In the early morning moments of November 1, 2022, Marguerite Lara Salazar, 69 of Alamosa, CO, left this earth at the speed of light, as she sped across the Rocky Mountains and made a right toward the Himalayas, a small voice could be heard whispering “go fast Nana”. Marguerite was born on May 31, 1953, to Max and Cordelia Lara. After graduating from Centauri High School in La Jara, CO in 1971 she went on to study Psychology at Colorado State University – Fort Collins and Adams State College – Alamosa, where she received a master’s degree.
While in college, she met Arnold Salazar and they wed in 1976, going on to have two children, Ursula and Max.
After graduation, she landed her first job as a therapist for the Mental Health Center in Alamosa before being appointed the president and CEO of Valley-Wide Health Systems where she would stay for 20 years. It was during this time she discovered the world of public service and found her respect for justice, and fought for access to healthcare, working with underserved populations. Outside of work she found a passion for working for the Democratic Party and continued to be involved until her passing. She was heavily involved in the landmark case Sanchez v. Colorado that ensured voting rights.
In 2010 President Barack Obama appointed her as the U.S. Health and Human Services Director for Region 8 where she continued to advocate for underserved populations which included 33 Federally Recognized Tribes in 6 states. One of her primary challenges was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
In 2013, Governor John Hickenlooper appointed Marguerite to be the insurance commissioner for the Colorado Division of Insurance. She was immediately faced with managing the 2013 wildfire season. Then in 2017, she was appointed to direct the Department of Regulatory Agencies where she oversaw banking, securities, regulation and licensing, civil rights, real estate, and public utilities commission. She continued this work in the state of New Mexico under Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and included regulation of manufactured housing, alcohol, carnivals, Barbers and Cosmetology, MMA, and pushed for and was able to pass green energy codes which had not been updated in the past 20 years.
Throughout her life, she served as a public servant, the foundation for her extended family, and the population at large. Nothing made her happier than to have her family surrounding her at the Barn at La Manzanilla. Whether it be at public events or private parties, Marguerite could be found in the middle ensuring that everyone felt at home.
She was predeceased by her father Max Lara and mother Cordelia Lara. She is survived by her husband Arnold Salazar; son Max Salazar; daughter Ursula Salazar; her two grandchildren Marcos and Alicia Jacquez; sisters Vivian Araujo (Raul), Maxine Gomez (Placido), and Patti Lara; brothers Mark Lara (Marian) and Ray Lara (Diane); mother-in-law Anna Maria Pacheco; sisters-in-law Elizabeth Pacheco, Sarah Manzanares (Charles), Lillian Gomez (Pete), Isabelle (Carmel) Cordova and Christina Pacheco; brothers-in-law Richard Pacheco, Alfred Pacheco (Nancy) and Lawrence Pacheco (Tamara); many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Memorial Service will be held November 12th, 2022, 11 a.m. at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church in La Jara, Colorado. Reception to follow at The Barn at La Manzanilla, Alamosa, Colorado. Funeral arrangements will be handled by Romero Funeral Home in Alamosa, Colorado.