John Hakanson lost his long fight to Parkinson’s May 17, 2020. He was born December 11, 1942 in Ellensburg, Washington to John and Mae (Burgess) Hakanson. The family, then, moved to a farm in the Yakima Valley.
John graduated from Toppenish High School in 1961 and then attended Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. During his junior year, John and some of his fraternity brothers decided to go somewhere else. They threw darts and the winning one landed in New Mexico. The group attended the University of New Mexico. It was here that John met his wife, Kristin Kirk. They were married in December of 1965. The joke was that he lost a dart game but gained a wife.
John went back to Washington and graduated from Central Washington University in Ellensburg in 1966. He then moved back to New Mexico.
One day while playing golf with his father-in-law in Deming, New Mexico, he met the Superintendent of Deming Schools. He was hired to teach English at the high school. At Deming High School, he sponsored plays, helped start the baseball team and refereed basketball. John was elected “Teacher of the Year”. He earned his master’s degree from Western New Mexico University.
After teaching for three years, John quit and went to work for Select Western Lands. He became interested in politics and served as Vice-Chairman of the Luna County Republican Party. Later, he was elected Probate Judge. While serving as Probate Judge, John became interested in the law. In 1984, at the age of forty-two, he went back to school at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He earned his juris doctorate degree in 1987 and was inducted into the Order of the Barristers. John was licensed to practice law in New Mexico and Kansas and did so until his retirement in 2016.
John loved to hunt and fish. He was an Eagle Scout, a member of the Alamogordo Foundation, the Alamogordo Rotary Club (with a thirty-year perfect attendance), the Elks, and the Eagles. He attended Grace United Methodist Church and served as an usher and on various boards.
John is survived by his wife Kris, his son Chip and wife Darla of Decatur, Texas, son Eric of Albuquerque, grandsons Carter and Seth of Decatur, sister-in-law Anita Achay of Albuquerque and many cousins most of whom are in Sweden.
He was preceded in death by his father, mother, stepmother Alma, and sister Hilda.
A memorial service will be held for John at Grace United Methodist Church on Friday, July 10th, 2020 at 1:00 pm.
The family has entrusted the care of their loved one to Scenic Chapel to direct the services.
The family would like to thank many people who helped John during his final years. They include Susan Marshall, Judy Ratliff, Encompass Hospice Group, and the Carey Marquez Home Health Care including Carey, Andrew, Maria, Letty, and Elizabeth.
If someone would like to make a donation in John’s name, please do so to the charity or organization of your choice.
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