John Vernon “Popper” Mullins

John Vernon “Popper” Mullins


John Vernon “Popper” Mullins entered into the arms of Jesus on Sunday, May 1, 2022, at his residence in Silver City, N.M., surrounded by his loving family.

Vernon was born March 21, 1925, to Talbert and Honor Mullins in Quay, NM. As a young boy, he was very energetic and full of life and loved to explore.

As a grown man, Vernon lived a long life of service. In 1943, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in the South Pacific during World War II. He participated in action against the Japanese on Peleliu, Okinawa and in the occupation of Japan.

Following his time serving in the Marines, he met the love of his life, Mary Ragsdale. For several years, he supported his family as a mechanic and a heavy equipment operator.

In 1957, he joined the New Mexico State Police and continued to serve and protect New Mexicans until he retired as a lieutenant in 1984. In 1986, Vernon was elected Catron County sheriff and he served the county for two years. He also served for many years in his church.

Shortly after retiring, he and Mary started their own business, Gringo Adobe, where they made and sold adobe bricks. He enjoyed tinkering around his shop and yard and making entertainment equipment for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren to enjoy on their visits. During the annual Mullins’ reunion, he performed his magic hat trick for all the kids to enjoy.

One of his favorite pastimes was to tell stories of the past, whether it be about his mischievous childhood, his courageous time in World War II, his adventures on the state police, or his endearing children and grandchildren, Popper always had a story to tell or life advice to share.

Popper began a richly-blessed family when he and Mary married on May 1, 1948. He finished this race of life on their 74th wedding anniversary.

His legacy will continue on through his loving wife; son, Rodger “Rod” Mullins and wife, Catherine, of Blanco, N.M.; daughters, Verna Reed and husband, Hugh, of Silver City, and Karen Martinez and husband, Mondie, of Silver City; daughter-in-law, Susan Mullins, of Belen; sister, Phyllis Bergren and husband, Merle, of Cashmere, Wash.; 30 grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren and great great-grandchildren, along with many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, one son, Gillis Mullins; daughter, Joy Humbach; great-grandson, Zachary Davis; sister, Hazel Cooke; and brothers, Fletcher, Charles and Verdos Mullins.

A memorial service was held on Monday, May 9, at at Terrazas Funeral Chapels. Concluding service and inurnment followed at Fort Bayard National Cemetery with full military honors.

Cremation took place at Terrazas Crematory.

Arrangements are with Terrazas Funeral Chapels and Crematory “Trusted care for the ones you love” ~ 575-537-0777. To send condolences, visit

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