Bethany Freudenthal, Las Cruces Sun-News
Published 9:11 a.m. MT Sept. 2, 2019
LAS CRUCES – Las Cruces resident Laura Valdez remembers buying a new oven, but it didn’t fit in the space in her kitchen. Her husband, Narcisco Valdez, insisted on figuring out how to move back the wall to fit the oven rather than buy a new oven.
That’s the kind of man Nicisco Valdez was. He believed a person could do anything if they put their mind to it, and that’s how he lived his life up until the end.
“One of my dad’s key things is he always showed us anything’s possible. You just think about it, you put your mind to it and you do it. He showed us and that was great,” said his son, Jonathan Valdez.
A retired Las Cruces Police officer, Narciso Valdez, 59, died of metastasized kidney cancer Aug. 22.
Valdez was born in El Paso on Jan. 13, 1960. He met Laura while each was a teenager in the police department’s Youth Patrol.
“They used to take youths from the city and let them patrol with officers and see if they’d like to explore a career in law enforcement and kind of teach them the behind the scenes,” Laura said.
Narciso did become a police officer and served the Las Cruces community for 20 years.
The Valdezes were married for 41 years and together for 45 years. They had three sons, 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A courageous battle
Narciso Valdez was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma on Sept. 15, 2018. The cancer would eventually claim one of his kidneys.
Within a month of the surgery to remove his kidney, Narciso started complaining about a knot on his back. The cancer had spread to his spine and would eventually spread to his ribs and skull, Laura said.
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But despite the cancer, Narciso was determined to continue living his best life. He’d been training for two years to run a half-marathon at Walt Disney World in Florida, and much to his doctor’s chagrin, he competed.
“At that point he couldn’t run, but he walked the whole thing and he made it,” Laura said. “That’s just how stubborn or goal driven he was.”
When she saw her husband cross the finish line, Laura said she was in total awe of him.
His half-marathon time was 2 hours and 38 minutes.
Above and beyond
On one cold day last year when Laura had taken Narciso to El Paso for radiation treatment, they stopped at a Krispy Kreme shop on their way home because he loved sweets.
“It was so cold outside, so cold,” Laura remembers. “There was a group of homeless people sitting out by the corner at the stoplight and he’d been behind me when I was ordering everything and all of a sudden he wasn’t there anymore. I guess I wasn’t paying attention and he’d broken off and gone to somebody else and he had ordered a bunch of stuff, coffees and pastries and stuff and taken them to all of those people out there.”
Jonathan Valdez said his father was a very caring and selfless person.
“He would go above and beyond for anybody in need, especially if he didn’t know that person, he would help them out … stop and check up with them and make sure they were OK or any help that was needed, he would help. That’s the kind of police officer he was,” Jonathan said. “That’s how my father should be remembered.”
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