Jerry Saxton, Placitas Democratic Leader Dies

by | Mar 3, 2022 | News and Interviews

Jerry Saxton was born in Dallas on July 18, 1941. Sadly, he lost a fast, vicious battle with malignant melanoma at the UT Southwestern University hospital in Dallas on February 23, 2022. He leaves behind his wife, Janice, his brother Ben, his daughters Jana and Stefani, and his granddaughter Savannah. 

Jerry received his BS and MS in Mathematics from SMU. He earned a double masters in mathematics and computer science and was a dissertation away from PhD’s in mathematics and computer science. In his 20’s, when an employment recruiter asked him about his job goals he said “anything but computer software”. The recruiter misunderstood and arranged for software interviews, putting him on the path to his life’s career. As a starving student he took the best job offer and went to work for Geophysical Services, Inc. which was Janice’s employer. Janice says “The day I met him was the best day of my life.” Jerry worked for GSI for 23 years and always spoke highly of his coworkers at the company. He produced valuable 3D hardware/software systems for processing seismic data, making millions of dollars for his company. After GSI sold to Haliburton, he moved to Colorado and worked as a consultant. A short time later, he designed a system for displaying weather phenomena which was successfully launched in Malta and Ft Myers, Florida. The company, StormWatcher, folded after the financial backer failed to pay the bills, including employee payroll taxes. At last report, the IRS was still looking for the financial backer. 

Grassroots (‘small d’) Democratic Party politics were important in Jerry’s life. He was a founding member in the 70s of the Dallas County 8th District Democrats at a time when it was not popular to be a progressive democrat! He worked hard on the campaigns of many candidates, including Martin Heinrich, Brian Colon, Barrack Obama, Morris Udall, Marg Elliston, Deb Haaland, John Kerry, Maggie Toulouse Oliver, Robert Kennedy, Bernie Sanders, Kathy Bruch, Jack Torres, John Wallace, George McGovern, Hector Balderas, and many more including managing Janice’s campaigns for District 22 State Representative in 2006 and 2008. Some won and some lost – he always considered it worthwhile to try to make a difference. He was a founding member of The Democratic Women of Sandoval County. He served as precinct captain and ward chair, on the state Democratic Party Rules Committee, on the 2010 County Redistricting Board, as a member of the Sandoval County Executive Board, and as a member of the Eastern Sandoval Citizens Assn. Board. He walked many miles door to door registering voters, delivering literature, and answering questions. He made many dear friends in his various political activities. He treasured these friends even when they occasionally agreed to disagree. 

Jerry and Janice moved to a 3300 square foot ‘cabin’ located at 9100 feet elevation on the side of Mt Columbia above Buena Vista, Colorado in 1985. They spent the next 15 years hiking the mountains, square dancing, and renovating their home, which had dirt floors and log walls without chinking. Jerry was active on the Chaffee County volunteer fire department during this time, answering calls for assistance with house and grass fires, vehicle wrecks, and maintenance of the ancient fire trucks handed down by the forest service. One night there was a call to report to the trailhead at the base of Mt Huron. A hiker had fallen on loose rocks above timberline and suffered compound fractures of one or both ankles. A flight for life helicopter dispatched to rescue the hiker had crashed, killing both the pilot and nurse on board. Jerry and several of his fire department colleagues climbed to tree line (about 12,000 feet) on the 14,003 foot mountain in the middle of the night in full fire gear with a stokes stretcher and carried the hiker on the stokes down the mountain using headlamps for guidance.   

Jerry and Janice moved to Placitas, NM in the fall of 2000. They helped to care for Janice’s mother in Oklahoma until her death. One day in early 2007 a neighborhood friend stopped by and asked if Jerry and Janice would consider joining the Board of Rebuilding Together Sandoval County. That was the beginning of Jerry’s work with the charity which had as its goal to do free repairs for low-income homeowners, thus enabling them to remain in their homes with dignity and in comfort. He dedicated the next 14 years of his life to serving the charity. Over the years he has helped many homeowners with ramps, broken and inoperable windows, leaking roofs, ceiling and wall repairs, minor plumbing and electrical repairs, exterior siding repairs, bathroom access, and painting crew supervision. He served as Building Committee Chair, House Selection Committee Chair, and as Board Chair for eight years. He applied for grants and made many presentations on behalf of the nonprofit. He helped to establish the small thrift store in Bernalillo that supplies the charity with some operating income and provides the surrounding community with a low-cost source of needed items. At times, he held the nonprofit together when it was in danger of shutting down. Jerry was very proud of the work he did for the nonprofit’s clients and genuinely liked and sympathized with the families he helped. 

Jerry was a kind, generous, and fearless man. He loved teaching others the things he knew whether it was an academic subject or how to repair a plumbing problem or how to participate in party politics. Please take a moment to remember him and his part in your life story. If you would like to make a memorial contribution please consider one or more of the following: 

  • Chaffee County Fire Protection District, 499 Antero Cr, Buena Vista, CO 81211  
  • Rebuilding Together Sandoval County, P.O. Box 1913, Bernalillo, NM 87004
  • Eastern Sandoval Citizens Assn, P. O. Box 215, Placitas, NM 87043
  • El Pueblo Health Services, 121 Camino Del Presidente, Bernalillo, NM 87004
  • Parkland Foundation, 1341 W Mockingbird Ln, Suite 1100E, Dallas, TX 75247
  • Democratic Party of Sandoval County, P. O. 723, Corrales, NM 87048 

Most of the above have websites that accept donations. 

Translate »