By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer
Noe Anzaldua wanted all of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be together for the holidays.
A longtime Muleshoe resident, radio station manager and on-air personality, Anzaldua died in a one-vehicle rollover Thursday night while bringing his family together.
Traveling with his wife of 52 years, Viola, Anzaldua had picked up his great-grandchild, Fernando Rodriguez, 10, in Lovington, and headed for Littlefield, Texas, to be with other family members, said Anzaldua’s daughter, Mimi Garza.
Anzaldua, 71, was driving on Farm-to-Market Road 298 in Bailey County when his 2003 Honda sport utility vehicle veered to the south side of the road. Anzaldua overcorrected twice, which caused him to slide off the south side of the road into a small burrow ditch and his SUV rolled over 1 1/2 times, officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
Anzaldua was not wearing his seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. He died later at a nearby hospital, officials said.
Rodriguez, uninjured in the accident, attempted to use a cell phone to call police, but couldn’t get service in the remote area, Garza said.
After a passing car didn’t stop to help, Rodriguez walked a half mile to a residence and called for help, Garza said.
Viola Anzaldua suffered a broken collar bone and will be released today from the hospital, Garza said.
Anzaldua was a jokester who loved to make his 13 great-grandchildren and 10 grandchildren laugh.
“He wore dentures. He’d pull them out and scare his grandchildren, then they’d all laugh,” said Juan Garza, Anzaldua’s son-in-law.
Anzaldua’s family said he was passionate about music, dancing and speaking to his community on radio station KMUL, where he worked for 48 years, Mimi Garza said.
“He liked to play music and tell jokes over the radio. He’d make people feel good about themselves — if they work on a field, whoever they are, by dedicating songs,” Juan Garza said.
Anzaldua’s family described him as a jack-of-all-trades. He owned a bail bond company, sold cars and houses, translated for Spanish speaking people in court, and served in the U.S. Army, Mimi Garza said.
Anzaldua liked to dance to Cumbia music (salsa style) and eat, Juan Garza said. “He’d eat anything. Even if he had just eaten, he’d eat whatever was put on the table.”
Born in Mercedes, Texas, Anzaldua moved to Muleshoe in 1957. He remained loyal to his family and would travel to southern Texas each year to visit his three sisters, Mimi Garza said.
Anzaldua was a member of Muleshoe Immaculate Conception Church.