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Delores Griggs

1932 - 2019
Delores Griggs

Alamogordo - Nancy Dolores Thayer Genta Griggs was born in Green Cove Springs, Florida on March 13, 1932 to Norman Smith Thayer and Nannie Mae Porter. Dolores' father, a WWI U.S. Army veteran passed away in 1940 leaving her mother to raise Dolores, her brother, Norman Smith Thayer, Jr. and her sister, Natalie Courtney Thayer. Dolores then had to help care for her brother and sister when her mother returned to work. Many Alamogordo children would ultimately benefit from Dolores' learning to nurture and care for others. In 1943 Dolores' mother, Nan, married Anthony P. (Tony) Genta who was stationed in Jacksonville, Florida during WWII. When Tony was shipped out, he sent the family to live near his parents in Raton, New Mexico. Raton was far different than sunny Florida.

Raton became home to Dolores and she made lifelong friends, Jean Choate and Audrey Evans. She was a cheerleader and an excellent student. She graduated from Raton High School in 1950 and started college at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales later that year. She was also a cheerleader for the Greyhounds. During her sophomore year a cataclysmic event happened and she married Jimmy Ray Griggs, a basketball player from Clovis, in January of 1952. Their first child, James Ronald was born in October 1952, with Nancy Jean following in 1954, and Jeffrey Ray in 1963.

Dolores and Jim moved to Alamogordo in 1954 where Jim started his career in teaching and coaching. The demands of raising two small children kept Dolores at home. When Ron and Nancy started school, Dolores became active in Cub Scouts, Brownies, and the Oregon Elementary PTA. When she was president of the PTA, the organization funded the footbridge across the ditch to help students have a safe place to cross. Dolores and Jim moved around Alamogordo as Jim built several homes for the family. In 1969 they settled at 2107 Cornell. With the exception of a short hiatus in the 1980's and her final years at the Aristocrat, that would be her home for the remainder of her life.

It was also in 1969 that she became the librarian at Sierra Elementary School where she touched the lives of many Alamogordo children. In the 1970's she was a devoted mother to Jeff and played major roles in his budding career as a magician and entertainer. Ron and Nancy both left Alamogordo in the 1970's and when Jeff graduated from NMSU in 1985, she and Jim became bonafide empty-nesters. In 1980 she gained the coveted title of grandmother, when her first grandchild, Jennifer Erin Griggs, was born. Erin was soon followed by Stacey Deanne Rich, Jonathan Reid Griggs, Kristin Michelle Rich, and Kelsey Rae Rich. Kids and grandkids became the major focus of her life. The kids became even more important to her when Jim passed away in April of 1999.

Dolores grew up during the time when little girls watched and dreamed of becoming Miss America. She didn't get to participate in that program herself but she did win the title of Mrs. Southern New Mexico in the mid 1950's. She was then first runner-up in the Mrs. New Mexico pageant. She encouraged Nancy to participate in pageants and Nancy won the title of Miss Alamogordo. She was excited and proud when Nancy was chosen as a Sun Duchess in 1976. She then instilled the love of pageants in her granddaughters and both Erin and Stacey participated in the Miss New Mexico pageant. Dolores got to live one of her dreams when Erin became Miss New Mexico in 2002 and Dolores got to be part of the Miss America experience in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Dolores also had an experience few people from New Mexico can claim. On December 14, 2001 she was with her son Jeff when he presented a painting of President George W. Bush to the President in the Roosevelt room across from the Oval Office. She proudly displayed photographs of that special day. After living in Alamogordo for nearly 50 years, she made the front page of the Alamogordo Daily News with the President of the United States.

Another experience that stood out in her life was attending "The Ellen Show" in Los Angeles with her granddaughter, Kristin. Country singer Luke Bryan, while singing one of his signature songs, "Country Girl, Shake it for Me", asked her to dance with him in the aisle. The bump was never done so well. That little deal put her on national TV.

After Jim passed away Dolores stayed busy with friends and family until her health began to decline and she chose to move to the Aristocrat Assisted Living Facility. She made many friends there and everyone remembers her beautiful white hair and friendly smile. A fall and broken arm caused a serious decline in her health and she went to be with Jim on July 8, 2019.

Dolores was preceded in death by her husband of 47 years, Jim Griggs, her father Norman Smith Thayer, her mother Nan Genta, her step-father Tony Genta and her brother, Norman Smith Thayer, Jr.

She is survived by two sons, Ron Griggs and his wife Joan, of Alamogordo and Jeff Griggs of Los Angeles, California, and a daughter Nancy Griggs of Albuquerque. She has five grandchildren, Erin Regrutto (Ryan) of Spokane, Washington, Stacey Paxson of Albuquerque, Reid Griggs (Crystal) of Alamogordo, Kristin Schleymeyer (Hunter) of Memphis, Tennessee, and Kelsey Hall (Jordan) of Colorado Springs, Colorado. She has fourteen great-grandchildren, Adi Regrutto, Milli Regrutto, Edison Regrutto, Benson Regrutto, Hope Paxson, Seth Paxson, Cord Paxson, Belle Paxson, Madison Griggs, James Griggs, Henry Schlemeyer, Liam Hall, Brady Hall, and Lilly Hall. She is also survived by her sister Natalie Clark of Naugatuck, Connecticut, her brother and sister in-law, John and Toots Green of Alamogordo, sister in-law Martha Thayer of Albuquerque, and brother and sister in-law Bill and LaVerne Griggs of Lubbock, Texas in addition to numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

In addition to being a school librarian Dolores loved to bake. She baked and decorated beautiful wedding cakes and cakes for almost any occasion. She taught girls Sunday school at First Baptist Church for many years, loved to host family gatherings where cakes, pies and cookies were on full display, and absolutely loved to work all sorts of puzzles.

Dolores was a wonderful, caring woman who had a great life and lived it well.

In lieu of flowers, she has requested donations be sent to the NM Baptist Children's Home, PEO New Mexico Scholarship or the . Services are pending.

The Griggs family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Alamogordo Funeral Home to direct the arrangements.

To sign the online register book, please visit
Published in Alamogordo Daily News on July 11, 2019
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