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In Loving Memory of the Greatest Westside Neighbor and Advocate Dr. Joe Valles

It is with profound sadness to share the news of the unexpected passing of Dr. Joe Valles, a community leader, a neighborhood advocate, a champion of the Westside, and a dedicated friend to all. 

Dr. Joe Valles’ leadership, advocacy, and courage has helped shape policy, saved acres of sensitive environmental lands, and brought voices to neighborhoods and residents to City Hall. There is not a policy that impacted the way of community development that Dr. Joe did not have his hand in or if it was not centering community voices, he made sure everyone knew it was bad policy. He was a true friend, where he would let you know if he felt you weren’t doing right by the community, and uplifted you if he saw your vision and fight was right for the Westside and the City. 

The loss of such a profound fighter for our community will be felt for generations—not just on the Westside, but throughout the City of Albuquerque. 

Dr. Joe passed unexpectedly at his home, that he built with his wife, had their wedding, and raised his family. Dr. Joe Valles is survived by his wife, Joanne “Jojo”, of 49 years, his son Emiliano and his fiancé Page, his son Domingo and his wife Cheyanne, and grandson Wesley Grey Alejandro. 

The following is a statement from the Valles family: 

"Friends in the broader Albuquerque community, 

This message is to share with you the sudden and unexpected passing of Dr. Joe L. Valles, DDS on Sunday, September 5th, 2021. As his immediate family, our hearts are saddened and we continue to come to terms with his loss. 

At the same time, we want to acknowledge that Joe put his heart into a number of community endeavors and that he valued your shared time and passion in service of the mutual goals of community governance. To that extent, thank you all for being part of his extended family and a huge part of his life. We are all very proud of him and his commitment to social activism and community participation since his years in college, throughout his dental career, and into his retirement. 

At this time arrangements for services have yet to be determined but we plan to place an obituary in the Albuquerque Journal with further details in the near future. Thank You." 

Joanne Valles 

Domingo Valles, DDS 

Emiliano Valles, MD 

The loss of Dr. Joe Valles, as a friend and fierce leader, was felt by many elected officials throughout the City, County, and State. 

“Dr. Joe Valles, was a singular force for neighborhoods in so many aspects of city life. His combination of deep roots, public planning smarts, and respect for improving the experience of everyday living in the Duke City was unquestioned. He was both a strong voice, and healing hand, during good and tough times for decades in our city.” 

- Mayor Tim Keller 

“It is difficult to express the grief we are all feeling with the loss of Dr. Joe Valles. I have known Dr. Valles for over 25 years, and he was a staunch fighter for the good of our neighborhoods, and our community. He was a pillar of Albuquerque, who was knowledgeable and not afriad to express his opinion on City issues, yet he was a perfect gentleman. It is certainly a difficult time for the family and the community, and we will all feel his loss, but we will work to keep his memory alive. He will be missed." 

- Council President, City Councilor Cynthia Borrego 

"Albuquerque lost an extraordinary community leader, and many of us lost a dear friend. Dr. Joe Valles was a fighter for neighborhood representation and inclusion in local decision making. He didn't back down and didn't give up. He was most proud of his family. My heart goes out to them."

- Commissioner Debbie O’Malley

From our Westside legislators, who all knew Dr. Joe well: 

“Joe was family to us. This is a tremendous loss to our city and community. Most importantly, Kory and I send our love and prayers to the entire Valles and Santiago families in this moment of grief. Joe was a true friend to many, an honest counselor to those who sought elected office, and a stellar human being.” 

-Senator Jacob Candelaria 

“A true example of selflessness and courage. Dr. Valles would take on corporate giants and even his friends to fight for what he believed in. A loss on many levels for us on the westside.” 

-Representative Moe Maestas 

“Dr. Joe Valles was passionate about his family, his community, and his patients. He was an effective and tireless advocate for the Westside. He was a truth teller who cared deeply about those with less. He hated unfairness and tried to right wrongs, sometimes saying he thought was tilting against windmills. But he often won. He had a wonderful sense of humor and irony. His loss leaves a huge void in the community. Era un gran hombre. My deepest condolences to Joanne, Emiliano, Domingo, and rest of his family.” 

-Senator Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez 

“We are heartbroken that one of our greatest Westside advocates, Dr. Joe Valles, is no longer with us. He was a very kind, compassionate, and generous man; yet, fearless and tenacious in his advocacy for our rights as neighborhoods and communities to have a voice in our government in order to make our neighborhoods a better place to live. We will never and cannot forget his accomplishments and what he has done. We can hour Dr Joe by continuing his fight, to not let our voices be silenced, to make our communities and neighborhoods a great place to live. Dr. Joe, we will always miss you!" 

- APS Board Member Candelaria Candy Patterson and longtime Community Advocate 

From his dear friends, fellow advocates, and neighbors: 

“A community depends on people who care to move forward. A genuine interest in all aspects of Albuquerque life was wrapped up in the life of Dr. Joe Valles. Community activist isn’t a strong enough word to describe him. A few hours ago, Albuquerque’s champion community leader left us. His passing and his life’s work will alter our present, but assure our future. Now is our time to mourn him. Tomorrow is our time to emulate him.” 

- Jerry Worrall, Past President, Westside Coalition of Neighborhood Association 

"Dr. Joe had a long term commitment to his community and was very good at expressing the needs and issues of the community through his writing. He had the right stuff, the insight to address all the issues that we face. He was a dear friend to all of us and we relied on him to carry us through. Dr. Joe was the Westside's voice. He held the community together and we are sorely going to miss him." 

- Rene Horvath, Taylor Ranch NA, WSCONA Land Use Chair 

Please note, that if we could include statements from all of those that knew him and were friends of Dr. Joe, this would be longer than Dr. Joe's nemesis, the IDO. I know that my office did not capture everyone's statements and more will be included in the days that follow, but I know that many of us who were privileged enough to know him, lucky enough to be a friend, and proud to be called a neighbor, he knows we are all thinking of him and the profound impact he made in all of our lives. 

Rest Well My Friend and Neighbor. 

City Councilor Lan Sena