LARRY BACA July 24, 1956 – Feb. 7, 2019
Larry Baca was born the youngest of six boys on July 24, 1956 in Albuquerque, New Mexico to Blas Benedicto and Reyna Anna Baca (nee Salazar).
Growing up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, he graduated from Los Alamos High School, class of 1974, as a Hilltopper star athlete in football, baseball, track, wrestling, and basketball and remained a multisport advocate for the rest of his life.
He attended Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) in Portales, New Mexico, where he met the love of his life and best friend, Debra Marie Baca (nee Oldfield) on an oceanography trip to the Gulf of California, charming his way onto the trip and into Debbie’s life.
In 1979, he left ENMU a Kappa Sigma brother, starting his teaching career alongside the woman he would love and cherish for nearly 40 years. The couple moved to Bloomfield, NM, where their son, Ben, was born and where Larry taught and coached for the Bloomfield Bobcats. They moved back to Los Alamos in 1984 where Larry returned to the Toppers. For nearly 3 decades, he taught and coached, raised his son, loved his wife, and hunted and fished the Jemez mountains.
At age 53, he retired and spent the next 9 years serving as a model and hunting partner for his newlywed son, a hunting mentor, friend, and advisor to his oldest granddaughter and his daughter-in-law, a fun-loving grandpa to his youngest granddaughter and his grandson, and his wife’s steadfast companion and best friend.
He was an equally-enthusiastic coach for mediocre, successful, and state-record-breaking track stars. He was teacher and coach of the year and hall-of-fame Hilltopper. He was the Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsor. He was an avid hunter and hunting mentor, archer, marksman, and fisherman. He was a golfing partner, hiking and biking buddy, and adventure-loving friend. He was a loving and patient father, model husband, a father-in-law that anyone would envy having, and a brother you could turn to in your time of need. He was Larry, Coach Baca, Dad, Grumpa, Grumps, Hairy Larry, little brother, uncle, and husband.
Above all, he was a follower of Christ, believing unto Him and sharing that love freely to those around him. Just minutes before he ran into the waiting arms of God, he shared the following on Facebook: “Tell your kids…Jesus is the good news.”
Larry was preceded in death by his father Ben B. Baca and his mother Reyna S. Baca
Larry is survived by his loving wife, Debbie Baca; his son Ben Baca and his wife Lindsay; Grandchildren, Kourtney, Brooklyn, and Hunter; his siblings, Joe, Rick and wife Marlene, Billy and wife Terri, James, Fidel and wife Pat, Linda
Grieder and husband Jeff, Teri Brown and husband Jeff; his Stepmother Evelyn Baca Maquire and husband Bill. Also survived by numerous nieces and nephews; The Crossroads Bible Church body; Thousands of grateful athletes and students.
Thank you, Mike Weaver, for leading Larry and Ben to Christ all those years ago.
A celebration of Larry’s life will be held on Friday, February 15, 2019, 10:30 AM at the Crossroads Bible Church, 97 East Road, Los Alamos, NM 87544. A reception will follow with a light lunch for all.
The family suggest memorial contributions be made to: “Larry Baca Scholarship Fund” (501C3) at https://lapsfoundation.com/larry-baca or Young Life Ministries, Chapter Los Alamos – NM20 or the chapter of your choice.
The Baca family has entrusted the care of their loved one to Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations of Los Alamos, 1627 A Central Avenue, Los Alamos, NM 87544 (505) 663-6880. Please share your stories, pictures and condolences of Larry at: www.riverafamilyfuneralhome.com.