Ellis (Red) B. Herrington Jr, age 92, died Tuesday, February 9, 2021at Memorial Hospital in Las Cruces, New Mexico, from complications of a sudden heart attack. Red was born January 6, 1929 in Maxdale, Texas to Ellis Bertrand Herrington and Bird Hunt Herrington.
He and his two younger sisters, Marjorie LaVerne and Patricia Ann, were raised on the Lampasas River in Maxdale where they worked on the family farm raising crops and picking cotton. His mother lived only three short years after his birth, passing on November 28, 1932, and he and his sisters were raised by their grandmother on the farm while his father worked in mining camps in the West to provide for them during the Great Depression.
Red graduated from Killeen High School at the age of 16 in 1945. Determined not to be a farmer, he caught the bus the next day to Silver City, New Mexico, where his father owned the Silver Café on Bullard St. He enrolled in Western New Mexico College and put himself through school working at a variety of jobs from driving a laundry truck, to working nights as a brakeman and switch tender at the Kennecott Copper mine. He met his future wife, LaVerne Cloudt, when seated across the table from her in an introductory biology class. Due to his heavy work schedule, he often found it difficult to keep up with his studies and would copy her lab work and her test answers (upside down from across the table). Red graduated from Western New Mexico in 1950 at the age of 21 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education with a major in math and a minor in English. In 1951, Red and LaVerne married and Red enlisted in the Air Force where he attained the rank of Captain Air Force Reserves. He was stationed in Dayton, Ohio, Indianapolis, Indiana and Saint Louis, Missouri, where he taught math to Air Force officers.
After being discharged from the Air Force in 1953, Red and LaVerne moved to Golden, Colorado where Red attended the Colorado School of Mines from 1954 to 1957. Red obtained Bachelor of Science degrees in both mining engineering and geological engineering, graduating 1st in his class for both degrees.
Red went on to have a varied career in engineering and geology. He worked for ASARCO in Charcas, Mexico at the Mino Tiro General mine, which was the first mine that the Spanish opened in the New World. He also worked at Kennecott Copper mine in Santa Rita, New Mexico. He owned and operated Southwest Transit Company, a cement plant in Bayard, New Mexico. Later he went to Alaska to work for Michael Baker Engineering on the construction of the Alaska Pipeline. Then he worked in Austin, Texas as both a hydrologist and as a landfill-design engineer.
After returning to Silver City, New Mexico in 1995, he worked as a consulting engineer with Engineers Inc. where he designed and permitted landfills for the cities of Silver City, Deming, Santa Rosa, and Tucumcari.
Finally, at the age of 82, he retired.
Red was known for his kindness and his extremely high intelligence. He always used his intellectual gifts to help others. He tutored family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances in math and science, proof read their English papers, fixed their cars when they broke down on the side of the road, prepared their tax returns, trimmed their trees, fixed their furnaces and air conditioners, and generally helped them in any way that he could.
When he was working as a mining engineer in Mexico, he came across a village in the middle of a remote valley where the villagers were complaining of the bad taste of the water from their well. Using his knowledge of geology, he recommended they dig a new well across the valley next to the mountains where the water quality would be better. When he went back to the village a year later, they had dug the new well, found the water to be to their liking, and had moved the entire village across the valley to be close to the new well.
The lives of many people were improved by having known Red.
Red is survived by his wife of 69 years, LaVerne Herrington and his son, Thomas Herrington, both of Silver City, New Mexico, and his daughter, Karen Herrington, and his son-in-law, Danny Sheaffer, both of Georgetown, Texas, and numerous nieces and nephews. Red was preceded in death by his sisters, Marjorie Parker of Alto, New Mexico, and Patt Williams of San Antonio, Texas.
A private burial will take place on Monday, February 22, 2021 at two’ clock in the afternoon with Military Honors at Fort Bayard National Cemetery in Fort Bayard.
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