Longtime Las Vegas, N.M. political leader
SANTA FE, OCT. 14, 1996 — A Las Vegas,
N.M., political leader, Bataan prison camp survivor and former
police chief died Saturday evening after he was hit by a car on
Interstate 25 south of Las Vegas.
Adolfo Garduno, 75, former chairman of the San
Miguel County Republican Party and a retired state Tax and
Revenue Department employee, was also well-known for the quarter
horses he raced at The Downs of Santa Fe.
“He was a true gentleman, a man with high
conviction,” former state legislator and former Las Vegas Mayor
Alfred Nelson said, recalling the times Garduno called him on
election night. “He would always be there for you. He would be
the man you would want at your side always.”
Garduno and his wife Rosine were out for their
usual weekend afternoon drive when Garduno apparently spotted
something and stopped their truck on Interstate 25, one of his
sons said Sunday.
Garduno stepped out of his truck and was hit by
a passing car, his son Wilfred Garduno said, adding that his
mother has been too upset to talk about why they stopped on the
State police had only partial information
available on the crash Sunday.
Garduno was wearing dark clothing and crossing
the southbound lanes at 7:04 p.m. when a 1991 Chevrolet
Celebrity came around the curve and hit him, sending him over
the car and onto the embankment, state police Sgt. Dennis Brown
said. Garduno was killed instantly, Brown said.
The driver was unable to see Garduno, Brown
said. He had no information on whether the driver was cited in
the crash. State police do not believe alcohol was involved.
Garduno is survived by his wife Rosine, three
sons, Wilfred, Gerald and Lawrence; two daughters, Louella
Rodriguez and Kathy Garduno; two adopted sons, Lupe Garduno and
Teno Ortiz; and 11 grandchildren.
He was born in the small town of Chaperito near
Las Vegas. At age 20, he was sent to the Philippines in World
War II as a member of the U.S. Army Coast Artillery, his son
He was taken prisoner by the Japanese in 1942
and left for dead in the “morgue” room of a prison camp
hospital, his son Wilfred Garduno said.
Adolfo Garduno survived, was rescued after 3
years in the camp and returned to Las Vegas, N.M., to be
reunited with his wife and the first of his children.
Garduno went on to become Las Vegas town clerk
and police chief.
He has stayed in Las Vegas since he retired
from state government in the 1970s, his son Wilfred Garduno
said. “He always said, ‘Why go anywhere when you have it all
A Rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. Wednesday at
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Las Vegas. A Mass will be
held Thursday at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church. The Mass
time is still pending. Adolfo Garduno will be buried at the
National Cemetery in Santa Fe. Arrangements are under the
direction of the Nelson Funeral Home, 425-6551.