NEWS-BULLETIN ASSISTANT EDITOR
RIO COMMUNITIES – After a brief battle with COVID-19, a longtime Belen educator and administrator died last week, leaving behind a legacy of service, commitment and encouragement to students in two different school districts.
On July 22, Ronald “Ron” R. Marquez, 62, of Rio Communities, died at an Albuquerque hospital. The family was told because of his kidney transplant it’s very likely Marquez never developed the antibodies he needed from the vaccine.
A former superintendent for Belen Consolidated Schools, he began his career in education at Grants/Cibola County Schools in 1982, filling the roles of teacher, football coach, assistant principal, athletic director and principal.
During Marquez’s career with BCS from 1995 to 2015, he was the principal at Belen High School and Rio Grande Elementary before moving on as director of human resources and then advancing to superintendent from 2011 to 2015.
When he graduated from Grants High School in 1977, the uranium mines were booming and all Marquez’s friends had jobs at the mines and drove cool cars, his widow, Karen Marquez, said.
“He told his dad, ‘All my friends have great cars,’ so his father said, ‘If it’s a car you want, what do you want?'” Karen recalled.
A 1979 Corvette kept Marquez on the academic path at the University of New Mexico, where he earned a bachelor of science and double majored in physical education and history. He would later return to UNM for his master’s degree in education administration.
Marquez always wanted to be a coach, so in 1982 he joined the ranks of his high school alma mater as an assistant football coach.
“He liked being a football player (in high school). He had some coaches in his time that helped him and he wanted to help kids,” Karen said.
In high school, Marquez was student council president, and an all-around outgoing social person who loved being around people.
As a father, he wanted his three daughters – Juanita Diane, Christina Rose and Melanie Roni – to focus on academics, telling them it was their job to go to school.
Former Belen Consolidated Schools superintendent Ron Marquez with his “girls,” youngest and oldest daughters, Melanie Roni and Juanita Diane, wife, Karen, and middle daughter, Christina Rosa. Marquez was always proud his daughters were Belen High School graduates.