Send Flowers | Send Card
Luis Leandro Atencio
Born February 27, 1925, passed on to eternal life on July 27, 2011. Luis was born, and died peacefully in the more-than-a-century old family home in Santo Nino after a long illness. Born to Vicente Atencio and Noberta Roybal Atencio, Luis was the youngest of eight children. Mr. Atencio was the last surviving Atencio from his generation of Atencios.
Mr. Atencio is survived by his children, Lorenzo Atencio, Pedro (Diane) Atencio, Dorothy Maestas, Olga Garcia, Maria Atencio, Chris (Marcella) Atencio, Jose (Alicia) Atencio, Angela (James) Sanchez and Ralph (Julie) Atencio. Luis is also survived by sixteen grandchildren and nineteen great grandchildren. Additional survivors include, brothers-in-law Apolinar (Mary) Torres, Andres (Gloria) Torres, and sisters-in-law Clara Pedroza and Teresa (Hector) Bojorquez, also numerous nephews, nieces, extended family and close friends.
Luis L. Atencio was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Frances Torres Atencio, daughter, Anna Marie; granddaughter Anna Marie Atencio, grandson Rafael A. Atencio and son-in-law Eugene L. Garcia. He was also predeceased by his brothers Marcial and wife Frances, Norberto and wife Manuela, sister Lola A. Salazar and husband Ismael as well as four siblings who died in infancy. His mother-in-law Lydia Torres and father-in-law Rafael Torres, and Frances’ brothers Edward and Rafael Torres and sister Evelyn also preceded him in death.
Luis L. Atencio lived most of his life in the Espanola Valley with the exception of two short time periods, one in which he met his wife Frances in Miami, Arizona, while he worked in the copper mines. His second reason for leaving was to work in California in the war effort. There he reunited with Frances who had also moved to California and after their marriage in 1946, the couple returned to the family home in the Espanola Valley where they lived for 60 years raising their family.
Luis never punched a clock after returning from California. He owned and operated his own trucking business during the construction of Los Alamos National Laboratory. He became a licensed master plumber and worked for several years operating his own business, Valley Plumbing and Heating in the late 50’s and early 60’s. He recognized the uniqueness of Frances’ ingenuity in combining Northern New Mexican and Mexican traditional dishes to create award-winning recipes. In 1958 he set up a temporary home business selling tamales and tacos under a picnic umbrella which would create the logo/trademark of the umbrella for El Paragua and El Parasol Restaurants, now well known in a three county area. Luis expanded the idea of the patio umbrella by modestly transforming a camper trailer into The Taco Wagon, with an extended menu it became a popular eatery for the Espanola Valley residents.
Frances was recognized for her culinary expertise while Luis had an eye for architecture and design. In 1966 he used his father’s tack room as the inspiration to create and design the charming atmosphere of El Paragua Restaurant. He had a keen eye for discovering antiques and remodeling in a unique and creative manner. His latest endeavor was to build and dedicate a chapel to Nuestra Senora de San Juan de los Lagos in Arroyo Seco. Like his other designs, it uses natural rock and natural landscaping to incorporate the local culture and architecture.
Luis felt at ease hosting and welcoming restaurant patrons with northern New Mexico hospitality as if they were eating in his own home. People from all walks of life became his personal friends, among them famous writers, artists, scientists, dignitaries, movie stars and politicians. People would invite him everywhere. For example, getting invited to fly in the Concord supersonic passenger jet or the time he and N. Scott Momaday drove to Juarez, Mexico to have Boquilla Pescado ala Parrilla at La Fogata
He was proud to hang many photos throughout the restaurant, which remind the family of his gift for befriending people. Luis and Frances established a tradition of feeding the entire community to celebrate the feast of Santo Nino de Atocha. Following the example set by Luis and Frances, the Atencio Family has included in their mission to support the community through donations and contributions of food. A man with a vision and a passion for building , created a business that is now operated by third generation Atencios.
Luis was a man of dreams. But he did not just dream, he also was a man of action. Luis always had an enthusiasm for life and for living life. Luis had a natural talent for analyzing a situation and getting to the bottom line. He had a natural ability, some called wisdom, to look through the trees and see the truth. He could not stand being bored which made people want to be with him and talk to him. Luis always knew exactly what he wanted and his will was strong and deep.
Funeral services for Luis L. Atencio included a Rosary and visitation held at Santa Cruz de la Canada Catholic Church on July 29, 2011. Rite of Christian Burial was celebrated at Santa Cruz de la Canada Catholic Church on July 30, 2011. Interment was immediately followed at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery. Serving, as pallbearers are Luis’s grandsons, Jeff, Andrew, Miguel, Mario, Javier, Joey, Gabriel and Christopher Atencio.
Honorary pallbearers are Lorenzo “Chito” Munoz, Dr. Lindy Akes, Michael Vigil, Martin Nava, Jerry, Bobby, Gilbert and Johnny Atencio