John Roy Kirkpatrick


John Roy Kirkpatrick

John Roy Kirkpatrick, husband, father, grandfather, forester and good friend to many, passed away at the age of 80 on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, surrounded by his loving family.

John was born in Bellingham, Wash., on Saturday, April 18, 1942, to Dahl and Charletta (Hoover) Kirkpatrick. His family moved to Albuquerque in 1950; he graduated from Highland High School in 1960.

He married a St. Pius girl, Carolyn Chavez, in 1963. They had two sons, John and Jason, while simultaneously attending Northern Arizona University, School of Forestry.

John graduated from NAU in 1966, and began a long, successful career with the U.S. Forest Service. During his career, he was a smoke jumper, district ranger (Flagstaff and Roosevelt, Ariz.), forest supervisor (San Juan National Forest, Colo.), Washington, D.C. staff assistant (long-range planning), fire director, Southwest region and finally deputy regional forester, Southwestern region.

Among his many land management accomplishments in the Southwestern region, John promoted major forest fuel management activities reducing fire hazards in Northern Arizona and New Mexico forests. John was known as a humorous, positive, thoughtful, no-nonsense leader with an uncanny ability to see through issues.

John had many interests. He loved rebuilding cars and hot-rodding as a teen and rebuilt a farm tractor as a retiree. He was an avid hunter, who reloaded his shells (sometimes called “duds”).

He was an enthusiast and avid reader of Southwestern history, particularly the Santa Fe Trail in New Mexico. He retired in Albuquerque and enjoyed many years camping with his adored grandchildren, hunting, traveling, and spending time on his Tomé alfalfa farm with family.

John is survived by Carolyn, his wife of 59 years; sons, John (Yvonne Tabet), and Jason (Leslie Rail); grandkids, Ryan, Kevin, Jane, John Leo and Jackson; niece, Lara; nephews, Aaron and Jeff; aunt, Marjorie Hover; and his beloved dog, Piper.

His parents and his sister, Elsie Jo Kimbrell, preceded him in death.

A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m., Monday, Feb. 20, at FRENCH- Wyoming.

Please visit our online guest book for John at

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