John Lee Cowdrey passed peacefully in his sleep on May 1, 2022. He was born in Gallup, NM on May 12, 1944 to Albert Fletcher Cowdrey and Virginia Lee Weatherford Cowdrey. Shortly after his birth, he moved to Albuquerque, NM and graduated from Rio Grande High School in 1962. He was a proud Aggie, and graduated from New Mexico State University in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science in Education and attained his Master of Arts in Educational Administration in 1975. No one needed to ask John what he thought about education; he would tell you whether you were a captive audience or not. Many friends and family attribute their success to John’s persistence.
In May 1979, he met the love of his life, Kim Sumption Cowdrey. John’s father told him shortly after meeting Kim for the first time, “You better marry her before she gets away.” John was not one to give shirk good advice, and he promptly married her in August 1980. They were happily married for almost 42 years.
John was a lifelong teacher, having taught with Las Cruces Public Schools from 1969-1979, Gallup-McKinley County Schools from 1980-1995, and again with Las Cruces Public Schools from 2003-2010. His teaching career spanned almost four decades. He was immensely proud that he was able to teach generations of students. When his former students would approach him in public, he would happily remark, “Remind me your name again! You have changed so much, and I hope I have changed so little!” Seeing his students always gave him great joy.
In his 77 years, John was blessed to raise his four children whom he adored. He was always there to give his advice, lend a hand, and just listen when his children needed him. He was a wonderful father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. The fond stories of John’s shenanigans that can be told by his family, children, (and his children’s friends) are endless.
John was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Bob, his sister Martha, beloved brother-in-law Otto, and his grandson, Kyler.
John is survived by his wife, Kim; his children Tony, Erin (Tom), David (Anna) & Shealee (Dan); brother Ron (Phyllis); grandchildren Codie, Kacie (Matt), Jessica, Gavin, Bodhi, Gia, Kinter Rose, Lyon, James, Vox, Cora, and Sevven; great-grandchildren Lilli, Tommy, & Grayson, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Pallbearers will be David Cowdrey, Tony Cowdrey, Gavin Bachman, Rod Cowdrey, Dean Cowdrey, and Mark Cucciardi. Honorary pallbearers will be Erin Bachman, Shealee Ferguson, Ronna Menapace, Tammy Chavez, Tracy Leroch, Robbie Pease, Todd Pease, Ricky Cowdrey, & Brad Sumption.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Dr. Karen M Trujillo Memorial Foundation.
A celebration of his life is scheduled for Thursday, May 12th (his 78th birthday) at La Paz-Graham’s Funeral Home at 11AM with a burial following at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Don Ferguson will officiate the services.
Arrangements are with La Paz-Graham’s Funeral Home at 555 West Amador Ave., Las Cruces, NM 88005
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Published by Perches – Graham’s Funeral Home (La Paz – Graham’s Funeral Home) on May 6, 2022.