New Mexico has lost a longtime leader in business, philanthropy and community service. Don Chalmers, who owned Ford dealerships in Rio Rancho and Santa Fe, died of cancer this month at age 65.
Over the years, Chalmers was a tireless volunteer, serving on many boards dealing with such diverse concerns as education, economic development, health care and community service. A partial list includes the University of New Mexico Board of Regents, the state Higher Education Commission, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Central New Mexico, the UNM Health Sciences Board of Directors, the Rio Rancho Community Foundation and the Sandoval Regional Medical Group.
He funded numerous scholarships, including a Presidential Scholarship at UNM, helped found the local affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and was a major supporter of highly successful National Dance Institute.
He was known for his high ethical standards. Don Chalmers Ford recently received the Rust Award For Excellence in Ethical Business Practice from the Samaritan Counseling Center and Chalmers himself was scheduled to be honored for “exceptional leadership” at the 2014 Leadership New Mexico Annual Award Dinner on Friday.
A Tulsa native who made New Mexico his home, Chalmers was folksy, cheerful, civil and upbeat. As he put it, “Everything is just chicken but the gravy.”
New Mexico mourns his loss but is richer for the time he was with us.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.