Edward Tafoya

Date of Birth

June 1, 1933

Date of Death

June 2, 2021

Edward Tafoya passed away on June 2, 2021 at home at the age of 88. Edward was born on June 1, 1933 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was the middle of three children. He graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Albuquerque then pursued advanced degrees in religious studies (a B.A. and M.A.) from Spring Hill College, Louisiana. After graduate school, he began his lifelong career as an educator and served for a time as Dean of Students at the University of California San Diego before pursuing a PhD. He later taught high school English, Latin, and Spanish.

In 1974, Edward and his wife, Elvira, moved to Santa Barbara for Edward to pursue a Ph.D. in Religious Studies at UCSB with Raymundo Panikar. For his studies, Edward learned to read Greek and Latin to better understand the great philosophers and religious leaders of the past. He insisted that accessing religious texts in their original languages brought him closer to authors and to the spirit of God. Although deeply academic in his studies, Edward was also the house Master of Trivial Pursuit. He was a loving father, a witty orator, a scholar of theology and philosophy, a devout Catholic and an all-around consummate educator. In the last years of his life, he enjoyed being with his family, eating paletas, and holding your hand. His daughters provided for his personal care the last few months of his life.

In retirement Edward reveled in caring for his two grandchildren, taking them on daily visits to Chase Palm Park and the Santa Barbara Zoo. On his last visit by train to his hometown of Albuquerque and Santa Fe he reminisced fondly of his childhood, of swimming in the Rio Grande River and watching his Aunt make Lemon Meringue Pies just for him. His life was spent deep in religious texts and prayer. He loved to talk and to laugh and he will always be remembered for sharing joy over long family dinners and deep conversations.

Edward is survived by his wife Elvira, two daughters; Gabriela Dodson and Xóchitl Tafoya, and their spouses; Steve Dodson & Nicole Koger as well as his beloved grandchildren Ysabella and Eddie Dodson. He is also survived by his elder sister, Stella Tafoya Leikem who lives in Houston Texas.

A funeral mass will be held for Edward on Friday, July 9th at 11 am at the Old Mission Santa Barbara. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Friends of the Eastside Library in Santa Barbara.


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