Gailen Hart Hooper received his angel wings on November 20, 2022 when the Lord called him from Las Cruces, NM to his forever home surrounded by family and friends at his bedside.
Gailen was born July 25, 1932, to Foster Hollar “Pete” Hooper and Mary Jeff (Hart) Hooper in Lovington, NM. His growing up years were spent in Lovington, NM; Monument, NM; Visa, CA; Long Beach, CA and Victorville, CA. He attended Poly High School in Long Beach, CA and graduated from Lovington High School in 1950. Gailen attended college at Eastern NM University in Portales, NM.
After college he started his career as a surveyor and mapping specialist with Amerada Hess Oil Company. Later he became an appraiser for Lea County Assessor in Lovington, NM and was elected as the Lea County Assessor in 1958 and elected again in 1960 and later was the Lea County Regional Airport Manager in Hobbs, NM. In 1966, Gailen became the Lea County Manager until 1969, when he moved his family to Santa Fe, NM.
Gailen was appointed by the Governor as the Director of Hospitals and Institutions at the Department of Human Services. Later he became Deputy Director of the Property Tax Department at the NM Taxation and Revenue Department. In 1980, Gailen assumed the responsibilities as the Deputy Director for the Administrative Office of the Courts. He retired from NM State Government Service in the mid-1980’s, at which time the New Mexico State Governor appointed Gailen to serve on the NM School for the Deaf Board of Directors. He became the first parent of a student to serve in this capacity.
In October 1988, Gailen married Joan “Jody” (Giovengo) Carroll, formerly the Eddy County Assessor of Carlsbad, NM. Shortly after retirement he was invited to work for Los Alamos County as Deputy Assessor and served until 1998. Gailen and “Jody” moved to Las Cruces, NM in 1999 where they became Certified New Home Real Estate Sales Agents for Jack Winton Builders until 2006. He and his wife, “Jody,” purchased the Assist-2-Sell franchise for Las Cruces and southern NM in 2006 and maintained it until they sold it in 2009. Gailen quickly got involved with an online communications marketing distributor (CAN) and a health and wellness company (Melaleuca), which he continued until his death.
Gailen was preceded in death by his parents, brother Edward “Eddie” Hooper, father and mother-in-law, Johnnie Sr. and Pearl Giovengo of Loving, NM, and his former wife, Shirley Hooper-Garcia of Roswell, NM.
He leaves behind his wife, Joan “Jody” Giovengo Hooper, who loves him beyond words, his two sons, John of Santa Fe, NM, Greg of Chandler, AZ, as well as two stepdaughters Denise Carroll Humphrey (husband, Doug) of Midland, TX and Lucretia Carroll Wilferth (husband, Carrell) of Fredericksburg, TX. Gailen was blessed with 7 grandchildren, Zachary and Taylor Hooper of Chandler, AZ, Caitlan Smith (husband, Jacob) Cody Berry (wife, Kelby), Harley Wilferth of Fredericksburg, TX and Loren Hunter (husband, Adam) of Round Rock, TX. He was further blessed with three great grandchildren, Berkleigh Rae Berry and Raylan Brooks Berry of Fredericksburg, TX and Mia Humphrey of Midland, TX.
Gailen was a gentle and kind man to all and a very giving person who will be greatly missed by all his friends and family, but especially his wife of 35 years, Jody, who loved him dearly.
Cremation has already taken place and no public funeral services were held.
A celebration of his life will occur at the family home at 11 am in Las Cruces on July 29, 2023.