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1937 Johnny 2024

Johnny S. Volpato

June 30, 1937 — June 2, 2024

Raton, New Mexico

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Johnny S. Volpato, 86, passed away at his home in Raton, NM on June 2, 2024, surrounded by his family and loved ones. A funeral service is scheduled for Saturday, June 15, 2024 at Lighthouse Church in Raton, NM at 10:00 AM. There will be a graveside service Saturday, June 22, 2024 at Sunset Gardens Cemetery in Carlsbad, NM at 2:00 PM. A celebration of life will be held following the graveside service at Balzano Vineyard, 5230 Seven Rivers Hwy., Carlsbad, NM.

Johnny was born June 30, 1937, in Brilliant NM, to Enrico and Gemma (Balzano) Volpato. The family then moved to Koehler, NM where Johnny attended school. In 1946, he moved to Maxwell, NM to help his family run the family farm and dairy. Johnny graduated from Maxwell High School in May 1955. After graduation, he moved to Carlsbad NM, to work for his aunt and uncle, Claude and Kay McCausland, at the airport for the summer. In the fall Johnny enrolled at the University of New Mexico, majoring in pharmacy. He also joined Sigma Chi fraternity where he made numerous lifelong friends. Johnny graduated in 1960 with a pharmacy degree and had also enlisted in the Air Force Reserve. He had the rank of Captain and served his duty at Walker Air Force Base in Roswell, NM. After graduation, Johnny took a position at Community Drug in Albuquerque where he met Elaine Henry. Johnny and Elaine were married in 1961 and moved to Carlsbad, NM to work at Platt Drug. His son Jack was born in 1961 and his daughter Sherry was born in 1963. In 1967, Johnny became employed at Corner Drug Store and then bought the store in 1967. He was elected to the Carlsbad City Council in 1968 and served until 1980 and was Mayor pro tem. Johnny was a founding member of the Carlsbad Jaycees and served on the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, American Bank Board and was a member of the Elks Lodge. He also served on the New Mexico Amigos from 1975 to 1980.

Johnny loved the outdoors and had a passion for gardening, flowers, and plants. He was very adventurous, and would often go caving, hiking, and camping. Johnny was also a thrill seeker, owning a hang glider, hot air balloon and on one occasion attempted skydiving. 

In 1980, his wife Elaine passed away, and at that time Johnny came to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior. In 1985, he moved to Raton, NM and worked at his brother’s pharmacy, Kenn’s Pharmacy. He met Mary Bird at church, and they were married in 1986. Mary and Johnny lived on Bartlett Mesa Road in the mountains, surrounded by wildlife and flowers. They were well known for their care of the bears on the mountain. Mary passed away in a tragic car accident in 2005. Johnny married Ellen Sharknas in 2006 and relocated off the mountain into town. He served as a Colfax County Commissioner from 2002 to 2006. Johnny retired as a pharmacist from Miner’s Colfax Hospital in 2013. He was very involved with Crime Stoppers and his church until he passed away. One of Johnny’s most passionate causes was Kairos prison ministry. He would go once a month, for the weekend to the prison in Dalhart, TX and minister to the inmates. Johnny recounted many stories of inmates finding God which gave them hope. He would pray and share his testimony with anyone in need.

Johnny was preceded in death by his parents, Enrico “Rico” and Gemma Volpato; both wife’s Elaine Volpato and Mary Volpato and step-son Jim Bird.

Survivors include his wife, Ellen of Raton, NM; son, Jack Volpato and Julie of Carlsbad, NM; daughter, Sherry and Steve Boyd of Carlsbad, NM; step-children, Lorna and Michael Calley of Naples FL, Tim and Chrisy Bird of Raton, NM, Robin Bird of Phoenix AZ, Tina Bird of Raton, NM, Daniel and Michelle Zimmer of McKinney TX, Kristine and Scot Dees of Trinidad, CO, Kendra and Edgar Paz of La Veta ,CO, Susan Sharknas of Trinidad, CO, and John David Sharknas of Trinidad, CO, along with 20 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers the family would like memorial contributions given to the Kairos Prison Ministry, PO Box 44, Dalhart TX, 79022 or your charity of choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Johnny S. Volpato, please visit our flower store.


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