Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Amarante Romero

Honored October, 2009

Amarante Romero

Kind, persevering, hard working, bold, diligent, giving, and an astute business man--from humble beginnings in the village of Agua Fria, Amarante Romero never let an eighth grade education hold him back.As a teenager Amarante worked cattle and farmed on the family land in what was then rural Agua Fria.

He sold wood in Santa Fe, that he brought in from the mountains.  His Romero Grocery Store and Gas Station, built from adobes he made by hand, was the community meeting place. Amarante generously extended credit to  customers  who in desperate times would not otherwise be able to feed their families.   He provided water to residents of Agua Fria Village when he had his own well.  On several occasions when water for the community system was threatened to be shut off, Amarante paid the bill--satisfied to be reimbursed later. Politicians frequented the Romero store as a place to campaign.  Former Governor Bruce King used Amarante as his Spanish language translator and interpreter.Amarante worked as a water well driller.  He loved the land, and knew the true value of water.

His goal was always to protect ground water and help find solutions for the increased water usage created by developments in the city and county. For thirty-five years he helped city/county committees and task forces create codes and regulations. He drafted the Santa Fe County land use development code  which set development densities based on the availability of water and other important environmental factors.  He was also involved in the formation of the Santa Fe County Water Company.  No wonder Amarante is known as the Water Man

Amarante helped create the county Family Transfer ordinance that allowed families to transfer their land to their children--one of the first affordable housing programs.  As a member of the City County Planning Commission, Amarante’s efforts were instrumental in creating the Agua Fria Village cemetary, park, fire station, family clinic, and community center.

Amarante’s son in law, Francisco Tercero, wrote, “Amarante has been a role model to me and many others.  He has a way of inspiring people to become all they can be, and to become involved in community affairs and issues that affect us... his dedication to his family and his community and his love for life have been a great example to us all.”

Story by Margaret Wood

Photo © 2009 by Genevieve Russell