By Miguel Juarez (Updated January 5, 2021, 11:44 a.m.)

Juan Sandoval II passed away in his home this morning at 5:00 a.m.  Sandoval was born in Monte Vista, Colorado on January 7, 1946 and he would have celebrated his 75th birthday next Thursday. He was a former Special Collections Librarian and Art Bibliographer at the University of Texas at El Paso.  He received his MLS (Library Science) degree at the University of Denver in 1975 before moving to El Paso to work as a librarian in the 1980s.

Photograph of Juan Sandoval by Miguel Juarez.

Claudia Rivers, Director of the University of Texas at El Paso Department of Special Collections, who worked with Juan before his retirement. She said that his nephew, Raymond Griggs, had taken him home last week and had set up 24/7 hospice care for him.  Rivers said she visited him on Friday, December 18th and he told her: “If I die, tell my nephew ‘Good Luck,’ ”

Services are pending and a future memorial will probably be held online.

Photograph of Juan Sandoval by Miguel Juarez.

Juan was an avid art collector, who amassed a collection of over 1,000 works of Chicano and Latin American art over his life.  In a conversation with Sandoval, he said he was disillusioned with the creation and politics of the Mexican American Cultural Art Center, where he was originally going to donate his collection. Rivers said he was pleased he left a legacy through the donation of his art work to Mexic-Arte in Austin, Texas, where it is currently on display.

Readers are welcomed to send us their remembrances of the late Juan Sandoval II, so we can publish them in El Paso News. Please send your remembrances/stories/essays/poetry/photographs/drawings, etc. to: We will do some light editing, if needed. You can send a photograph to accompany your article, but it is not necessary. Please title your remembrance and provide a brief biography of yourself, if possible. Thank you.

Miguel Juarez

Miguel Juárez was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. He is a multi-disciplinary scholar, artist and Paseño (El Pasoan) and the Editor at El Paso News. He has an Master of Art degree in Library Science...

7 replies on “Art Collector and Former UTEP Librarian Juan Sandoval II Passes Away (January 7, 1946 – January 3, 2021)”

  1. Juan was a kind, caring, keenly astute man. His passion for art collection, as well as for art and artists was extraordinary. We have lost a great advocate for the arts, a loss we can ill afford.
    I am still saddened by El Paso’s loss of his wonderful art collection to Austin. Rest in Peace, my friend. We will continue the fight.

    1. Dr. Chew, we have edited the post. Hopefully, you will like our edits. You are welcomed to send us a remembrance of Juan for this series.

  2. Aw…I’m really saddened to hear this. It’s been years since I’ve spoken to him. He helped me so much academically when we were both new at UTEP. A great person, I think of him often and am happy to have introduced some of my students to him when we visited UTEP (from Houston) a few years ago. RIP Juan, you’ll be remembered fondly by many, I’m sure.

  3. Juan Sandoval was a UTEP campus icon for many years and was one of those colleagues that you always enjoyed running into on campus or at social events. Juan possessed a wry sense of humor and was a genuine humanist. He always told some of the best stories on campus and he will be missed by friends and colleagues throughout the hemisphere and beyond.

  4. Mr. Juan, as I called him, was a cheerful cynic, well-traveled storyteller, and the best explainer-of-all-things-library that a dazed & confused undergrad-grad student could ever want. He always told me to “go home” after too many hours spent in the library. Now he has gone home and I feel sorry for all the students that will never know the blessing of his wit and wisdom.

  5. I first met Juan at the Univ. of Denver where he and I were classmates earning our Master’s in Librarianship. Over the course of years, he was active in the Border Regional Library Association’s Southwest Books Awards as well as avidly collecting artwork. He was a true librarian to his students at UTEP. My heart is sad to see him go, Yes, may he rest in peace.

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