Obituary: Finis Edward Fagerquist

Finis Edward Fagerquist, of Questa passed away peacefully in his sleep on August 26, 2016. Ed/Popi who was called “Sonny” by his parents and sisters, was born in Oklahoma City in 1931.  

He grew up in the city, but loved spending time in the countryside with his cousins, especially riding horses. One of his favorite childhood memories was riding in a parade in Oklahoma with cowboy Gene Autrey. He also loved tinkering with cars and building things. His love of cars never left him, as he purchased many vintage trucks and jeeps through the years.  

At the age of 15, Sonny went to California to join the Navy. When it was discovered that he was under age, the Navy sent him right back to Oklahoma, only for him to return two years later. He served as a Corpsman during the Korean Conflict. He graduated from Northwest Classen High School in Oklahoma City, and attended Oklahoma City University.  

During a trip back to Oklahoma he met his future wife, Billye Phillips. They fell instantly in love and married at the age of 19 before moving back to California for the Navy. Billye and Ed were married for 52 years before her death in 2003. He missed her dearly until his dying day.

After two years in Calirnia, Ed and Billye they returned to Oklahoma to raise a family. Ed joined his father in their painting and decorating company, where they were sought after for their expert and beautiful work in some of Oklahoma City’s finest homes.

In 1969 they moved their young family to Red River and purchased a lodge and restaurant there [The Lodge], and worked together as a true family business. Their restaurant became famous for its delicious fried chicken. Ed was the self-made chef who turned Billye’s recipes into delicious meals.

They later opened other restaurants in Taos and Cottonwood Park. In 1997, Ed suffered an aortic aneurysm, from which only two percent of people are known to survive.

We like to think how lucky he was to have those bonus 19 years after that. Ed/Popi was a do-it-yourself man. He designed, remodeled, and fixed up the many houses and businesses he and Billye lived in. They were adventurous entrepreneurs. Ed was known for his endless curiosity and as the teller of stories, to anyone who would listen. And they were good, interesting stories. He even wrote and published his memoirs and proudly handed them out. He was still working on a second edition until recently.  

In his later life, following the passing of his wife, he met Ann Liebert, who became his beloved friend and companion. They found a common connection because they had each suffered a broken heart in the loss of their sons, both named Jon. Together Ann and Ed traveled and enjoyed each other’s company for many years. Ann gave new life, fun, and comfort to his later years. We are very grateful for the tender loving care Ann and her family gave him. They embraced him, and us, as their own.  

Ed was preceded in death by his wife, Billye, parents, Ed and Cleo Fagerquist, and his only son, Jon Edward Fagerquist, who died at age 13.  He is survived by his two daughters, Jana (Marcus Rael) and Kim (Alan MacPhail) of Questa and Taos. He has 7 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren, all of whom gave him much love and delight.  He is also survived by his sisters, Greta Newsome and Carol Moody, of Oklahoma, and their children.  Ann and her family, and his daughters and their husbands provided love and care till the end, so he could remain as independent as possible.  

Interestingly, Ed’s given name, Finis, means “the end”, and he is the final member of the family’s surname, Fagerquist. But there’s no end to his legacy, as his stories will continue….

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