Cover photo for Garlin Willingham's Obituary
Garlin Willingham Profile Photo
1952 Garlin 2019

Garlin Willingham

October 2, 1952 — May 17, 2019

Memorial service is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Saturday, May 25th at the Church of God, 901 S 20th St. for Garlin "Red" Lynn Willingham of Artesia, New Mexico.

Mr. Willingham, 66, died May 17, 2019 at his home in Artesia.

Kevin Smith, nephew of Red, will officiate at the services. Cremation has taken place under the direction of Terpening & Son Mortuary.

Red was born October 2, 1952 in Big Springs, TX, the son of John Briscoe and Jo (Thompson) Briscoe. He was a longtime Artesia resident after moving here when he was a little boy. An interest in learning how things worked and reading science fiction and fantasy stayed with him through adulthood.

Red served his country in the United States Navy from 1972 to 1978 specializing in base and road construction and equipment repair. On October 15, 1976 he was married to Deborah Merritt in Ft. Sumner, N.M. Following his years in military service, Red pursued his passion and talent for auto repair and became a professional gasoline and diesel mechanic. His engine diagnosis skills, quality of repair and fairness in all dealings earned him an exceptional reputation as a mechanic, and a person, that he followed him throughout his days.

He was successful in almost every interest and endeavor, from building and flying model airplanes from scratch, computer assembly/repair, to tuning and drag racing his 68 Nova. While being a mechanic for the Navajo trucking division, he was promoted to assistant supervisor over trucking where he humbly excelled. He was most successful in caring for and raising his family, which he always worked so hard for. A helping hand, a kind word, sage advice, or a clever, dry joke at your expense were not very far away. He loved to laugh and cut-up, but was never afraid of a tough conversation and tended not to sweat the small stuff.

Even after his injury left him less capable, he still retained all of his personality and vigor for life. He pursued photography for years, electronic and circuit analysis, high-powered air rifles and even practiced algebra and trigonometry. He never focused on what he couldn't do, just what he thought was possible. He loved doing it all in the company of his sons and other family.

Red's character, attitude, intelligence, generosity, sense of humor, humility, and above all, love for his closest friends and family have made him a treasure in all of our hearts and minds. He left such an impact on all those that truly knew him, that we will all be forever grateful for having the privilege of knowing him. He was a loving son, brother, husband, father, cousin, uncle and friend who lived the principles of honesty, integrity, loyalty and strength that many preach and few live. We bring honor to him by working hard, improving ourselves, overcoming obstacles, and cherishing those close to us.

Red was preceded in death by his mother, Jo Briscoe, father, John Briscoe, and nephew, Lance Eaker, niece Leslie Ann Kenyon, and mother and father in-law, Peggy and Neuman Merritt.

He is survived by his wife, Deborah Willingham, sons, Devlin and Ty Willingham, sisters, Bonnie Hutchison, Rita Briscoe, Jenny Bias, brother in-law, John Bias, and cousins,


Memorial Service

Church of God
901 S. 20th Street
Artesia, NM  88210
Saturday, May 25, 2019
2:00 p.m.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Garlin Willingham, please visit our flower store.


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