Dixie "Penny" Thigpen of Roswell, NM passed away Tuesday, November 15, 2022. Penny was born August 23, 1940 to parents Clarence and Grace Key.
She was born in Artesia and resided there most of her life. She graduated from Artesia high school in 1958. She was proud and honored to be a cheerleader and a member of the class that won the first Artesia High School State Championship football game in 1957. Many of her classmates, players and fellow cheerleaders have remained cherished lifelong friends.
After graduation, she went to school at UNM, where she majored in Art. She became a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority. She transferred to New Mexico State University her Sophomore year and changed her major to Accounting and graduated in the Spring of 1963 with an Accounting degree.
Penny had married Pug Thigpen while they were attending NMSU and after graduation, moved to his family’s farm in Cottonwood, NM. They lived there a couple of years before they moved to Reno, NV with their 2 daughters (Lyn and Kim) for Pug to attend graduate school. Penny began a job as an accountant at Harolds Club Casino until they moved back to Cottonwood. A 3rd daughter (Dawn) arrived in 1969 to complete their family.
While living in Cottonwood, Penny was active in many organizations. She was a 4-H leader for many years and was once awarded outstanding 4-H leader of the year. She was an active member of PEO for many years and held several offices including president. She was the State Vice President of the NM Jr. Women’s Club and serviced in this organization for many years. She was a member of the Artesia Methodist Church, Judged at county fairs and was an excellent seamstress. She continued her cheerleading career on the sidelines of track meets, gymnastics meets, 4-H events and general watching and helping her 3 daughters in all their activities.
After her girls were raised, and following a divorce, Penny moved to Las Cruces to take classes that she needed to begin studying for her CPA. She then moved to Lubbock, TX, received her CPA and began working at Mason Warner & Co. Accounting Firm. She served as Vice President of the Lubbock Women’s CPA Association. After 6 years in Lubbock, Penny moved back to NM to be closer to her girls. She worked as a CPA for Ritter Barr and then at Navajo Refinery until her retirement. Her final move was to Roswell, NM where she had her own practice for 3 more years and finally retired completely. She stayed busy in Roswell going to Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumni meetings, Republican Women Association meetings and events, Served as Treasure of Roswell Assistance League, Treasure of North Springs Association and continued being active Chapter B PEO. She also continued to cheer on and support her grandkids and great grandkids on the sidelines prior to her death.
Penny leaves behind 3 daughters, Lyn Harrison (Jerry) of Artesia, NM; Kim Klein (Jeff) of Roswell, NM and Dawn Thigpen of Roswell, NM. Grandchildren T.J. Harrison (Allie) of Artesia, NM; Kacy Brown (David) of Roswell, NM; Meghan Kukla (Dan) of St. Louis, MO; Karly Durbin (Eric) of Houston, TX; Dustin Ford of Glenco, NM; Tori Cockrum (Jake) of Aubrey, TX; Lexi Stearns (Kyle) of Decatur, TX; 14 great grandchildren; Niece and Nephew Chad and Charla Oaks, and lifetime best friend Kay Jones of Roswell, NM. She was preceded in death by her parents Clarence and Grace Key and her sister Cindy Oaks.
In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made in honor of Penny to Alzheimer’s Association or a charity of your choice.