Steven R. Beffort, described by the University of New Mexico as “a strong, steady, behind-the-scenes force” who was also known as an excellent and avid golfer, died Sunday at the Heart Hospital of New Mexico. He was 76.
Services are planned at 2 p.m. today at Albuquerque’s Cathedral Church of St. John’s, 318 Silver SW.
Beffort was appointed vice president of Institutional Support Services at UNM in 2007. Beginning in 2002, he was executive director of the university’s Center for Support of Economic Development at the Anderson School of Management. In 2004, he joined Facilities Management at UNM.
He is the husband of state Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort, R-Sandia Park.
Jewel Glazey, who worked with Beffort, said she and other staff members were stunned by his death, which apparently came unexpectedly.
“He was a wonderful, wonderful person,” Glazey said. “First and foremost, he was a family man, then a humanitarian, then a businessman.” He had the ability to see existing opportunities for the university and to create new opportunities, Glazey said.
Beffort liked to barbecue, Glazey said, but his favorite pasttime outside of his family and job was golf. He shot a 78 just last week, she said.
She described him as someone with a remarkable entrepreneurial spirit, a born leader and tremendous negotiator who was both tough and fair.
“He was the only person I ever met who could tell you: ‘You just made the biggest mistake of your life,’ and you would feel good about it,” she said.
Beffort was born Aug. 26, 1937, in Salina, Kan., to Edmund Beffort and Myrtle Borgstadter Beffort.
He graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. After school, he worked for Sears in various executive positions for more than 30 years, finally retiring in Albuquerque.
Gov. Gary Johnson selected him as cabinet secretary for the state General Services Department, a position he held for two terms, overseeing all state government holdings.
At UNM, he was president of Lobo Energy, a board member of Lobo Development and a board member of the Popejoy Leadership Team. Lobo Development is a UNM regent-owned, non-profit corporation designed to facilitate non-traditional real estate development.
“Steve was an incredible gentleman and a smart, committed employee,” UNM President Bob Frank said. “His quiet leadership was a valuable resource for this university, helping us to advance our energy conservation and real estate development. We will miss him personally and professionally.”
Beffort served as campaign chair of United Way of Central New Mexico in 1993. He also was president of the New Mexico Retail Association, president of New Mexico Tech Net and a member of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Cris Beffort and his wife Tiffiney and Mark Beffort; stepsons Sean Curtis and Eric Curtis; grandchildren Sara Beffort, Molly Beffort, Lauren Curtis and Drake Beffort; brothers Kent Beffort and his wife Jan, and JD Beffort and his wife Jan.
The family asks that memorial contributions be made to New Heart, Inc., 601 Lomas NE, Albuquerque NM, 87101. An online guest book is available for Beffort at www.FrenchFunerals.com.