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In Memory of Sammie Singh Sr.

New Mexican Pecan Grower

Sammie Singh, Sr. in June 1978.

In loving memory of SAMMIE QUESADA SINGH, SR., he was a caring father, grandfather, uncle, friend, and mentor, who rejoined our heavenly father on Friday, July 7, 2023, while at home surrounded by his family. Sammie lived a beautiful and fulfilling 91 years of life.

Orphaned at only 16 years of age, life presented its challenges, but it was in his nature to overcome and rise above. At 18 years old, he followed his father’s wishes and attended his first semester at New Mexico College of Agriculture, now New Mexico State University. Knowing that he would much rather learn by doing, he made an agreement with his guardian, Frank Papen, and his late father’s trusted attorney, W.C. Watley, to allow him one year to learn the trade of agriculture by raising his own farm on a small piece of land that was left to him by his father. If he could turn a profit, he would be allowed to go against his father’s wishes and continue farming, but if he did not, he agreed that he would return and finish his degree. He won that deal and never went back to school.

Sammie would go on to become an accomplished farmer who dabbled in a large variety of crops including cotton, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, onions, cantaloupe, tomatoes, chile, pimentos, corns, alfalfa, flowers, grains, and, of course, most notably, pecans. Recognized as a farming icon of the Southwest and an outstanding businessman within the Mesilla Valley, his expertise and opinion were sought after from every corner of the farming industry and beyond. He served for several years on both the Board of Directors for the Southwest Irrigated Pecan Growers and the Bank of the Rio Grande. Additionally, he was appointed by Governor Garrey Carruthers to the Interstate Stream Commission where he honorably served a full 6-year term. Although he was invited to serve an additional term by Governor Bruce King, he declined the offer, choosing to return to the work he was truly the most passionate about: his own farm. He would go on to be invited to serve on several boards and was even nominated as Farmer of the Year in New Mexico; however, he often chose to politely decline these offers as they would take away too much time from his farming, which was where he chose to spend his time. He was able to accomplish the dream of many—to never work a day in his life because he loved what he did.

Sammie Singh was an incredible family man, but none of that would have been possible if it was not for the love of his life and cherished wife Martina Singh. They first met at the Diez y Seis de Septiembre Fiesta in Old Mesilla in 1952, and it did not take Sammie long to know he had won a true prize because he would ask for her hand in marriage only 3 months later. They went on to marry on December 27, 1953, on Martina’s 18th birthday in rebellion against her disapproving father. He was a proud father to his son Sammie, Jr., and his daughter Peggy. Described as a loving and caring father, but he would never miss the opportunity to be a jokester. Known for hiding schoolbooks left out and adding cans of soups to weigh down bookbags, Dad was always ready for a laugh. Sammie was also a proud grandfather to James and Samantha, whom he made his entire world. Loving to dote on both of them with their favorite snacks and anything that reminded him of them. He was their biggest cheerleader, celebrating all their accomplishments and reminding them that they could be and do anything that they wanted, as long as they put their education first. Even though he himself left school, he knew that the world’s doors opened for the educated and wanted only the best for his grandchildren. A lover of fine wines and dining, traveling, and enjoying a good belly laugh—it was not rare to find Sammie enjoying a glass of Merlot with his family.

Sammie is survived by his wife Martina, son Sammie Singh, Jr., daughter Peggy Sue Singh, and grandchildren James Singh, Samantha Singh McLaughlin, and grandson-in-law, John Mclaughlin; his sisters-in-law, Celia “Chela” Holguin, Mercy Smith and husband Bill; his nephews, Freddy Reyes and wife Rosie, Ray Reyes, Michael Reyes and wife Alexis, Frankie Duran and wife Samantha, Salvador B. Holguin, Nicholas Walters, Saul Holguin, Jr., Robert Holguin, Phillip S. Holguin and wife Sandra, Benjamin S. Holguin, Sean Reyes and wife Carry, Matthew Holguin, and Hunter Reyes; his nieces, Linda Reyes, Melissa V. Walters, LeeAnn Walters, Alisa Walters, Angel Walters, and Parquer Reyes.

He is preceded in death by his father Udum Singh and mother Dolores Q. Singh; his-in-laws, Salvador and Soledad Holguin; brothers-in-law, Blas Reyes, Sr., Antonio Valencia, Saul Holguin, Sr., and Benjamin Holguin; his sisters-in-law, Amelia Reyes, Leonor Valencia, and Rosa Holguin; nephews, Blas Reyes, Jr., and nieces, Pricilla H. Archuleta and Bea R. Enriquez.

A special thank you to all the doctors and nurses, especially those at Los Palmas Medical Center and Mesilla Valley Hospice for their kind, generous, and loving care that they gave to him in the last days of his life and the support that they offered to his family during such a difficult time.

Service arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Baca’s Funeral Chapels of Las Cruces. Your exclusive provider for “Veterans and Family Memorial Care.” For online condolences logon to