New Mexico Health Secretary Retta Ward died in Santa Fe Thursday, March 3 after what law enforcement reported was a single-car accident believed to have been caused by some sort of medical problem. She did not appear to have any trauma from the accident.
Ward, 62, had headed the department, the largest state agency, since January 2013. She previously served as Cabinet secretary of the Aging and Long-Term Services Department, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.
The following is a statement released by Gov. Susana Martinez:
“I am completely heartbroken to hear that Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward has passed away.
“She was an amazing public servant who enjoyed her job immensely and earned the respect of her fellow colleagues. Retta joined my administration in 2011, and approached improving public health in our state with great passion and a quiet confidence that helped her bring people together. She was kind and caring – always.
“I will personally miss Retta very, very much, and so will her fellow cabinet secretaries and staff who I know are grieving the loss of a true friend and leader. I ask all New Mexicans to keep Retta’s family in their prayers.”