The man with the ready smile, Martin “Larry” Torrez Jr. closed the book on his epic life story to meet and have a toast with his Maker on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. Larry’s life story began 84 years ago in the beautiful Hondo Valley. He had many adventures growing up amongst the picturesque Hondo hills - playing in the acequias, honing his storytelling skills while sitting around with family, sharing traditional New Mexican meals with a constant stream of loved ones, working in the fruit orchards with his father, playing basketball for the Hondo Eagles, making unmentionable memories with his many friends, and chasing the love of his life, Dorothy Jean. Larry’s basketball skills scored him a full-ride athletic scholarship to St. Michael’s College in Santa Fe. Though he loved basketball, it could not amount to the love he had for Dorothy and they began their life together in 1956 shifting his story forever.
This chapter of his story brought them to Roswell where both his family and professional endeavors grew. He worked for National Cash Register allowing him and his young family to travel to Dayton, Ohio and Santa Rosa, California to further his education in the industry. After many years of working for NCR, supporting a wife and five children, and mastering his trade, he was able to open his own business, Southeastern Cash Register. His hard work ethic, reliability, and personable touch proved to make a successful business that is still being carried on by his youngest son, Matthew. Larry never missed an opportunity, deal, project, or chance to “share” his advice. This led him to partnering with his oldest son, Marty, in opening a traditional New Mexican restaurant, Martin’s Capitol Cafe, where his biggest contribution was delegating, drinking coffee, eating good food, and laughing with the many people and faces in the ever-revolving door. He loved giving his consejos and sharing dichos about faith with his oldest daughter Henriette. He was the Chief onion chopper while cooking with D’Ette, his second daughter, shopping partner, and fashion consultant. Larry was the mastermind of schemes while traveling and joking with his youngest daughter, Yvette. As his story evolved and his family grew, Larry loved raising a copita with his sons-in-law, Mark and Ron, sharing heart-to-hearts with son-in-law, Hank, praying with his daughter-in-law, Cathy and chatting on the phone with daughter-in-law Cindy. Grampo lived for taking all the grandkids to the Valley and watching them run and play in the pastures, teaching them how to drive the tractor, cook, snipe hunt, and scared them with stories of the “Horn Man” and “La Llorona.” Most of all, Larry loved sitting on the porch at Rancho de Abajo with Dorothy by his side.
Though he was a businessman, he kept his hands dirty in the Hondo soil where he instilled the love of the area in his children, and eventually grandchildren, through raising cows and growing lavish orchards and gardens. Larry was a warm face at the farmers’ market on Main Street every weekend for many years. The Hondo Valley never left Larry’s heart and much of his time was spent there growing his Catholic faith and celebrating many family parties, graduations, weddings, holidays. It was at Rancho de Abajo, that he created these stories of love, life, family, and friends.
To Larry, strangers were friends and friends were family. He was everyone’s favorite tío, brother, compadre, grampo, great-grampo, Santa Claus, rescuer, singer of “ Las Mañanitas,” a second father to many, and friend to all. Most of all he was a devoted father and husband. He is survived by his beautiful wife Dorothy Torrez of Roswell, children: Henriette Pearson (Hank), Marty Torrez (Cindy), D’Ette Wiggins (Mark), Yvette Torrez-Troy (Ron), and Matthew Torrez (Cathy), grandchildren: Priscilla, Hannah, Marcus, Seth, Martín, Sara, Miguel, Thad, Whitney, Abby, Rynthia, Anthony, Noel, Destiny, and Manuel and a growing generation of great grandchildren. He is also survived by his beloved sisters Eva and Patsy, numerous nieces and nephews and multitudes of friends.
To send Larry on his final chapter to his fruit orchards in Heaven, services are: Rosary at Assumption Catholic Church in Roswell at 6:00 PM on Monday, October 5th and funeral Mass will be at St. Jude’s Catholic Church in San Patricio at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, October 6th. Burial will follow at St. Jude’s Cemetery in San Patricio. We will be following the COVID-19 guidelines, masks are mandatory. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Special Olympics New Mexico in Larry's honor. Donations may be sent to the address below or made online at http://www.sonm.org.
Special Olympics New Mexico
6600 Palomas NE Suite 207
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Honor Larry by living his life lessons: be generous to all, love unconditionally, forgive others, put your heart into the task at hand, cook passionately, embrace all, keep the stories alive, laugh heartily and often, don’t take life too seriously, make family and family traditions number one, and raise a glass to celebrate even the smallest moments of your life!