In Memory

John Hiltsley

He passed away 12/20/66

Steve Stevens

John was a best friend at HHS.  I enjoyed playing football and wrestling with him as well as just hanging out after school and on weekends.  I got to know his family real well and had good times hanging out over at his house.  John liked horses and ranching as I joined him and his family on trips to Colorado to visit some friends who ran a Dude Ranch.  I joined the
Air Force in 1965 and returned on leave in September, 1966 for the State Fair with John.  That was the last time I saw him alive:  He passed away that December about a week prior to Christmas.  John was a cold blooded  individual who didn't care for the winter temperatures.  He was working on a ranch around Los Lunas and one chilly night he apparrently turned his gas heater up a bit too high and sometime during the night the gas pressure blew the flames out and that ended up being John's demise.  Here's hoping he's resting in peace and at least having  a little fun wherever his spirit is!


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06/19/14 11:53 AM #1    

Bill Russell


In reading your comments on John Hiltsleys.Profile page, I was struck with a tug on my heart, as I could feel the heartfelt admiration you had for John.  He was an easy guy to like and I was drawn to him.  Skip Maisel and  I were probably the two smallest guys to graduate from HHS in "64" and I think I had a case of "Littleman Syndrone" so I was always getting myself into situations I couldn't get  out of by myself.  John was always willing to help me out.  Right or wrong he was my big friend.  In 65 John and I meet up at NMSU at a Rodeo--Sul Ross vs NMSU Rodeo Teams and the stock producer needed help.  John and I were more than willing to lend a hand.  With the wind blowing, John and I stood over the top of the bucking chutes waiting for the loading doors to open to allow a  bull to load. Simaltainously my hat blows off and falls to the bottom of the stall.  I dive in to save my hat and end up looking eye to eye with a  bull that is wall to wall.  With my hat in hand I froze only remembering flying through the air and landing on the steps  behind the chute safely. What I thought was a miracle-----was John.  He had leaned over, grabbed me by the shirt at both sholders and I flew to safety as if I had left the bed of a trampoline.  It may seem humorous to some, but to me I know, but for that split second that he reacted to help me, I could have been killed or at best, severly injured. 

I haven't forgot and I think of him as you do. I hope to see him again.  I'll be looking for you at the reunion to shake your hand.


Bill Russell



06/21/14 06:34 PM #2    

Linda Wood (Ritter)

Bill and Steve, I too was fond of John.  I was in awe of his preference for ranch life and he was just a good person.  One trip home from NMSU with John was quite an adventure. Dick and I were riding in the front seat of this huge older car John was driving and near Elephant Butte on a newly constructed part of I-25, John hit a mountain lion (tore up the front passenger side of the car).  He quickly pulled off the road, stopped the car, reached in the glove compartment, pulled out a pistol and flew out of the car. He was gone so long we became concerned about him out in the dark with an injured gigantic lion.  He didn’t find it and was disappointed he couldn’t cut off the ears for bounty. That was too much wild west for me.  I wish so badly we could have had more adventures. Linda Wood Ritter

07/14/14 11:36 AM #3    

Judy Huckaby (Schroeder)

I dated John off and on for about a year.  He was kind, fun, and treated me like a lady.  I was so sad when he died. My mom and I attended his funeral.  It was much too early in his life for that event to take place. I'll always have a special place in my heart for him.

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