John Shipman

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  • "John was a great guy, and a friend. I will miss him, as we..."
    - Don Haase
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    - Richard Bailey
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Shipman, John William

John William Shipmin. Birding. Vocal Music. Cooking, eating, local restaurant reviews and discussing gourmet food. Astronomy, reading and sharing books. Computers. Watching professional bull riding. John Shipman devoured all these interests and many more with the enthusiasm of a Renaissance man. Friends of John's in Socorro, in New Mexico, and around the world mourn his passing on January 31, 2017.

Always literal-minded, John was born in Jamestown, New York on Labor Day 1949 to Jack and Martha Shipman. After his father was stationed briefly in Deming during WWII and his parents saw the benefits of snow-less winters, they made the decision that New Mexico offered the ideal place to raise a family and chose Hobbs to make their home. John graduated from Hobbs High School in 1966 at the age of 17 as a National Merit Scholar and with an appointment to New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in the Cooperative Program. John graduated from Tech in 1971 and during his time at Tech found his emotional and spiritual home and interests fired by like-minded people. He studied computer science and upon graduation, had already secured a position with Hewlett-Packard in California. After living the California lifestyle for some ten years, he returned to Socorro and bought a home. He returned to Tech, this time teaching and inspiring many of his students.

He was a living example of how widespread interests could broaden one's life. One of John's proudest achievements was creating a database for Cornell's Laboratory of Ornithology-combining his love of all things avian and all things computer. He put thousands of miles on several cars as he chased rumors of rare or unusual birds in New Mexico and wherever the sightings may have taken him. After having taken vocal lessons during his California years, he tried out for what was known as the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Having been accepted, he was proud of the fact that in the decades with the Chorus, he had missed only two rehearsals - driving the 150 mile round trip as often as required. Music was one of his greatest joys and John sang with vocal groups in Socorro as well as several Tech musicals, "Bye-Bye Birdie" and the title role in " Die Fledermaus".

On December 16th, John sang in "The Messiah" with the New Mexico Symphonic Chorus. Soon afterwards, John was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. His wish was to return to Socorro and he spent the last week of his life receiving a constant stream of visitors at Good Samaritan Village, where he had a beautiful view of "M" Mountain. He died on January 31 surrounded by close friends.

John is survived by his sister, Sally Breeden and her husband, Jim of Albuquerque and family from Connecticut, New Jersey, Maine and Pennsylvania. Plans for a memorial service are being made and will be announced through several venues. In lieu of flowers, a GoFundMe account has been established in his name in order to provide scholarship to computer science students at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. To view information or leave a condolence, please visit

John's care has been entrusted to

Daniels Family Funeral Services

309 Garfield St

Socorro, NM 87801


Funeral Home
Daniels Family Funeral Services, Socorro Chapel
309 Garfield St.
Socorro, NM 87801
(575) 835-1530
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Published in Albuquerque Journal on Feb. 12, 2017