RATON, New Mexico (STPNS) -- J.W Heringa, 79, died Wednesday, Oct. 29, near Mount Dora. He was born July 4, 1929, in Clayton to Ed Heringa and Pauline (Thomas) Heringa. A lifelong resident of Union County, J.W. gradauted from Clayton High School in 1947 and New Mexico State University in 1951 before serving two years in the Army Air Corps.

While in high school, J.W. started flying and it has been a large part of his life since then. He was very involved in rodeo while in college and later belonged to the Flying Farmers and he served on the REA board for several years. He was a member of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, the Clayton High School Reunion Association and the Airplane Operators Pilots Association. J.W.was very proud of his girls and he loved to fly and he loved the land as well. He said many times, "If you take care of the land, it will take care of you." He was truly a man ahead of his time in many aspects of ranching and horsemanship.

J.W. was preceded in death by his parents.

He is survived by three daughters: Loretta Butler and husband Donny of Clayton, Judy Moore and husband Ken of Mount Dora and Mary Dilda of Memphis, Tenn.; his loving companion of 11 years, Jacquelyn Neuharth of Clayton; two grandchildren: Jami Butler of McAlester, Okla., and Brett Butler of Midland, Texas; the mother of his daughters, Margaret Heringa of Raton; Jacquelyn's children: Jeff Benson and family of Bismarck, N.D., Michelle Bacon and family of Aberdeen, S.D., and Scot Benson and family of New Castle, Wyo.; and several cousins, including Janet Finch and husband Dan of Scottsdale, Ariz.

Memorial services were held Nov. 1 at the First United Methodist Church in Clayton with Rev. Jay Jones, pastor, officiating. Arrangements are by Hass Funeral Directors of Clayton. Please visit www.hassfuneralhome.com to view the online obituary and sign the guestbook.

The family suggests that memorials be made to the Clayton Air Park, 1 Chestnut St., Clayton, NM 88415.