A Building Industry Giant
March 1950 – November 2008
There are many reasons why people move to Las Cruces, but for Mario Bellestri, there was a very special one…Pat Bellestri-Martinez. Mario moved here in 1983 to marry Pat and they chose to build their Talavera area home out of rammed-earth. They trained in the process, completed their 14-sided home and in 1985, initiated their business, Soledad Canyon Earth Builders.
Mario championed both the New Mexico and the Las Cruces Home Builders Associations and served as president for both groups. Mario and Pat, along with their company, Soledad Canyon Earth Builders, received recognitions from the Doña Ana Arts Council, Las Cruces Home Builders Association, New Mexico’s Best-Green Custom Homes and The Doña Ana County Historical Society.
Pat’s direct involvement with the company from day one is allowing her to keep it moving forward under her own umbrella of leadership and guidance. “After 25 years of building homes, building relationships and building our lives in Las Cruces,” Pat relates, “I am going to continue building Soledad Canyon Earth Builders. It is the option that speaks to my soul, the option that floats right to the top. I want to continue creating homes for families. I want to continue creating friendships and working relationships with the people in this industry. I want to continue creating friendships with the people we will build for. I want to continue building Las Cruces. With a few details out of the way I will move forward with my family, my on-site building crew and my office staff. We will make Mario proud. We will continue a business he created in 1985 – building energy efficient, resource mindful, long lasting homes.”
Rammed earth is a solid, and ancient, process that lends itself well to current Southwest green building initiatives. The success of the company, however, may have more to do with the detailed teamwork that became the trademark of Mario and Pat. They were involved in almost every facet of planning with the customer before construction ever started, from choosing the property to picking appliances and fixtures. Their passion for the work is highlighted in customer testimonials relating to the early design process made less stressful by their patience and good humor.
Vaya con Dios, Mario.