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José M. Serna


1943 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery

José M. Serna, 73, entered eternal rest on June 8, 2016, surrounded by his loving family after a courageous battle with cancer. He was born April 7, 1943, in Alamogordo, N.M., to Francisco and Elvira Marquez Serna, and was a member of the Shrine & Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

José is survived by his wife of 50 years, Betty Jo Serna; daughters, Sonja Jo Serna of Las Cruces, N.M.; Veronica Jo Shaw (Nathan) of Chandler, Ariz.; Patricia Jo Santoscoy (Ernest) of Corrales, N.M.; Luisa Jo Lopez (Mark) of Las Cruces, N.M.; his grandchildren, Estevan Romero, Dakota Serna, Christopher Jacob Santoscoy, David Serna Holguin, Shaun Alyssa Santoscoy, Aleah Jo Lopez, Marcos José Lopez, Jonathan Joe Shaw, and Samuel José Lopez.
He is also survived by his brother, Robert (Ichi) of Alamogordo, N.M.; and sisters, Maria Ramos (Modesto) of Tularosa, N.M.; Rosa Conn (Bill) of Alamogordo, N.M.

José was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers, Frank, Tony and Chuy Serna.

José was a talented high school athlete, and enjoyed playing basketball and baseball. He was a standout pitcher and is quoted as saying, "Size doesn't matter."
In 1960, at just 17 years old, José survived a horrific car accident which nearly ended his life. He sustained severe injuries but did not slow down as he relied on crutches to walk during his graduation from Alamogordo High School in 1961, with his senior quote, "I'm Gonna Be a Wheel Some Day."

After his accident he found solitude visiting La Jolla, California, while he sat at the Cove to read, reflect on his life and future, and listen to the ocean. Into his adulthood, he often visited La Jolla and continued his walks to the Cove to relax and reflect.
When José was 15, he met a young girl from Bent, N.M., and made her his wife and mother of their four daughters. José and Betty Jo (Telles) were married in 1965, at Saint Francis de Paula Catholic Church in Tularosa, and celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary on Oct. 28, 2015, with a memorable family gathering.

Soon after their marriage José and Betty Jo moved to Albuquerque where he attended UNM, then moved back to Tularosa and Alamogordo, completing his Bachelors of Science in Mathematics in 1970. Over the years, José moved his family between Tularosa, Alamogordo and White Rock while working at Holloman Air Force Base and EG&G (Defense Contractor) as a computer programmer.

In 1975, Jose's family settled in Las Cruces where he worked as a Mathematician with the Physical Science Laboratory and retired as Program Manager of Applied Analysis in 1998. He was a gifted provider which allowed his Wife to make a house their Home, raise four daughters, and help raise and guide their nine grandchildren.
After retirement, José co-founded Border Health, a partnership which assisted New Mexico small business owners expand their markets. He joined the board of Border Environmental Health Coalition (BEHC) where he was elected president and became a vital part of the organization. During his tenure, he was also secretary and treasurer of the coalition.

José loved visiting family and friends, exchanging stories and reminiscing about the good old days. He was a humble and giving man with a tender side. It was not uncommon for him to give someone the coat off his back or the last few dollars in his pocket. While undergoing chemo this past fall, he was determined to deliver his yearly Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing and potatoes to the Gospel Rescue Mission. Although he could not shop for the items, he had a grocery list and insisted on paying as he waited in the pickup while his family did the shopping and he made the delivery.

José enjoyed philosophical conversations and was an avid reader. He would easily read two or three books a week, visit COAS Bookstore, and pass along his favorites to family and friends. He loved playing pool and often entered small tournaments around town. The advice he shared with his pool-playing daughters, "It's not about this shot-- it's about lining up your next one."
José enjoyed spending time in "Grandpa's Shed" refurbishing and creating wooden treasures, which found their special place in the homes of his daughters and grandchildren.

José took pride in his beautiful backyard and garden, he loved his porch where he would often relax after a long day, enjoy a cold beer with his "Vieja" and listen to his favorite Mexican music. He had a soft side for his dog, "Chika" who anxiously waited for her treat and his bird, "Güero" which he covered every night to keep warm. José looked forward to warm temperatures when Turtles #1, #2 and #3 would come to the porch for the food he had left for them.

If there was one thing José disliked, it was a dirty vehicle. At a young age, he took pride in having the cleanest and shiniest car as he cruised the streets of Alamogordo. He always had a bucket of water and chamois in the garage to wipe down his pickup and his "Vieja's" car. When his daughters visited, they could count on their windshield being wiped free of bugs and dust.

Over the years, José was a member of the Knights of Columbus in Alamogordo (Grand Knight) and in Las Cruces Council #1226. More recently, José was a member of the Cemetery Crew at Our Lady of Guadalupe where he enjoyed volunteering his time. He cherished the friendships and treasured the time spent with crew members who were close to his heart.

Although José left before his family was ready, memories of a wonderful Husband, perfect Father and loving Grandfather, will remain in their hearts forever.

Jose's services will be held Thursday, June 16, 2016, at Shrine & Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe 3600 Parroquia Street, Tortugas, New Mexico. Rosary will begin at 10 a.m., Funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m., Father Valentine officiating. Family and friends are invited to the reception immediately following in the Parish Hall.

Donations to Benefit the Our Lady of Guadalupe Cemetery Fund
Payable to: Shrine & Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Mail to: PO Box 298, Mesilla Park, NM 880047
Memo: Memory of José M. Serna

Service arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Baca's Funeral Chapels of Las Cruces and Sunset Crematory, 300 E. Boutz Road, Las Cruces 575-527-2222. For online condolences logon to www.bacasfuneralchapelslascruces.com
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from June 15 to July 14, 2016
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