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1941 James Reid Follingstad 2024

James Reid Follingstad

November 9, 1941 — April 9, 2024

Encompassed by the most overwhelming grief and sadness, the family of James Reid Follingstad shares his departure from this lifetime on April 9, 2024, at 83 years of age, to begin a new journey.

Jim was born Sunday, November 9, 1941, in Chicago Illinois to Dr. Alvin and Elizabeth (Funston) Follingstad, and raised in Albuquerque, NM alongside his twin brother, Richard and older brother, Tom. Jim is survived by his two children, Eric Follingstad and Dr. Gretel Follingstad (Stephen Hyde); his grandchildren, Liam Follingstad-Hyde (Gretel) and Marcelo O. Follingstad (Eric); brother, Dr. Thomas Follingstad (Mary Kay); his former wife, MaryHelen Follingstad (Michael); his sisters-in-law, Caroll Follingstad (Richard) and Marion Reynolds (Tom); his nieces, Stephanie Reynolds and Deborah Follingstad; and nephews, Jason Follingstad (Trish) and Devon Follingstad (Jen). Jim also leaves behind his beloved kitty, BB and dozens of close friends including Steve Flance, Susan Phillips, Vic Johnson, Dan & Susan Summers, David & Sheila Griffith, David & Peggy Ater, and a loving community that reaches across New Mexico. Jim is pre-deceased by his twin brother, Richard; wife, Sandra Oppenheimer; sister-in-law, Christine Dougherty; and his parents, Alvin and Betty. 

While the eclipsing loss is deeply felt by Jim’s family, friends and all who knew Jim, it is only a fraction of the love and kindness he bestowed as a cherished father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend, and community builder. Jim was a compassionate listener and departed a sense of acknowledgement, acceptance, and importance upon all he encountered, a feeling that would surely brighten your day and fill your heart. Family, friends, colleagues, and clients alike, remember Jim as loving, gentle, caring, genuine and giving. 

In the early 1960’s Jim left Albuquerque to attend college at the University of Colorado, Boulder where he graduated with a Business Administration degree. He loved numbers and started his career as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) working for an international accounting firm. In the early 1970’s Jim and his first wife, Maryhelen Follingstad returned to New Mexico to raise a family in Santa Fe. Jim loved and valued his family above all else and was deeply committed to their well-being. Applying his experience in Colorado, Jim launched his own accounting firm in the early 1970’s in Santa Fe, NM, where he was a very well respected and trusted CPA for over 50 years and remembered for his caring nature, generosity of time, kindness, and genuine commitment for each client. He held himself to the very highest standard of integrity and honesty in his personal life and in his practice as a CPA. Jim shared his love and knowledge of accounting as the Treasurer of dozens of Boards of Directors in Santa Fe, including the Santa Fe Opera, the Santa Fe Children's Museum, Institute of American Indian Arts, and various other philanthropic and non-profit organizations. Jim also supported many organizations focused on the Arts, Animals and Humanity. Jim was also active in Men’s Work for the last three decades of his life, sitting in council with dear friends who, like Jim, were deeply committed to embracing more positive approaches to being a man, a father, grandfather, and contributor to their community.

Jim had a deep love and connection with the outdoors stemming from his achievement of Eagle Scout growing up. This foundation provided the gateway for Jim to find peace, joy, inspiration, and companionship in the backcountry through backpacking, camping, fly fishing, hiking, and tending to the family cabin near Pecos, New Mexico. He loved and cherished his children, Gretel and Eric and his grandchildren and in his gentle nature taught them about the outdoors, rivers, fishing, hiking, and exploring; he loved imparting on them his perspective, values, and beliefs. 

Jim has gone ahead into the sunset of life, around the river's bend and out of sight. Until we are together again (Dad), your light and spirit are in our hearts forever.

A Celebration of Life will be held in mid-August 2024, in Santa Fe. Details will be posted on Jim’s page at  

 From Jim’s Friends: 

“If I could describe Jim in 3 words they would be love, honesty and commitment, but most of all would be love. He loved his children and their families, he loved his cats; he loved the family cabin; he loved to build and fix things; he loved music; he loved to dance; he loved to laugh; he loved holidays and driving to the mountains with his family to find the perfect Christmas tree; he loved to decorate the family tree with candles in the manner of his Norwegian tradition; he loved to putter; he loved to laugh; he loved to tell stories; he loved his work and he loved NUMBERS!!”

“Jim had that effect on people, that they wanted to do things for him. He never lost his sense of humor and always showed his care and concern for others.”

“Jim was a careful and respectful listener and a thoughtful responder, reasoned and articulate.  He also was quick to let go an easy laugh often accompanied by a wry twinkle of the eye. He was genuine in all those emotions.”  

“It was so easy to get along with Jim. He was caring, loving, aware and genuine, which was particularly true of his relationship with Gretel, who became a rock of stability in his life when needed.”

“There are so many times we were fishing or hiking and camping, but the fishing trip to Wyoming, on the Sweetwater River, old Oregon Trail, and down the Wind River, with my son Topher and Eric, was my favorite. The fishing was good, the conversation was great. I believe that Jim’s spirit is still traveling around in the high country and rivers and streams of the West, and in any event, I expect to see him there myself, when we can go fishing again. It’s all love and friendship, is what it is.”

“He was a deceptively good poker player not just because he could count.  Surely he calculated the odds, but he also read the bluffs.”

“We shall all miss Jim and will treasure what he shared with us in his life.  It's been a privilege to be there. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”



To send flowers to the family in memory of James Reid Follingstad, please visit our flower store.


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