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1937 John Franklin Alsip 2024

John Franklin Alsip

July 16, 1937 — March 4, 2024

John Franklin Alsip III, a beloved husband, brother, father, grandfather and friend,
passed away on March 4 in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the age of 86. After a decade of
deteriorating health, he was surrounded by family and was given a heartfelt send-off by
an entire nursing staff overcome by his kind nature and radiant smile.
John was born in Tacoma, Washington and lived there until his family moved to Idaho
where he and his sister Priscilla and brother Bruce attended grade school and Nampa
High School. The rugged landscape of Idaho was where John first fell in love with the
outdoors, earning his Eagle Scout badge through the BSA, hunting for fossils through
the Owyhee Canyon, and spending solitary winter trips at the family cabin at Karney
Lakes.
Despite his introspective nature, John enjoyed being around others. He thrived at
Whitman College, where he earned a degree in economics, co-captained the football
team, and was a well-respected member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. John
also searched out adventure during these years through multiple peak ascents including
Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. Whitman was a cherished institution by many in the extended
Alsip family and was particularly beloved by John. He went on to be an active alum and
served on the Board of Overseers.
John's love of the outdoors dovetailed perfectly with the business of agriculture. At
graduation, John asked for a plot of farmland near the Snake River that he and his
father grew into the Hat Butte Land Company - a sizeable source of wheat, mint, sugar
beets and of course potatoes - that John would oversee for almost fifty years. John's
day job was in agriculture as well. He started at General Mills after college and spent
over two decades there, working in Idaho, California, Texas, Montana and Minnesota,
and rising to become manager of western grain operations. He next moved into the
world of seeds as Senior Vice President at Northrup King before his crowning
achievement as president and then CEO of Rahr Malting in Minneapolis. John was seen
as a bright and innovative light at Rahr, helping the family-owned business boldly
expand with new plants in Canada and the United States. While his strategic mind
helped the company's bottom line, John was always went out of his way to make sure
the workers at the various plants felt heard and appreciated.
This connection, kindness and respect was woven particularly tight with family. John
was a devoted son to both his father and mother, a lively and admired older brother to
Priscilla and Bruce, and a gentle, off-beat grandfather to Lucy, Kate and Thomas. His
respect for family was evident in later years as he became interested in genealogy, but
it shone brightest in his love for Catherine (Kay), his wife of sixty years and their
children Gretchen and Neil. John had a deft hand with family dynamics, knowing just the
right amount of humor to mix with parenting - standing arms-crossed behind the
conductor as he watched his daughter in pep band, or teaching his son's Sunday school
class the shepherding practices of the Basque peoples of southern Idaho. Meanwhile,
John and Catherine were the perfect pair - she bringing him into lively social situations
and he bringing her on long desert drives to look for shards of rhyolite. Their mutual
respect for each other's passions resulted in an enduring love and a complementary
piece to each other's whole.
After his retirement, John would put that rhyolite to use - along with rusted grates,
barbed wire and driftwood - to create art that, although it glanced off assemblage and
the wabi-sabi tradition of Japan, was wholly original to John. As he perfected his style,
John quietly wandered deserts and roads to build works that would end up in homes
and public spaces throughout Whidbey Island and Santa Fe. But as good as he got,
John never asked for money or expected his work to last. Build it, share it, repurpose it.
Just as he had found new uses for the elements he incorporated in his art, he was
excited to know that it would eventually be reassembled by nature into something
equally new and wonderful.
Although John would be pleased to know that his own molecules and energy are now
being repurposed for something new in the universe, his friends and family know that he
himself was a truly beautiful work of art and oh God, he will be missed.
John was preceded in death by his parents, Priscilla and John Franklin Alsip Jr. He is
survived by his wife Catherine (Kay), his sister Priscilla and brother Bruce, his children
Gretchen and Neil, their spouses Ron and Laura, and his grandchildren Lucy, Kate and
Thomas.
In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to The Food Depot in Santa Fe. 
thefooddepot.org/donate/  (There is a tribute button where you can donate in memory of
John Alsip) or you can contact Jeanette at 505-510-5890.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Franklin Alsip, please visit our flower store.

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