ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Ernest “Jerry” Jaramillo, 90, has lived in the South Valley since the 1930s
Anybody who drives around the South Valley has probably a time or two passed by “Jerry’s Market,” one of the areas first grocery stores.
Many have probably even shopped there.
Today Bernalillo County officials honored the man who opened that grocery store more than five decades ago by naming a park after him. A dedication ceremony took place naming the park near the Los Padillas Community Center the Ernest Jerry Jaramillo park after the longtime South Valley resident. Jaramillo was also instrumental in the opening of the Los Padillas Community Center.
In addition to owning the grocery store, Jaramillo has been a South Valley land developer and community activist there.
Jaramillo, 90, told the crowd of about 30 people gathered at the park Wednesday morning that the dedication was like “living in a dream.”
“Never in God’s world did I think I was going to live in Los Padillas,” Jaramillo said. “It was supposed to be a stay until I found my destiny in the big city of Albuquerque. But my opportunity was right here in this community.”
Attendees at Wednesday’s ceremony included county manager Thaddeus Lucero, County Commissioner Art De La Cruz and Lt. Gov. Diane Denish.
“It’s people like Jerry Jaramillo that make our communities,” she said. “He’s helping make sure kids have opportunities for activities in the community.”
De La Cruz praised Jaramillo for owning a small business in the South Valley and for helping start the fire department in the community.
“Day in and day out he gave up his life for his community,” De La Cruz said. “It’s important we honor him. He is an iconic figure in this community.”