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Gary Olguin Acosta

Gary Olguin Acosta

A Mass of Christian Burial is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 30, at San Jose Catholic Church, 1002 De Baca St., Carlsbad, for Gary Olguin Acosta of Artesia.

Acosta, 51, passed away Sunday, March 20, 2016, in Albuquerque.

Fr. Martin Cordero will officiate at the services, with interment to follow at the Carlsbad Cemetery. The New Mexico Army National Guard will provide military honors. Pallbearers will be Rudy Olguin, Greg Olguin, Phenix Cole, Leslie Carrasco, Billy Sapien, Marito Armendariz, Rudy Martinez and Rico Morales.

Visitation will be held from 2-5 p.m. Tuesday at Denton-Wood Funeral Home, 1001 N. Canal St., Carlsbad. A vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at San Jose Catholic Church.

Gary was born Dec. 28, 1964, in Carlsbad to Juan and Loretta Jean (Olguin) Acosta. He was raised in both Carlsbad and Artesia and graduated from Carlsbad High School in 1983.

After graduation, Gary worked for the Carlsbad Municipal Schools until joining the U.S. Navy in 1990. He was stationed in San Diego, Calif., and proudly served on the USS Vincennes.

During his service, he was in the Persian Gulf War and also travelled the globe, including Japan, Korea, the Middle East and South America. Following four years of service, he was honorably discharged and returned home, where Grandma Mickie and his family and friends gave him a hero’s welcome. He continued a career in the military by joining the U.S. Army National Guard, in which he served for nearly 20 years.

During this time, Gary also pursued a career in teaching. In 2011, he received his master’s degree in education from New Mexico State University-Carlsbad and was working on a doctorate from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales.

He taught in Hobbs, Loving, Lake Arthur and Carlsbad but found his calling in Artesia, where he taught and coached at Zia Intermediate School.

“Mr. Acosta” always gave his students support and encouragement, and pushed them to study and do their best for themselves. He also enjoyed coaching, which he continued after returning from the service. Gary coached girls’ softball, baseball, Little Cavemen Football, and was currently coaching football with the Artesia Public Schools.

Gary most of all enjoyed spending time with family and great friends. It was rare to find him home on weekends or holidays because he was out of town visiting family or good friends he made throughout his lifetime, especially his old shipmates from the USN. He enjoyed listening to music of all kinds, especially old songs that reminded him of times passed at Grandma Mickie’s. Gary also enjoyed spending time with his nieces and nephews, making them laugh, being silly with them, or giving them advice. He made a special place in his heart as well for his goddaughter, Karsyn. He was very happy to have her in his life.

Throughout the years, Gary would be known by many as “Gary Ganu,” “Uncle,” “Coach,” “Mr. Acosta” and, lovingly and lastly, “Nino Gary” by friends and family. Gary always thought of others before he thought of himself, and this showed most with his family, close friends, and students. He not only loved many but was loved by many and will be greatly missed.

Survivors include his father, Juan B. Acosta Jr., and wife Martha of Carlsbad; brothers John Michael Acosta and wife Lisa of Artesia and Jeffery Acosta and life partner Stormy Medina of Carlsbad; sister Valerie O. Cole of Carlsbad; stepbrother Joey Nevarez of Carlsbad; nieces and nephews Sabrina Marie, John Elvis and Jarod Michael Acosta of Artesia, Sabrina Leanne, Alexis and Kimberly Acosta or Carlsbad, and Phenix Cole of Portales; goddaughter Karsyn Jimenez of Artesia; and numerous aunts, uncles, close cousins, and a circle of amazing friends.

Arrangements are under the direction of Denton-Wood Funeral Home. Condolences may be expressed online at dentonwood.com.