Our Staff

We Are Here to Help

Our staff are known for their compassion and dedication to each and every family.

Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations of Santa Fe
and Santa Fe Memorial Gardens

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Tim Rivera - Owner and Funeral Director

Tim is the proud owner of Northern New Mexico’s last family owned and operated funeral home, whose newly remodeled Taos location dates back to 1933. Tim grew up the second oldest of six siblings, living above his parents’ family funeral home. A lifelong lover of learning, Tim graduated from the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science, studied at San Francisco State University and the University of New Mexico, obtained his insurance and celebrant licenses, and studied abroad in Spain to explore his family heritage. His keen interest and exploration in education now affords him the expertise and joy of mentorship, as he helps guide the next generation of funeral directors. Over the last few decades, as national funeral home chains began pursuing and overtaking locally owned mortuaries, Tim saw the value of maintaining hometown ownership. He decided to grow the family business with the purchase of the Block Salazar Mortuary, which, in time, was converted to Rivera Family Funeral Home & Crematory of Española. Shortly after the purchase of Santa Fe Funeral Options, Tim began beautifying and expanding Santa Fe Memorial Gardens Cemetery and building Santa Fe’s Native-American-inspired Kiva Chapel of Light. In 2018, Tim launched Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations of Los Alamos for the convenience of the citizens of Los Alamos and White Rock. Expansion has allowed Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations to thrive as a hometown New Mexico business, and remaining family-owned has allowed Tim to achieve his vision of creating a funeral home that represents the human values of compassion, connection, and continuous personal support and care. Tim is the co-founder of Passages International, a pioneer company in green, eco-friendly burial and cremation products; the founder of the Monarch Cremation Society, an alternative cremation-specialized Victorian funeral home in downtown Denver; past-chairman of the New Mexico Funeral Board; and member of numerous non-profit boards. Tim’s greatest pride, however, is his nearly 20-year collaboration with Golden Willow Retreat, a locally-owned residential sanctuary and life-saving program for survivors of grief and loss, located just outside of Taos. Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations and Golden Willow Retreat’s rare and powerful relationship offers a nationwide example of the cooperative beauty between a funeral home and a grief-support program. In his free time, Tim enjoys skiing, scuba diving, traveling around the world, cycling, backpacking, and spending time with his family.

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Bob Clifford - Executive Director of Operations, Director of Community Outreach, and Funeral Director

With a career spanning over 50 years in funeral service, Bob is a licensed Funeral Service Practitioner for the state of New Mexico, and he greatly values the opportunity to work personally with local families during difficult times of loss. Raised in Idaho and Montana, he received an Associate of Arts in funeral service education from Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon in August 1969, and he completed his schooling at Boise State College with a degree in business management and marketing. He worked for several years in Montana before moving to Santa Fe in the late 1980s. Bob is twice past-president of the Santa Fe Kiwanis Club and is a major contributor in time and effort to create the yearly Zozobra event. He has served as Exalted Ruler of the Santa Fe Elks Lodge and is a board member of several groups and foundations in Santa Fe. He is married to Mary Armijo, who grew up in Santa Fe, and he has two adult daughters, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Bob is an avid fly fisherman and intends to devote more time to this, along with amateur photography, in the years to come.

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Paul Vigil - Operations Manager and Funeral Specialist

Paul serves Rivera’s Santa Fe location as Operations Manager and Managing Funeral Specialist. A native New Mexican who was born and raised in Santa Fe, Paul is known for his compassionate service to his community. Transitioning from his family’s roofing business, Paul worked his way through every position at Rivera, from operating the cemetery backhoe to supervising the cemetery crew to becoming a Transfer Care Team leader, licensed embalmer, funeral arranger, director, and manager. He is a dedicated professional who values honesty and sincerity. In his free time, Paul enjoys fishing, camping, and hanging out with his children.

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Sandra Huerta- Office Manager and Funeral Specialist

Having transitioned from Santa Fe’s Front Office Manager to Funeral Specialist with licenses in arranging and directing, Sandra has come a long way in being able to help her bereaved Mexican families. Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, Sandra is fluent in Spanish and has helped many Spanish-speaking residents of Santa Fe make funeral and memorial plans for their loved ones. She especially enjoys creating personalized prayer cards, memorial folders, candles, and DVDs. She can relate to families’ grief because she’s had someone very special and close to her pass away. She loves helping her families through tough times, and she has become very close to all the families she has worked with. Before moving to Santa Fe in 2017 from Racine, Wisconsin, Sandra graduated from LA Academy and worked for 17 years as a case manager for a drug and alcohol rehabilitation agency. When she’s not working, she likes to be with her kids, go out on a weekly girls’ night with her friends, and spend lots of time taking care of her flowers. If her grandchildren lived closer, she would be with them every day during her non-working hours.

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Al Vincent Romeo- Funeral Specialist

A dedicated member of the Rivera Family since 2012, Al Vincent takes pride in providing families with personalized and dignified care. He currently manages our Transfer Care Team and holds licenses in arranging, directing, and embalming. To Al Vincent, getting to know the families at Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations whom he otherwise might never meet is a privilege, an honor, and a personally expansive experience that brings a sense of connection, purpose, and responsibility. Born in Santa Fe and raised in Sombrillo, Al Vincent comes from a varied professional background in construction; automotive mechanics; small engine repair; and operating, transporting, and servicing heavy equipment. He has also worked in the food and agriculture industries, specifically culinary arts and ranching. Outside of work, Al Vincent enjoys spending time with his parents, sisters, and extended family.

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Bill Roybal - Funeral Specialist

Bill received his degree in mortuary science from the Dallas Institute, after having also attended New Mexico State University, and he practiced as a Funeral Director in Santa Fe from 1978 to 1983. He was then self-employed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory for 35 years. Bill is glad to have found his way back to helping families as much as possible during a very difficult time in their lives. Born in Los Alamos, Bill has lived in Santa Fe for the past 53 years. He graduated from St. Michael’s High School Class of ‘71, and for the last 30 years, he has maintained his connection with the Horsemen by selling tickets at all varsity football and boys’ basketball games. Bill and his wife of 43 years, Nancy, with whom he has one daughter (and son-in-law), enjoy camping and spending as much time as possible with their three grandchildren.

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Gregory McKinnis - Funeral Specialist

Greg has enjoyed a long history of funeral service, having worked as a transfer specialist, embalmer, crematory operator, and funeral director and arranger for over two decades. His caring, compassionate demeanor goes a long way in establishing trusting, lasting relationships with the families he serves. Greg was born and raised in Las Cruces, NM, and after living in Albuquerque for many years, moved to Santa Fe in 2018. He values being a part of the Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations team, which he feels extends a family-oriented hand toward both clients and staff and which proudly sets top-notch expectations for its employees. An avid outdoorsman, Greg enjoys fishing, hunting, and camping in his free time.

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Tiffany Cross - Cemetery Director

As Director of Santa Fe Memorial Gardens, Tiffany coordinates all burial ceremonies in our beautiful cemetery, as well as creates personalized engraved headstones and handles all graveside requests. She believes in honoring the lives of our lost loved ones, and that the cemetery – their final resting place – marks a sacred space in which to connect, chat, laugh, and feel. Hailing from Syracuse, New York, Tiffany is a graduate of the State University of New York at Canton with a bachelor’s degree in mortuary science. She moved to Santa Fe in 2009. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and being outdoors.

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George Mares - Superintendent of Cemetery Grounds

Since 2013, our beautiful Santa Fe Memorial Gardens has benefitted from George’s landscaping inspiration and expertise. A Santa Fe native, George graduated from Santa Fe High School and studied for two years at Highlands University in Las Vegas, NM. He was employed for 27 years at Healy-Matthews Office Supply, and he’s done landscaping work for 30 years. In the cemetery, George enjoys chatting with families, as well as creating new and beautiful gardens and landforms from scratch. When not digging in the dirt, you can find George riding his Harley-Davidson.

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Jose ``Jody`` Ortiz - Advanced Funeral Planning Consultant

As a Pre-Need Consultant, Jody ensures one’s final wishes are clearly stated and arranged so that loved ones won’t be left wondering what to do on one of the worst days of their lives. He’s proud to have helped provide peace of mind to families through pre-planning since 2012. Jody spent the majority of his career as a building maintenance supervisor, heavy equipment operator, and plumber for city and state entities, including Santa Fe Property Control, New Mexico Department of Corrections, and New Mexico Department of Transportation, the latter of which he retired from in 2011. In his role at Santa Fe Property Control, Jody helped bring the city into ADA compliance. In his free time, Jody loves riding his Harley, RVing, and working in his yard. He was born and raised in Glorieta, NM.

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Gilbert Martinez - Ambassador

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Gilbert is a well-known member of the Santa Fe community, having been involved with various nonprofits and associations for many years. He was the former president and CEO of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, long-time member of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, former marketing and accounting manager for Public Service Company of New Mexico (a locally-owned family business), and organizer of the Santa Fe Veteran’s Purple Heart Recognition Ceremony. His familiarity in our community brings grieving families a sense of trust when selecting Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations to care for their loved ones, and Gilbert is proud to support families through his ambassadorship. In his free time, he enjoys helping at his church, playing golf, spending time with his kids and grand-kids, and traveling abroad.

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Philip Bransford – Ambassador

Most people know Philip from Alex Safety Lane, his father’s automotive repair shop, and the two local businesses Philip started and operated as a cooling systems specialist: Yamaha of Santa Fe and Phil’s Radiator Shop. A native Santa Fean and the 10th child of 14 born to Polly and Alex Bransford, Philip attended Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School for nine years and graduated from Santa Fe High. He served as a U.S. Navy damage controlman aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Oriskany in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War, and following his military service, Philip completed his bachelor’s degree in theology from Baptist Bible College in Springfield, MO. For many years he served as deacon, led the Evangelistic Ministry, and worked with the Prison Ministry for First Baptist Church, and later he helped found Rodeo Road Baptist Church. Philip’s ambassadorship with Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations fulfills a deep desire he has to support his community through ministry. He’s been married to Doris Cordova for almost 49 years, and together they have four children and nine grandchildren, with whom he loves to spend his free time. Philip is also an avid motorcyclist.

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Jacqueline Lopez - Ambassador

Jacqueline was born and raised in Santa Fe. She has been a proud member of Rivera Family Funeral Home since 2016 when she graduated from Santa Fe High School. She takes pride in serving the many families in her community.

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Marvin Valdez - Ambassador

Marvin is a native Santa Fean and a retiree from the Museum of New Mexico Fabrication Department, where he worked for 23 years, nine of those as a supervisor. During his employment with the museum, he was responsible for installing casework for art installations. In his ambassadorship at Rivera, Marvin enjoys helping families feel more at ease during a difficult time of grief by being attentive to details that could easily be overlooked. Marvin is a lifetime parishioner of San Isidro Parish, a lifetime member and past President of Caballeros De Vargas, a former catechist, and he’s participated in music ministry for 40 years. He and his wife, Jackie Valdez, have two adult children, and they are the proud grandparents of one grandchild. In his free time, Marvin enjoys camping, fishing, hunting, and wood-working.

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John Baca - Ambassador

Through his ambassadorship at Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations, John’s personal and professional honesty, commitment, and integrity help him provide support, compassion, and love for families at such a difficult time in their lives. Known by many as “Babyblue,” John was born and raised in Santa Fe, having graduated from Santa Fe High School in 1996. John’s love of sports led him to begin officiating games when he was 14 years old. He currently referees for NMAA Northern New Mexico high school basketball and umpires for NCAA women’s fastpitch softball as well as PAC 12, SEC, Big 12, Big 10, and Mountain West collegiate conferences. In addition to sports officiating, John enjoys traveling and spending quality time with his wife Jessica and his three daughters, Shantel, Miranda, and Kayliana. His family is a big part of who he is. John has been a state employee for 22 years, and he currently works for the New Mexico State Land Office.

Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations of Taos

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Doreen Martinez - Senior Director of Operations, Bookkeeper and Funeral Specialist

Doreen’s career underwent a significant evolution in 1998 when she transitioned from her midwifery secretarial position to a secretarial position with Rivera Family Funerals & Cremation. In the last twenty years, she has earned the leadership role of Senior Director for all four of Rivera’s locations. Doreen loves her work; she considers it an honor and a blessing to be part of such a compassionate and sincere family as the Riveras. She treats every family who walks through our doors as part of the Rivera family as well. Her dedication, kindness, and conscientiousness as a funeral arranger and director was rewarded last year with a formal recognition of being in the national top 2% of exceptional customer service professionals. Doreen is one of ten children, four of whom have sadly passed away. She has been married for 34 years and is the proud mother of three children. Outside of work, she loves to spend time with her three children and three precious grandchildren.

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Victor Torres - Funeral Specialist

An esteemed US Army Veteran who served as Team Leader with the 1/21 Gimlet Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, Victor spent three years in the Army Reserves, and, prior to that, four years in active duty, including a deployment to Iraq in 2010 and 2011. Victor takes the worldly experience he absorbed through his military service and offers it - without politics - to his community, as a funeral arranger, director, and embalmer. Prior to enlisting in the Army, Victor attended two years of college at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he studied business and marketing and was a member of the Air Force ROTC, Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, and Kappa Sigma social fraternity. He worked for some time as a behavioral health technician at a youth rehabilitation center, and he is certified as an Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (EMT-B). Victor recently became an Entered Apprentice (EA) Freemason. In his spare time, Victor enjoys hunting, fishing, skiing, and spending time with his three children. He is a lifelong resident of Taos.

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Carlos Trujillo - Office Administrator

A native of Taos, Carlos joined Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations from a professional background of entrepreneurial business. After studying at the University of New Mexico and receiving his Culinary Arts degree with Honors, Carlos opened and managed two local restaurants for a number of years. Later, he purchased a custom apparel shop, where he continues to design and sell t-shirts featuring silk-screen, vinyl, embroidery, and digital art. Being a quick learner with a keen eye for problem-solving and a spirit of caring, listening, and conscientiousness, Carlos brings a strong work ethic and a positive attitude to Rivera. He is kind, loving, and a self-described awesome person. Outside of work, Carlos does more work. He also enjoys spending time with his sons.

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Sandy Martinez - Office Manager, Owner of Answering Dispatch Service

A lifelong resident of Taos, Sandy and her family provided after-hours telephone answering services for Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations for over thirty years. For the last twelve, Sandy has managed Taos’s front office. After experiencing much personal loss in her life, including the deaths of her parents, the late Eloy and Martha Mares; the tragic loss of her first husband at a young age; her auntie whom she took care of for four years; her mother-in-law; and several close friends, Sandy relates comfortably to grieving people. She is sincerely compassionate and able to provide meaningful counsel. She feels a genuine belonging and closeness with her Rivera family in Taos, and she thanks God for placing her in this meaningful work. Sandy was previously employed as a human resources professional for the Town of Taos and an employment specialist with the Department of Labor. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, and being a homebody with her husband, Mike (Maggie) Martinez. Sandy has one son, Eloy Montoya, who is her rock and her whole world, and who, with his wife Valerie, has blessed Sandy with two beautiful grandchildren, Mateo and Brianah. Together, Sandy and Mike share five sons, five granddaughters, and two grandsons.

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Rick Silva - Advanced Planning Consultant

With Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations, Rick is able to assist families in Northern New Mexico with their final wishes. A licensed agent with an FIC (Fraternal Insurance Counselor) designation. Rick segued naturally into the insurance industry after closing his bail bond business, which he owned and operated in Lincoln County, NM for over 20 years. The majority of Rick’s career, before retiring in 2010, was dedicated to county and state government. In 2000, he was elected Lincoln County Assessor. He also served on the Board of Directors, and later elected President, of the New Mexico Association of Counties (NMAC). During his second term as Assessor, Rick was appointed by the Governor of New Mexico as the Director of Property Tax, where he completed his career in government. Highlighting Rick’s political career were his numerous trips to Washington, D.C., where, as one of the appointed committee members of Public Lands for the National Association of Counties, Rick advocated for proper funding for all counties at the national level. Rick’s political background anchors him in a belief system of fairness and open-mindedness, and he appreciates that his Rivera colleagues also embrace those positive attitudes. Rick hails from the rural areas of Lincoln and Otero Counties. When time permits, he enjoys bow hunting and visiting historical sites throughout the Southwest. You can often find him on the golf course with his wife Anna and regularly volunteering as a “gopher,” and at times a unified golf partner, for Special Olympics, for which Anna is Co-Director of SONM Area 2. He greatly values and enjoys participating with the athletes and helping them achieve their dreams and goals.

Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations of Espanola, Los Alamos
and Rio Grande Crematory

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Theresa Westfall - Assistant Manager and Funeral Specialist

Theresa was drawn to Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations in 2019 after suffering the deep loss of a family member. Now, as a licensed funeral arranger, director, and embalmer, Theresa has the opportunity to help others who have suffered loss. Theresa treasures the humanity she experiences with each family she serves; each relationship is unique yet shares the common thread of connection and compassion. She especially enjoys strengthening her relationships with families over time by following up and checking in, particularly in such a small, close-knit community as Española. She enjoys being a mediator, counselor, having an open ear, and using her wide range of skills to be productive and seamlessly manage details. Originally from Utah, and growing up moving around the USA with her family’s business, Theresa arrived in New Mexico in 2004 after tracing her family heritage back to Chimayo. Prior to joining Rivera, she worked in restaurant management for a number of years. Outside of work, Theresa enjoys being outdoors biking and hiking, cooking, and spending time with her two sons.

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Gabriel Ortiz - Crematory Manager and Funeral Specialist

Gabriel skillfully operates our Rio Grande Crematory, which carries out over 800 cremations each year, while also meticulously managing its inventory and legal documentation. Gabriel also coordinates the Española On-Call Transfer Team and holds licenses in embalming, arranging, and directing. Helping families through tough times and working alongside his amazing family of colleagues impassions Gabriel in his work. Prior to joining Rivera, Gabriel was employed by Smith’s grocery for 13 years, where he utilized his versatility by working in every capacity in the store. Outside of the crematory, Gabriel’s priority is spending time with his children. He grew up playing a variety of sports, and he continues to be an avid sportsman in softball and basketball. Gabriel was born and raised in Santa Fe, and he currently lives in Española.

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Amber Pope - Office Administrator

Amber received her college education at the University of New Mexico, receiving three Associate of Arts degrees and one Bachelor of Arts in Communication. She was one of the first students to graduate with a concentration in Environmental Education and a minor in Sustainability Studies, educational gifts that allowed her to make a hands-on difference in her community. Amber also worked for many years as a bartender throughout the Northeast community of Albuquerque, learning how to make comfortable small talk with strangers, use humor as medicine, practice patience, and embrace the strange and beautiful ways we all rely on each other. Later, her experience as a Title and Escrow Technician taught her the professional urgency and care necessary when serving people undergoing major life transitions. Amber was drawn to Rivera Family Funerals & Cremations for the emotional reward of lessening another’s burden during a time of tragedy or grief. During times of loss and grief in her own family, Amber found the Rivera staff to be wonderfully emotionally intelligent and capable - bright guiding lights that she now strives to emulate. As a recipient of so much grace from others over her lifetime, she is incredibly proud to now be in a position to offer such service. Amber was born and raised in Los Alamos, where her grandparents migrated during WWII. After studying, working, and living in Albuquerque for 15 years, she missed small-town life, and now chooses to live and work in the beautiful Espanola Valley, happy to reconnect with all the fascinating characters of her LA past. Outside of work, Amber enjoys backpacking, hiking, and skiing whenever possible, as well as reading, writing letters, and cooking for others as much as she can. She is showered with the most interesting and loving friends and family anyone could ask for.

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Lou Baker - Office Administrator and Funeral Specialist

Lou joined Rivera Family Funeral Home in 2018 after planning and carrying out an elegant funeral for her mother, whom she nursed in hospice for four years. Lou holds licenses in arranging, directing and embalming. Prior to joining Rivera, Lou traveled extensively and maintained a career in the public sector, serving as Planning Director for the town of Taos, Senior Planner for the city of Santa Fe, Special Projects Manager for the city of Española, and Surface Bureau Manager for the New Mexico State Land Office, where she stewarded nine million acres of public land. She holds a master’s degree in economics from MIT and a bachelor’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology from the College of Santa Fe. Lou’s educational and travel background affords her many skills and values integral to shepherding grief-stricken families through the funeral-arranging process: she is decidedly open-minded toward people from various faith and cultural backgrounds, and she is highly empathetic toward people’s complex expressions of grief. She is also appreciative of the strict level of confidentiality that Rivera extends to its families. In her free time, Lou enjoys taking walks with her dogs, being with her family, and traveling around the world. She is from, and currently lives in, Española.

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Roberto Mondragon - Radio Obituaries & Service Attendant

Roberto was the Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico and also served as a state representative in The New Mexico State Legislature. Mr. Mondragon delivers the morning obituary announcements on Espanola's KDCE AM950 at 8:00 a.m., and Santa Fe's KSWV AM 810 at 9:25 a.m.