“I think when you learn to do something well, you just like to keep doing it.” -Howard Chrisman Howard Wesley Chrisman, 90, of Farmington, passed away peacefully surrounded by family and the prayers of those who could not be with him, Saturday, April 6, 2013. He was born to Herbert and Eva Chrisman, Nov. 3, 1922, in Alamosa, Colo. He was the youngest of three children. He was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters, Barbara McGuire and Virginia Bader; his sons, John and Van Lee Chrisman; and his loving wife of 67 years, Barbara Jean Chrisman.Howard received his Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Northern Colorado. He met Barbara Jean Bristol through a cousin at a social at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. They married April 24, 1943 on an Army furlough in Manhattan, Kan. He enlisted in the Army-Air Force in November 1942 to proudly serve in World War II. During World War II, Howard was commissioned a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army-Air Force. He was among a select group of B-24 pilots training for low-level reconnaissance flights along the Japanese coast. Prior to the planned Allied Invasion, their mission was abruptly canceled in August of 1945 when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. After the war ended he and Barbara Jean moved to Alamosa, Colo. to start his teaching career. There he was the instrumental music supervisor of band and orchestra for four years. His ambition as a young teacher was to develop a high school symphony orchestra. Howard was asked to develop a high school music program in Farmington in 1951 by Angelo Turano. Howard was the director of the Farmington High band from 1957 to 1972, and the orchestra from 1951 until his retirement in 1985. In the beginning years he started the Kelly Greens auxiliary marching unit at Farmington High School. He was also music coordinator for the Farmington School District. Howard was elected president of the San Juan Community Concert Association when the group was formed in 1953. He was founder and the first musical director of the San Juan Symphony.He was inducted into the Farmington High School Hall of Fame in 1991 and into the New Mexico Music Educators Association Hall of Fame in January 1994. Howard was the choir director for the First United Methodist Church in 1958 and carried that role for many years. He and his wife were also charter members of the New Covenant United Methodist Church in Farmington.
After his retirement in 1985, Howard continued to share his love for teaching music. He studied the Suzuki method of teaching and taught Suzuki Violin to many young students from 1983-2010. Howard is survived by his daughters, Suzanne Gettman and her husband, Gary of Logan, Utah, Sallie Riley and her husband, Jay of Navajo Dam and his son, Kurt Chrisman and his wife, Donna of Farmington; grandchildren, Shane Heard (Renee) of Albuquerque; Brandon Heard (Jade) of Farmington, Lindsay Gifford (Jeremy) of Justin, Texas; James Heard (Stevee) of Tulsa, Okla.; Scott Chrisman of Santa Fe, and Leigh Chrisman (fiance, Taylor Higgins) of Albuquerque; great-grandchildren, Amanda, Audrey, and Stephen Heard, Camron and Kylie Heard, Micah and Lylah Gifford and Gradie Heard. The family would like to extend their gratitude to Dr. Joe Pope and staff, LifeCare Center, Basin Home Health and Hospice, and we are most thankful to Rebecca Morgan, Jan Montanye of Namaste House, and the wonderful Namaste House staff. They are truly our family too. We would also like to thank Pam Prater, the Orchestra parents at Mesa View Middle School and Piedra Vista High School for their help at this difficult time. Cremation will take place and a memorial services will be 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at the First United Methodist Church, 808 N. Monterey Ave. in Farmington.
“When the time comes for you to die, you need not be afraid, because death cannot separate you from God’s love.” The family requests that memorial contributions be made in Mr. Chrisman’s name to your music program of choice or to San Juan College
Orchestra or Band, c/o Dr. Keith Cochrane, 4601 College Blvd. Farmington, NM 87402.
Howard’s care is entrusted to Brewer, Lee and Larkin Funeral Home, 103 E. Ute St. in Farmington, 505-325-8688.