School 31

Thomas Anthony Ortiz

November 25, 1938 ~ September 6, 2020 (age 81)


With broken hearts and immense grief, we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend, Thomas A. Ortiz, a lifelong resident of Santa Fe.  He was born on November 25, 1938, to the late Ignacio and Eduvigen Ortiz.  Proceeding him in death was his precious and adored daughter, Jennifer Ortiz Vigil; his parents-in-law, Enriquez and Rosemarie Serrano; brothers and sisters-in-law, Paschall Arthur Wickard, Henry and Evila Serrano, and Lorraine Serrano.  He is survived by his loving family, wife, Lydia; son, Thom; son-in-law, Chris Vigil; and cherished grandchildren, Christiana Rose and Gavin.  He is also survived by his siblings, Rosemary Wickard, Helen Yackel (Larry), Leroy (Dora), David (Delia), John (Sandra); his brothers and sisters-in-law, Patsy Herrera, Jeannie Padilla, Gilbert Serrano (Carmen) and Jim Serrano.  He leaves behind many nephews, nieces, cousins, and long-time friends in Santa Fe and Rio Mirage, California, where they lived part-time for many years after they retired.

Thomas was educated in Santa Fe, at the Guadalupe Elementary School and St. Michael’s High School, graduating in 1957.  He did his military service with the US Army Reserves and soon after attended NM State University where he graduated with a BS in Civil Engineering.  He went to work with the NM Highway Department as a Traffic Engineer and later worked with the City, County, State and federal Governments where he held managerial positions such as City Engineer, County Engineer, Public works Director, city Manager, Energy Resource Development Director, to name a few.  Later, he went into private practice as a co-founder of Tierra Engineering, a full service surveying and engineering firm.  He was active in professional affiliations such as the Professional Engineers and Surveyors Association and was on the NM Board of Professional Engineers for 10 years.  He also served on the Finance Committee of the Christus St. Vincent’s Hospital.

After selling Tierra Engineering and not quite ready to retire, he became a licensed Real Estate Broker and with his wife Lydia, developed a keen interest in buying, refurbishing and selling real Estate in New Mexico and California, which they found challenging and rewarding.  They also enjoyed their retirement years playing tennis and golf in Rancho Mirage, CA, during the winter months and when they returned to Santa Fe. 

Family was extremely important to him and it was with family where he felt most comfortable enjoying lively and controversial discussions with his brothers and sisters and children during their monthly breakfast gatherings.  Those were fun, warm gatherings where family connections were firmly bonded and which everyone fully enjoyed.

Tom was a kind, gentle, and generous man with a keen, bright, analytical mind and a fun, quick wit that entertained and amused family and friends.  He was a lifelong learner, an avid reader of world and historical events with special interest in financial affairs.  He also enjoyed reading about NM families and their descendants with interest in learning more about the Ortiz family origins.  A 20 year business associate and good friend wrote about his life in this manner: “You lived your life with lots of wonderful adventures and you left your mark with wonderful people who will never forget you.”  That was a sentiment echoed often after out announcement of his passing by many of his friends, family and acquaintances.

Our Cherished family leader, mentor and confidant leaves a deep empty space in our hearts.  We wish him God speed and “Que Via Con Dios,” our beloved Tom.

If you so wish, in lieu of flowers, and in Tom’s memory you may donate to The Santa Fe Community Foundation, a foundation working for the betterment of Northern New Mexicans since 1981.  Address: PO Box 1827, Santa Fe, NM 87504-7821, website

Services will be held at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, on Friday, September 11, 2020 at 10:00 AM.  Due to Covid restrictions, a celebration of his life will be held at a later date where all can gather safely.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thomas Anthony Ortiz, please visit our floral store.


Mass of Christian Burial
September 11, 2020

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
131 Cathedral Place
Santa Fe, NM 87501


The Santa Fe Community Foundation
PO Box 1827, Santa Fe NM 87504
Tel: 1-505-988-9715

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