Serving the High Plains

COVID-19 victim 'a man of values'

Warren Frost called him “the consummate farmer and rancher, always on the cutting edge of new developments.”

Thom Moore said he was “a man of values. Just an upstanding citizen. A huge supporter of rural eastern New Mexico.”

And Lance Adkins said, “He was solid gold. I can’t believe he’s gone.”

By all accounts, eastern New Mexico lost one of its finest citizens early Saturday following his diagnosis with coronavirus.

Paul Quintana, 76, was hospitalized in Tampa after contracting COVID-19 on a cruise ship. According to a story in early April in the Miami Herald, Quintana was one of 12 people who initially tested positive for COVID-19 on the Coral Princess cruise ship, ported in Miami. He had been in critical condition for weeks prior to his death.

His wife, in the same cabin on the ship as her husband, has shown no symptoms of the disease, friends said.

Quintana’s death is the first in eastern New Mexico attributed to COVID-19, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.

State officials said 58 New Mexico residents have died from conditions related to COVID-19, as of Monday.

Quintana will be missed across the region, friends said.

He served on multiple boards, including Tucumcari Federal Savings and Loan Association for 25 years. He was on the board of directors for decades at Farmers Electric Cooperative, said Adkins, the FEC general manager.

Adkins said he will always remember Quintana’s dedication.

“He was always very involved, always came to the meetings prepared,” Adkins said.

“Me and the accounting manager would always have a discussion several days before the board meetings to think about what kind of questions Paul might be asking so we could be prepared to answer them.”

Indeed, said FEC Director of Member Services Thom Moore, Quintana cared deeply about the coop and worked hard to be sure it represented its members well.

“He was also one of the best guys I’ve ever known,” Moore said. “And he raised a great family.”

Frost, a Tucumcari attorney, described Quintana as “a lifelong friend of my family. I’ve known him since I was a little kid. He was just a great community leader … someone every community needs more of.”

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