Jose Santiago (Jim) Barela was born in Costilla, NM on August 12, 1937 to Joe Casimiro and Stella (Santistevan) Barela. He was the second-born child of 13 siblings. His brothers were Casimiro Jr. (d), Daniel LeRoy (Vela), Eugene, Lawrence (d), Richard (d), Robert [Nancy, (d)], and Dave Sanchez (d); his sisters were Teresa, Cat Jasdewski [S.K. (d)], Delores (d), Doris Barela (Jim Gonzales), Lorraine (d), and Stella French [Hugh (d)]. Jim met the love of his life [Martha Romero (d)] as a young boy; they eventually married and had six children, all who survive him; Donna Barela Rodriguez (Tuco Miller), Vivian Martinez (Danny Baty), Susan (Max) Aguirre, Jim (Sonny) Barela (Jenni Behringer), Penny (Greg) Adkins, Doug (Danette) Barela, and son-in-law John Rodriguez. He was predeceased by his wife, Martha; son-in-law Mike (Hoss) Ross; parents Joe and Stella; and great-grandchildren Cherokee Barela and Zoe Tenorio. Jim was a master mechanic and a custom car fabricator. A car show and swap meet enthusiast, he was well known on the car show circuit. A co-founder of the Twin Peaks Rodders Club in Walsenburg, it is estimated Jim built over 20 custom cars. They were his life’s passion (after his family), a trait he has passed on to his sons. Jim was also a local businessman, having owned and operated, with his wife,
Martha, South Main Chevron and Jim’s Car Care. Early in his career, he worked for the White Front Garage, Santi Motors, Price Wrecker and Radiator (with his brother, Laurence) and also as a shuttle car operator at the Allen Mine near Trinidad. He was a great hunter, loved to go camping and fishing with family, and was a great Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies fan. He loved animals of all kinds; his final two friends were Tiny and Duke, his “he’s so ugly, he’s cute” long-haired Chihuahua and his German Shepherd. Jim is survived by six children, 17 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren and one great, great-granddaughter. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend. His final wish was to be cremated and then taken for one last ride with his wife in his favorite custom car. A final tribute from family and friends was the parade of 18 custom cars that gave him his final ride from the Church of Christ on Walsen Ave., down Main Street, up 7th Street and then back to the North St. Mary Cemetery. It was a great send-off for a great man. Burial was on July 3, 2015 with arrangements through Boies-Ortega Funeral Home.