Music 02

John Secrest Jr.

May 2, 1947 ~ July 15, 2023 (age 76) 76 Years Old
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On July 15, 2023, John Secrest Jr, 76, long time resident of Otero County, NM, passed away suddenly while on a drive in the mountains. Many knew John from various chapters of his well lived life and to list it all would require writing an extensive novel. He was an ambitious entrepreneur, multiple business owner, and an active member of many organizations. Most importantly he was generous, never met a stranger, an animal lover, and spoke of his ample faith in God.

John was born on May 2, 1947, in Paris, Tx, to John “J.R.” and Kitty Secrest. He was the middle child of the three children born to them. Most of John’s childhood was spent in Carlsbad, NM, where he played baseball for many years. In 1965, John moved to and graduated high school in Odessa,TX. Shortly after, he (and his first wife) welcomed a daughter, Angie, and then another daughter, Toni. John attended NMSU, obtaining an Associates in Arts and a Bachelors in Business Administration. John had undeniable ambition to pursue being an entrepreneur and he wasn’t about to slow down.

In 1974, John met the love of his life Olga. The happen chance meeting turned into a relationship of 48 years; married for 41 of those years. They moved to Alamogordo in 1975 to help J.R. and Kitty run the Toms distributorship with snack vending machines and stocking store shelves with Toms products. A few years passed by during which John and Olga welcomed a son, John III, and a daughter, Claire. In 1993, John and Olga took over the Toms business upon his parent’s retirement. Life was good but John could not deny how much he longed to be in business for himself and quickly began developing many businesses from the ground up and would continue for years to come. John, with Olga faithfully by his side, quickly set to work going from one business venture to another, often managing more than one or three at a time! He also included his children in every aspect of helping run the family owned businesses. This is where they met so many people in the community that grew to everyone knowing John by some encounter in one of the many chapters in the book of his life.

Perhaps you met him while he was out restocking snack vendors or delivering chips all over Otero County. Aside from the Toms business, he had rental properties, a shoe shine stand at the mall, the Barn Door restaurant/store in Mayhill, Three Rivers Trading Post, Southwest Advertising (brochures), and began a distributing route for Pistachios from McGinn’s and Eagle Ranch all over the state of NM. For many though, the biggest interactions took place at his business of the Plaza Pub and/or the Golden Spur. This is where John liked to spend most of his time talking to people; sharing stories over beers and good food! He was also quite the prankster and never passed an opportunity for a good laugh. He loved music and was an avid harmonica player. He would often jump on stage at either the Plaza or the Spur to join the band and play his harmonica. Those were the years! He never met a stranger and would help out anyone that was down on their luck however he could. As time went on businesses were sold and new ones would be started. In 2007, John decided to build a package store in Chaparral aptly named, Secrest Market. This was the final business venture he completed before his passing. In 2016, he and Olga retired from the long run vending business to focus solely on the store because business was booming! This is where he spent the last few years tending to the store, making many friendships with the patrons, and spending time with the animals in his petting zoo. John was an immense animal lover and spoiled every creature he brought home, which was many. He often hosted field trips to his petting zoo so the local children could come feed and pet the animals. 

John wasn’t just an entrepreneur but also a philanthropist. He was heavily involved in many charitable organizations but the ones he took the most pride in were the Rotary Club of Alamogordo and being a Freemason of Sacramento lodge #24. Not only was he president of Rotary club from 94/95 and a recipient of the Paul Harris award, he had 38 years of perfect attendance to which he proudly carried a card stating such an achievement. The Rotary Club frequently made trips to Mexico with Dr. Ham to perform eye surgeries on cataract patients and John was typically in attendance to assist where he could. He also took great enjoyment in running the Rotary Club “Duck Pond” at the County Fair each year. Those of you who have raised families in Alamogordo probably had children who received a small trinket from this booth. John really loved watching children’s eyes light up when they received a small toy and just how much joy it brought them from something so simple.

Freemasonry has been an honor of the Secrest gentlemen for many generations. John was the 4th generation of his family to take the oath. He was Master of his lodge in 1995 and a committed member for 34 years. This is where many of his ideals to be humble and charitable were refined. John is preceded in death by his father, John, mother, Kitty, and older sister, Sheila Secrest. He is survived by his wife, Olga, daughter Angie Secrest, daughter Toni (husband Andrew) Clark, son John Secrest III (wife Autumn), daughter Claire Secrest (fiancé Allen Moore), his younger sister, Marsha Griffin, along with several nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind great nephew, Tim Parkinson, whom he thought of as more like a son, and 7 grandchildren: Alena Clark, Mitchell Clark, Amelia Secrest, Julianna Secrest, John Secrest IV, Aaron Secrest, and Cienna Moore.

The family has entrusted the care of their loved one to Alamogordo Funeral Home. They will be hosting a memorial service on July 31, 2023, at 10:00 am, with graveside service to follow at Monte Vista Cemetery for interment.

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Memorial Service
July 31, 2023

10:00 AM
Alamogordo Funeral Home Chapel
2301 First Street
Alamogordo, NM 88310


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