Peter Nicholas Finarelli Sr., 80, of Elephant Butte, New Mexico, passed away after a courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease on June 11, 2020, surrounded by family. Pete was born to parents Camille and Filomena Finarelli on December 18, 1939 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

He is survived by his wife and love of his life, Sally Finarelli; and his son, Peter Finarelli Jr., and his wife, Sharon Finarelli. He tragically lost his daughter, Victoria Finarelli, to cancer in 2014. He is also survived by his cherished five grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

Shortly after marrying Sally in 1957, Pete began his career as a surveyor when he took a position with the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. During his tenure with USC&GS, Pete and his family traveled the country with tight knit survey parties, moving to new locations three or four times a year. It was an adventure that included a stop in Alamogordo, NM in 1967. Pete and Sally decided when it was time to settle down, they wanted to land in New Mexico.

It took several years before the plan was realized. The family moved to Alamogordo in 1973 where Pete eventually took a civilian assignment with Defense Mapping Agency working as a surveyor on White Sands Missile Range. After 30 years of dedicated service, he retired in 1996.After their children graduated and Sally retired from her position as Twelfth Judicial District Court Administrator, they moved to Elephant Butte, NM where they were based while continuing to satisfy their wanderlust in the RV community.

Over the course of his life, Pete enjoyed riding motorcycles, snowmobiles, boating and water skiing among many other venturesome pursuits. 

Over the course of a life of giving back to the community, Pete was an active member of service organizations including the Lions, Elks, Sons of the American Legion and Moose clubs. Pete never met a stranger. Everywhere the family stopped on their travels throughout the nation, it was not long before he interacted with everyone in the neighborhood. He had a big, strong heart. Always ready to help his fellow citizens regardless of the challenges they faced. He will be missed but never forgotten.

Cremation has taken place and no services will be held at this time. Arrangements are by Kirikos Family Funeral Home, Inc. & Sierra Crematory, LLC, 303 N. Cedar St., Truth or Consequences, NM 87901, 575-894-2574. For online memorial messages please visit

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