Cover photo for Jesse Ray Berkey's Obituary
1988 Jesse 2024

Jesse Ray Berkey

February 27, 1988 — February 26, 2024

Jesse Ray Berkey, 35, of La Plata, NM, passed on peacefully at home, February 26, 2024. Jesse was cherished and loved by his family and friends, and we’re proud he was living life with peace and contentment. A seeker, Jesse was always ready to transition to a new realm; he sought higher consciousness and spirituality with an acceptance of all faiths. He was a warrior and proud of his Native American heritage and ancestors, with whom he now rests in peace. Our only comfort is that Jesse was so beautiful in death, and his arduous journey here is complete.

Prior to his death, he succeeded greatly in his efforts to ameliorate relationships with himself, family, and friends, ensuring that the footprint he left behind was one of love and compassion. Those whom Jesse loved, he loved fiercely; our loss is devastating, and he will be missed so much by his cherished friends and family.

Jesse is survived by his precious son, Santiago Berkey; big brother, Tyler Berkey; little sister, Julie Napora and niece, Kimber; mother, Michele Berkey and father, John Berkey; cousins, Dakota, Amber and Karissa Rector; grandparents, Bill Berkey, Nancy Clark, Al and Josette Rector and aunt Tammy; uncles Scott Rector, Tony Rector, Todd Rector and Greg Clark, the Van Briesens and other extended family members.

From the time Jesse was a very small child he was either a “Ray of Sunshine” or a “Little Storm Cloud”. He seemed to possess an innate sense of goodness and happiness, and at the same time of sadness and loss. When he was happy, he had a big engaging smile and a deep infectious laugh. When Jesse was sad it enveloped him, and few could talk him out of it. He could turn his frustrations into humor though, especially when he talked about the Dallas Cowboys! Just recently, Jesse explained why he always tried to watch them play even though he strongly suspected he would be disappointed in the result. Though he laughed his way through the telling, there was an air of sadness also. If you knew Jesse well, you knew his intellect, strength and courage, and his fragilities.

From a young age, Jesse loved writing, all things horror, and was an avid collector of oddities - it was a great disservice to him (and his sister) that his appendix or adult tooth that preceded him in death weren’t part of this collection. His prolific stories, poems and letters were poignant, raw, often hilarious, and always without spelling errors. He was brilliant and tortured, which turns out to be a great combination for an overactive mind and expressive writing proficiencies that his family will enjoy as his collections of prose make the rounds.

Jesse is an FHS 2006 and SJC 2010 graduate, excelling in academics. He sought and learned so much knowledge in countless subjects.

A very special thanks to Jesse’s instructors, who challenged, inspired, and nurtured him. For those who knew Jesse and accepted his limitations, thank you. And for those people, known and unknown, who offered their prayers for Jesse and our family during this time, know that we are forever grateful.

Cremation has taken place and a gathering with Jesse’s favorite people and food will be held Saturday, April 13th at Civitan Park (south shelter), 2 – 6 pm, open-house style. Please come anytime, share a story, greet and reacquaint with dear ones. And celebrate Jesse.

Oh Jesse, your obituary has been so hard for us to write, and we while we grieve inconsolably, we laugh and know that you could knock it out in 15 minutes or less, partly because of your off-the (NM Standardized) -charts in reading and language aptitude but mostly because of your ability to sit with your reflections and emotions and put them to paper.

You will not be forgotten.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jesse Ray Berkey, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, April 13, 2024

2:00 - 6:00 pm (Mountain time)

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