Fred Muniz, 86, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, passed away after a lengthy illness on Wednesday, May 29th, 2019.
Fred was born in Rodarte, New Mexico to Eli Muniz and Pablita Maestas Muniz on March 10, 1933. A life-long learner, Fred's thirst for knowledge drove him far from Penasco, where he graduated High School, to Santa Fe, where he continued his education, earning a Bachelor's of Science in Accounting, and a Bachelor's degree in Spanish, from the College of Santa Fe. Fred then went on to earn a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master's degree in Spanish from the University of New Mexico/Albuquerque, where he also completed graduate work in Public Administration.
Even in his early years, Fred expected and demanded much from himself. He was awarded State and Local Government Fellowships, as well as the NDEA Fellowship, and maintained the Dean's list for most of his tenure at college. After college, Fred began carving his professional ascent. Early on, he served as the Vice President of Finance at New Mexico Highlands University. Following that, Fred became Budget Chief for the Department of Finance and Administration, where he assisted the Governor in preparing the Executive budget. While this position was responsible for many important operations, Fred's most crowning achievement was his role in developing a system for reorganizing a large number of agencies into a 13 cabinet level department. This was - at that time in the early 70's - the most extensive reorganization in the history of state government.
In 1978, Fred became Secretary of the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department. This position was Governor appointed, and as Chief Executive Officer of the department, Fred was charged with the duties of managing all operations, as well as to administer and enforce the laws with which the department was entrusted.
Always eager to keep learning, and challenging himself, Fred became Deputy Secretary for Finance in 1992. In this position, he played a very importance role for the children of Santa Fe, by directing development and implementation of the Child Support Enforcement system. In the later 90's, Fred served as independent contractor for several agencies, most notably, the New Mexico State Agency on Aging.
This brief history, which only lightly touches upon Fred's illustrious career, would not be complete without mention that Fred Muniz served under 5 governors in New Mexico. He took his career, his positions, the faith entrusted to him by the governors, and the state he loved and served, very seriously. Even after Fred retired, he never really retired, until it was no longer a choice. Just as He was fiercely focused on serving his city and state, which he profoundly loved and served, Fred also fiercely loved his daughters, Cara and Beca. When his grandsons came along, Fred couldn't have been prouder. He couldn't help but smile as he showed pictures and spoke of them.
When he wasn't working, Fred was an avid gardener. He created a green sanctuary behind his adobe walls, which he enjoyed tending to in the evenings. Every morning, until illness intervened, Fred hosted Lucky Varela for coffee and breakfast. The two friends carried this tradition for decades, and when Lucky got sick, Fred missed his friend and their lively discussions greatly. Now they have much to catch up on.
Fred leaves behind to mourn him: his daughters, Cara Chavez and Beca Muniz; grandchildren Phillip and Noah Chavez; son-in-law, John Chavez; sisters, Anita Muniz Subotich and Naomi Aguilar; sister-in-law, Karen Muniz; brother-in-law, Gilbert Aguilar; and many nieces and nephews who visited him regularly. Fred had many friends who stayed in touch with him until his death and the family is ever so thankful to all. Services will be held on Tuesday, June 11 at 10:00am at St. Anne Catholic Church in Santa Fe.