Roberto Levi Gallegos was taken home by Jesus, Mary, and the angels on August 12, 2021. Roberto was often described as the kindest, gentlest, most caring man anyone had met. He was born to Elizardo Sr and Genoveva Gallegos on August 19, 1932, in Cuba, NM. He was the second youngest of eight children. Roberto used to say that when he went to school, he spent two years in the "baby ro...

Roberto Levi Gallegos was taken home by Jesus, Mary, and the angels on August 12, 2021. Roberto was often described as the kindest, gentlest, most caring man anyone had met. He was born to Elizardo Sr and Genoveva Gallegos on August 19, 1932, in Cuba, NM. He was the second youngest of eight children. Roberto used to say that when he went to school, he spent two years in the "baby room" because he did not speak English. When he was thirteen, his father died of cancer making an indelible mark on his life. Roberto was captain of his high school basketball team and Valedictorian of his senior class. When he graduated from high school, his oldest brother, Anselmo, dropped him off at the University of New Mexico telling Roberto that he was going to college. He went on to earn three degrees from UNM - a Bachelor of Arts in Government, a Master of Arts degree in Elementary Education/Reading, and a PhD in Education (specializing in elementary education, reading and bilingual education). Roberto taught elementary school in Cuba, New Mexico and in the Albuquerque NM public schools. He also taught at Highlands University in Las Vegas, NM, and at the University of New Mexico. In 1976, Roberto came to New Mexico State University where he taught elementary education and bilingual education methodology classes, directed the Elementary Student Teaching Program, wrote over five million dollars in grants, developed and directed the Title VII Bilingual Education Doctoral Fellowship Program, and developed and directed Project MoVEMOS - an innovative onsite teacher preparation program that gained national acclaim. In his 36 years at NMSU, Roberto earned numerous teaching awards including the Donald C. Roush Award for Teaching Excellence (twice), the Burlington Resources Foundation Faculty Achievement Award, the Promotion of Racial Harmony Award, and the Westhafer Award for Excellence in Teaching (NMSU's highest teaching award). During his career, Roberto also worked in Latin America for the Agency for International Development creating educational materials and providing in-service training for teachers in Costa Rica, Honduras and Ecuador. He served on the editorial boards of nationally recognized journals in education and on numerous national and international committees. In addition to his educational and professional accomplishments, Roberto was proud of his service in the New Mexico National Guard. In his years at NMSU, Roberto taught and mentored hundreds of students, teachers and doctoral graduates - many of whom continued on to become leaders in schools, universities and agencies across the country. Roberto was a dedicated husband, father, grandfather and uncle. Shortly after arriving in Las Cruces, Roberto met Anne and her three children, ages 4, 6 and 8. He fell in love with all four of them, and they spent 42 wonderful years together. Along with other family members, Roberto always said his girls brought him great joy - that his girls were his life. Roberto was also blessed through Heather's marriage with the addition of a second son, Conan Becknell, who became a "giant" in his life. The family traveled often and celebrated many holidays and special occasions making wonderful memories. Roberto is preceded in death by his parents, by seven siblings, and by son, Michael. He is survived by his wife, Anne, daughters Amy Vanderkooy and Heather Garner-Becknell (Conan Becknell), granddaughters Hannah and Hayden, brother-in-law Mike Steffey (Pat) and by many beloved nieces and nephews. Papi and his granddaughters were best buddies with him driving them to lessons, playing all sorts of games, and supporting them in every effort. The family wishes to thank Mesilla Valley Hospice for their kind and constant care. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dr. Roberto Gallegos Rural Northern New Mexico Endowed Scholarship in the NMSU Foundation. Services will be held at St. Albert the Great Newman Center on Friday, August 27 at 10am.

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