident of Velarde, NM for 31 years, along with her husband Fidel Vigil, and their 3 children.  She takes great pride in working for and with her brother Johnny DeVargas, along with other DeVargas family members, and friends.  Prior to leaving her employment with Los Alamos National Laboratory after 30 years, she began as an evening service Attendant in 2002, and continued in this position for 4 years.   Needless to say, she became passionate and compassionate about the position, and chose to pursue it further by becoming a Licensed Funeral Service Intern, a position she has held for approximately 6 years.  She continues to maintain her license by continuing education.  Lorraine feels truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to minister to our grieving families and friends in our surrounding communities, and is here to serve.

Justin J. Salazar - Torrez – Funeral Service Intern

Justin J. Salazar -Torrez is a life long resident of the beautiful Española Valley. He is a 2009 graduate of the Espanola Valley High School. Through his high school years, Justin has always known there was a special calling on his life, and got the call in 2006 to begin a journey, with the Lord by his side, into what he likes to call his ministry. He has been in the funeral business since the age of 15. He started by doing night calls, evening and funeral services and clerical work. He just recently completed the training to become a Funeral Service Intern to meet with families, and is on his way to getting his General Supervision license as an Embalmer as well. He is a member and the Media Director of El Buen Pastor church here in Española. Justin has some Bible college credit and will be taking Mortuary Science classes, not only to better serve his community but also all of Northern New Mexico. He is dedicated to assisting you in your time of need with the utmost care, dignity, respect and compassion. 1 Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young, be an example to all believers, in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

Janel Ortiz - Office Manager

 

 

 

Janel Garcia - Administration

Staff continued
Michael S. Montoya – Funeral Service Intern
A native of the Española Valley, Michael served and retired from the Española Public Schools after 28 years of service.  He has been with DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory since its beginnings in 1999.  He began as a rosary attendant and assisting Mr. DeVargas with funeral services.  In February of 2002, he obtained and continues to maintain his Funeral Service Intern license through continuing education. Michael and his wife Connie are parishioners of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Ohkay Owingeh and for the past 6 years he has been actively involved with the Knights of Columbus and is currently the Deputy Grand Knight of Council 13684 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.  
Santiago (Jim) Salazar III – Funeral Service Practitioner
Santiago is a fully licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer with over 30 years experience in the funeral industry.  He has been employed with DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory since 2005.  Santiago is a Scholastic Achievement graduate of the Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service in Houston, TX and is licensed in three states including New Mexico.  He has also served as a clinical embalming preceptor or instructor with the Commonwealth Institute for 10 years.  He is a Vietnam era Veteran of the U.S. Air Force.  Santiago and his wife Linda are parishioners of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Ohkay Owingeh, where he is a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus, San Juan de Los Caballeros council 13684.  
Patricia Lopez – Funeral Home Chaplain
A native of the Española Valley, Patricia Lopez joined the team at DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory in December of 2009. Coming on board as the Funeral Home Chaplain, Patricia has been dedicated to assisting families and individuals who may be in need of after care grief support. Her professional goal is to offer the members of our community, as well as all surrounding communities, the utmost professional, quality and caring support and service.
EDUCATION:
15 years serving in Ministry
Received Ministerial Ordination, Pastoral Ordination and Clinical Pastoral Education at Fruit of the Spirit Ministries and Fruit of the Spirit Ministries School of Theology, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Received a BA in Christian Counseling through Signs and Wonders International School of Theology
Presently taking Continuing Education Classes towards her certification as a Board Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains
As our Chaplain, Patricia realizes that the journey that begins with the loss of a loved one is very challenging and difficult, and as a guidance councilor in grief support, it is her wish that people who are struggling in a time of mourning know that she is always here for you during this time to comfort you, to help you, to hold you, to pray with you; and to support you through your grieving process.
Curtis Martinez – Funeral Service Intern
A native of the Española Valley, Curtis Martinez began his funeral service career at the age of 14, with the help of the Española Valley High School, School to Work Program. He started employment with the DeVargas Family in May of 1999.  Curtis began his career as an administrative assistant, evening service attendant and also assisted with night call while earning credit for school and later becoming a full time employee.  Knowing funeral service was his love and passion he became licensed with the guidance of Johnny C. DeVargas. At the age of 18 he obtained and continues to hold licenses as a Funeral Service Intern with licenses in arranging, directing and embalming.  Curtis has over five years of experience as a crematory operator and has cared for and served many families in the Española, Santa Fe, Taos and many other surrounding communities.  Curtis has over 8 years of experience with the DeVargas Family, however, Curtis has been serving families of New Mexico for more than 11 years.
Gregory C. Medina – Funeral Service Intern/Pre-need Counselor
Gregory C. Medina was raised in the Chama Valley as well as the Española Valley. As a graduate of the Española Valley High School class of 1979, he continued his education by earning a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from the College of Santa Fe in 1997. His career in the Funeral Service Industry began in 1981, in the Española Valley where he has served many families of the community as well as other surrounding communities, including Santa Fe. With 3 years experience as a licensed Funeral Service Intern, Greg is dedicated to giving back to the community and is currently involved as a member of the Finance Council, and as an Acolyte at Holy Cross Catholic Church of Santa Cruz, where he has also taught religious education to the youth of the church. In addition he has also previously served as a board member for the Española Valley Women’s Shelter.
Justin J. Salazar – Funeral Service Intern
An Española Valley native, Justin J. Salazar is a 2009 graduate of the Espanola Valley High School. Through his high school years, Justin has always known there was a special calling in his life, Justin got the call in 2006 to begin a journey, with the Lord by his side, into what he likes to call his ministry.  He has been in the funeral business since the age of 15. He started by doing night calls, evening services and funeral services along with clerical work.  He has recently completed training to become a Funeral Service Intern to meet with families during the arrangement process and is on his way to getting his General Supervision license as an Embalmer as well.  He is a member of the Media Director of El Buen Pastor church of the Española Valley. Justin has received college credit in Biblical studies and is also making his way toward Mortuary Science classes, to not only better serve his native community but to provide dignified service to all surrounding communities as well.  He is dedicated to assisting you in your time of need, providing the utmost care, dignity, respect and compassion. Justin’s motivation: 1 Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young, be an example to all believers, in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 
Vincent R. Salazar – Funeral Service Intern
As a native resident of Velarde, Vincent Salazar, the proud son of David and Brenda Salazar,  is a class of 2004 McCurdy High School graduate. With over 5 years of dedicated and dignified service with DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory, Vincent has trained and become highly skilled in Funeral Service. Vincent is a licensed Funeral Service Intern, specializing in the art of preparation, embalming, arranging and directing funerals.  As a devoted member of his community and of the DeVargas Family, Vincent is dedicated and honored to assist you during your time of need.      
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