Robert Sammons Culpepper
Robert Bob Sammons Culpepper was born, raised, and lived in Farmington for 90 years. He was born to Charles C. Culpepper and Ethelwyn H. Culpepper in 1927, at the family home, since there was an epidemic at the local hospital. It cost $25 to bring Bob into the world!
As a young man, Bob would hunt and fish all over what is now the B Square Ranch. He honed his outdoor skills on his bicycle, carrying his shotgun. Later, he went on to become and Eagle scout; attending the Boy Scout National Ranch at Philmont. In high school he played and lettered in Varsity Football and lettered in Band. He graduated from Farmington High School in 1945, joined the Navy, and served overseas after boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes, near Chicago. He spent time at Treasure Island Naval Base, near San Francisco, before being assigned to the escort destroyer, DDE Fred T Berry, where he spent the rest of his two year commitment in Tsingtao China. He was honorably discharged in 1947 and began school at The University of New Mexico. He later transferred to New Mexico A and M (NMSU), graduating in 1952; an Aggie through and through! He took his freshly minted Bachelors of Science went to work for Edmunds Chemical in Albuquerque as an etymologist and outside salesman, covering most of Central NM.
While at NM AandM, he met Mary Hancock at an Episcopal Students meeting. It took some doing, but Bob convinced Mary to become his wife in 1953. The couple remained in Albuquerque until 1954, when they moved back to Farmington and Bob joined the family business, Farmington Investment Co., selling insurance. After moving back to Farmington, Bob and Mary had three children; Chuck, Molly, and Robert.
In 1972, Farmington Investment sold the insurance operations to Bob and Culpepper Insurance was born. In 1980, Bob was elected to the Board of Directors of First National bank, becoming Vice chairman of the Board in 1982, and ultimately Chairman of the Board until First National merged with Well Fargo.
While running Culpepper Insurance and serving on the Bank Board, Bob was also Mayor of Farmington (1978-1982), Member of the New Mexico Arts Commission (1970-1982), and Trustee of the Museum of National History (1991-1995). In addition, he was on the Farmington City Council from 1970-1978, Vice chairman of the Farmington Public Utilities Commission (1984-1993), Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission (1991-1998), Director and past president of the San Juan College Foundation, and past president, life member of the New Mexico Municipal League. Bob was also a past Exalted Ruler of the Elks Club, past-president of the Lions Club, and Paul Harris Fellow in Rotary and a member of Animas Lodge AFandAM. One of his greatest honors came when he was elected President of the Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico.
Bob was a fan of Farmington. He was a lifelong member of St. John's Episcopal Church, where he served on the Vestry. Community was always important to him. He frequented the Totah Festival Rug Auction, donated rugs to San Juan College, and the Farmington Museum System. He bought the old Foutz Trading Post building, with an eye toward creating the Museum of Native American Arts, which he donated to the City.
Bob was also politically active. While working for Edmunds Chemical, his outside sales activities introduced him to many farmers and ranchers, who later went on to political prominence in New Mexico and Washington. Bob used these contacts to better Farmington at every turn; lobbying in Santa Fe and Washington.
Bob was an avid traveler, having been on six of the seven continents; didn't quite have time to go to Australia. He and Mary were in all fifty U.S. states, extensively traveled in Mexico, and Canada. He also loved to hunt and fish. Upland birds, waterfowl, deer, elk, antelope; any excuse to be outside in almost any weather!
Bob was preceded in death by his parents and his younger brother Charlie. He is survived by his wife Mary, daughter Molly (Curt), and, sons Robert (Clare) and Chuck (Jo Ann). There are also five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A Memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, May 12, 2018 at St. John's Episcopal Church 312 N. Orchard Ave. Farmington, N.M..
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the San Juan College Foundation or the Museum of Native American Arts