Reuben A. Pacheco returned to heaven on June 7, 2017. He was born Sept. 6, 1933, to Alberto and Margaret Pacheco of Taos, New Mexico.
He was the first of five children and attended primary schools in Taos and San Francisco, California. While attending Taos High School, he found his life passion for woodworking, started courting his high school sweetheart — Josefa “Pepe” Martinez — and took on part-time work as a gas attendant and taxi driver.
In January 1951, he and his father were en route to San Francisco, California, in search of employment and stopped in Tooele, Utah, to visit an uncle. The Korean War had recently begun and he and his dad immediately found employment with Tooele Ordnance Depot. They decided to “stay for a while,” unknowingly establishing Tooele as “home” for the Pacheco family.
In April of that year, Reuben went to Taos to bring back his mother, brother and sister. In August, he again returned to New Mexico, this time marrying Josefa in the iconic San Francisco de Asis Mission Church in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico.
Upon returning to Tooele, they lived in an apartment in Tooele Army Depot (TAD) Park, then in Tooele’s “New Town” area, and finally bought land in Pine Canyon (Lincoln), where they built an adobe home in which he and Josefa remained until his passing.
Reuben and Josefa (Pepe) had 12 children, 25 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchidren, and one great-great-grandson. His “family” expands way beyond his children, his siblings and their children that number in excess of 180. He lovingly became known as “Dad,” Tio/“Uncle” and “Grandpa” to countless spouses with significant others, children and friends.
From a very young age, Reuben took on leadership roles and leaves a legacy of working tirelessly for others in his church, at Tooele Army Depot, and in countless civic and social rights issues. Highlights of his community service include forming the Family Benefit Association (FBA), serving as an advocate/ombudsman for Tooele’s Spanish-speaking community during the challenging times of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, and creating SOCIO (Spanish-Speaking Organization for Community Integrity and Opportunity).
Reuben’s leadership led to key roles, such as an active member of the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) at Tooele Army Depot and serving as an advisor on Utah Gov. Calvin Rampton’s Board for Spanish-Speaking Affairs. In 1976, he was named “Chicano of the Year.”
Reuben was employed for 33 years at Tooele Army Depot, with the bulk of his employment in the facilities division’s carpentry shop, where he was shop supervisor. He was very proud of his office — one many throughout the depot envied. After hours, Reuben remodeled homes and businesses throughout Tooele County. He performed business under the name of Pine Canyon Custom Shop.
Reuben specialized in kitchens with formica finishes and hand carving. Today, his home features a front door and kitchen cabinets with roses carved into the wood. Reuben was widely known as a “Jack of all trades,” capable of doing a wide variety of skilled professional work and willing to lend a hand or a tool. He continued operating the business through 2017. Just recently, he actually retired and took up and really enjoyed it, fishing with friends.
Reuben lived an active social life, continually visiting friends and family at all hours of the day and was known for gathering fruits and vegetables and then returning with homemade jelly or chili.
Reuben was the patriarch of the Pacheco family. He loved his family very much and enjoyed spending time with them — especially in the home and in “The Shop.” He was quite the character — always telling stories and jokes, giving individuals unique nicknames and sometimes chastising others with a stern tone that disguised his caring character. He is most widely known for offering all visitors hot cocoa, peanuts, tortillas, chile or beans. He even had his own nicknames of “Robin Hood” and “Mayor of Pine Canyon.”
Most recently, it was brought to light that Reuben did a short term of military service and received an honorary discharge from the U.S. Coast Guard.
Reuben was a proud member of the Catholic Church and frequently talked of his primary education at Sacred Heart Academy in San Francisco. As a parishioner of St. Marguerite’s in Tooele, he helped establish the concept of ushers, assisted in building the current church structure, facilitated larger remodeling and painting of the parish halls, and built special spaces for the statue of Saint Marguerite Mary and the grotto for the Our Lady of Guadalupe statue.
Reuben is survived by his wife, Josefa “Pepe”; children: George (Anita), Dennis, Kathy (Johnny) Archuleta, MaryAnn, Jeff, Gilbert, Daniel, Janet (Chris) Trujillo, Rowena, Christy (Jeff) Salandi and Ruby (Keith) Larsen. He is also survived by brothers Robert “Pepo” and Alex (Debra), and sister Elsie. Reuben was preceded in death by parents Alberto and Margaret Pacheco, sister Orlinda Cordova, son James (Jimi) Pacheco and grandson Anthony Graham.
A funeral mass will be celebrated Wednesday, June 14, 2017, at 11 a.m. at St. Marguerite’s Catholic Church in Tooele, Utah 84074. Friends may visit one hour prior to the mass as well as during the viewing Tuesday, June 13, 2017, from 6-8 p.m. where the Holy Rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. Burial will be in the Tooele City Cemetery.
Donations can be made to the “Pacheco Family Fund” in person at Chartway Credit Union or by mail at P.O. Box 564, Tooele, Utah 84074 or at 566 N. Ericson Road, Tooele, Utah 84074. Condolences can be offered to Josefa at 435-882-0699 and Daniel at 801-244-2048.