Jose Merced Florez – Obituary Feb 20, 2016 – José Merced Florez, 93, of Blanco, with his family by his side, gave his gentle and kind soul to the Lord Jesus on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. He knew no stranger and spent his entire life serving his family and his community. He was born March 19, 1922, in Gobernador, to Abel and Fidela Vasquez Florez. He served as a sergeant fourth class in the U.S. Army Air Force in the South Pacific Theater during World War II. His service included the liberation of the Philippines in 1945. In 1946, José married Florence Hancock, and they were blessed with 12 children. They made their home in Blanco and were to celebrate 70 years of marriage on Oct. 26, 2016. In 1979, after 30 years of service, he retired from the El Paso Natural Gas Company and continued his passion for ranching, building the BAR MF family ranch along the San Juan River. In 2007, José being an extremely faithful man, donated land in Gobernador to the Benedictine Sisters to establish Our Lady of the Desert Monastery. He encouraged his family to be stewards of the monastery, voicing his wish that care for the sisters be continued for generations to come.On July 11, 2007, on the Feast of St. Benedict, marked a milestone in the history of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Desert! Our friends, Mr. and Mrs. Jose and Florence Florez, officially signed over to the sisters 40 acres of land in Gobernador, New Mexico, near Chama. This event took place during a ceremony with some of the Florez family, guests and monks in Phase III at the Monastery of Christ in the Desert. We were delighted to have the presence of Reverend James Walker, Vicar General for the Diocese of Gallup, here to represent Bishop Donald Pelotte, Bishop of Gallup. Louella B. Evans, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Florez, Notary Public, signed and sealed the documents in order for them to be recorded in the county of Tierra Amarilla, this same day.