Santa Fe Living Treasures ‚Äď Elder Stories

<<Back to Treasures Index

 

Juan Quintana

GRATEFUL AMIDST ADVERSITY

Honored June, 1988

Juan Miguel Quintana

A poster of author/lecturer and friend Ram Dass hangs on the wall, a constant reminder that when Ram Dass is in town, he'll stop to visit. A nicho made by the loving hands of his Marnacita sits on a shelf. Music, his constant companion, plays softly.

Juan Quintana's home since 1990 has been his room at La Residencia, a facility he entered when his multiple sclerosis became so advanced that he required full-time care.

Born Juan Miguel Quintana in 1959 in Santa Fe, the middle child and first-born son of Conchita and Juan Quintana, Juan attended school at Salazar Elementary, De Vargas Junior High, and Santa Fe High School.

When President John Kennedy was assassinated, Conchita watched the news broadcasts and wept. "It happened in November during hunting season," she recalled. Several days before Kennedy was killed, the Quintana family had been discussing hunting season around the family dinner table. Juan was told that sometimes hunters think they see a deer and mistakenly shoot humans. As she sobbed for the President, little Juan put his arms around his mother and said, "Mom, don't cry. Maybe that man thought he was a deer."


Juan liked to help his mother with her tin work; he did the curling for her. In 1968, nine-year-old Juan explored every corner of the Smithsonian Institution while his mother demonstrated the art of tin smithing.

He grew interested in bicycles in his teen years and found a job at a bicycle shop. Although his father opposed the purchase, Juan saved $500 and bought himself a bicycle. He often rose early in the morning and rode to Tesuque or Glorieta.

Juan met his German wife, Dagmar Kupinski, in Roswell in 1978, while attending an anti-nuclear rally. The couple spent two years in Europe, and Juan became fluent in German. Their daughter, Bgorg, was born in 1980. Visits and letters from Bgorg, who lives in Washington, are a highlight of Juan's life, his mother said.

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.