Honored October, 2016
You may have heard about him playing traditional Spanish songs on his violin in a Mariachi band, or remember him from his days as a county commissioner, or as an entrepreneur and businessman, or a beloved family man.
Rudy Rodriguez is a true Santa Fe native. His family roots go back to the 1700s. His father, Pedro was a barber, weaver, and musician who was born and raised in the house his grandfather, Cipriano, built at 616 Canyon Road when the area was one of small truck farms, gardens and ranchitos.
Rudy was a self made man, one of the original Santa Fe voices. A friend wrote, “Although he never obtained a formal college education, he accomplished more in a life than many individuals that had the opportunity to attend prestigious universities.” He has been an inspiration to the growth and development of our city.
Rudy was a creative and active businessman. In 1963 he founded The Santa Fe News, a local weekly newspaper, now the award winning Santa Fe Reporter. Automobiles were a passion; he got his dealer’s license so he could buy automobiles at auctions, and then resell them. He became a real estate investor, got his contractor’s license and built homes. He and a friend founded the Casita Mortgage Company, which for 20 years gave residents of Santa Fe and surrounding communities the ability to purchase or refinance their real estate needs. The company expanded to several branches in New Mexico, and currently is run by is a son, and going strong. A pioneer and on the cutting edge of new opportunities, Rudy created Casas de Guadalupe, one of Santa Fe’s first vacation rental by owner. In all of Rudy’s business dealings, customer satisfaction was very important. His integrity was the foundation in all he did.
During one of his several terms as a Santa Fe County Commissioner, the El Dorado subdivision was approved.
Rudy has been involved with the Downtown Optimist Club, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Santa Fe Elks Lodge, the Radio and Advertising Club, and the 20-30 Club which organizes special events for the annual fiesta in Santa Fe, and in particular the assembly and burning of Zozobra.
Rudy is a devout Christian. He was the president of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship and was involved in starting the first Christian TV station in Santa Fe. Rudy has helped Mexican American churches get started in Mexico and at home and has helped provide food and shelter for the homeless.
In 2000 Rudy survived being hit broadside by a train engine. What would have killed most people, made Rudy even more determined to recover. No brain injuries were sustained, and he regained full recovery.
Rudy and his wife Georgia have been married for 66 years; they raised nine children and now are proud to have 19 grandchildren, 21 great- grandchildren, and soon will have a great-great-grandchild.
Their daughter, Elisa describer her father as “One of the most modest people I have ever known…An affectionate and humorous man…A father who teaches with ease by example and a mentor who loves unconditionally. She adds “May your days be filled with the love and delight you give to all of us.”
The following testimonials from his men friends further reflect the essence of Rudy:
“Rudy is an inspiration, a friend, a mentor and an active member of the Santa Fe community.”
“I’ve grown to love and admire him as a friend, and respect him for his integrity as a person. He is one of the most generous people I have ever met.”
“He has served his family as a good husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. This is a virtue we men would all want to leave our children and community.”
“Rudy represents the very fabric of Santa Fe. He has spent a whole lifetime contributing to the value of life here, in many ways. Here, there, and everywhere, he has served his community and made many gifts. People such as this make and keep Santa Fe strong.”
Story by Nancy Dahl
Photo © 2016 by Genevieve Russell