Ricky DeHerrera, the Las Vegas Optic’s Mora County correspondent for more than three decades, died Friday in Albuquerque after a long illness.
DeHerrera, 65, was surrounded by family when he died at 8:20 a.m. Friday at Presbyterian Hospital. He had been in and out of the hospital and therapy for about a month and a half before dying from kidney failure and other complications.
DeHerrera had been going through rehabilitative treatment for the past few weeks after the amputation of some toes on his left foot. His son, Ricky DeHerrera Jr., said he had been released for a few hours on Christmas Day to spend time with his family at the Albuquerque home of his other son, David DeHerrera, before being rushed back to the hospital that evening. “He fought all night” but died peacefully the next morning, his Ricky Jr. son said.
A memorial service is planned for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Joseph Montoya Gymnasium in Mora. Former New Mexico Gov. David Cargo, who knew DeHerrera for more than 40 years, will be giving the eulogy.
His son Ricky Jr. said his father’s passions included fishing, sports and reporting for the Las Vegas Optic. He was the Optic’s Mora County correspondent for 37 years.
“He just loved socializing, and going out and getting a story,” his son said, adding that his father took great pride in the articles he produced for the Optic.
Cargo said he spoke with DeHerrera often and considered him quite connected to what people were thinking.
“He called me with great regularity and I used to call him,” Cargo said. “I used to talk to him two or three times a week.”
“He could give you a good feel for things. He talked to people and he knew what people were thinking. ... Ricky was pretty perceptive. “He was salt of the earth.”
“He helped me a lot with building that library (in Mora),” Cargo said. “And Mora is one of my favorite places anyway.”
DeHerrera taught special education and physical education and coached elementary basketball and was the junior high assistant volleyball coach. He was scorekeeper for the boys and girls basketball and the activity bus driver for three decades. He had a bachelor’s degree in physical and special education and a master’s degree in guidance counseling.
He retired from the New Mexico Air National Guard after 26 years, which included active duty during the Vietnam War.
Surviving DeHerrera are his wife, Kosuzu; sons Ricky B. Jr. of Pojoaque and David J. and his wife Cheyenne DeHerrera, and his grandson Landon John DeHerrera of Albuquerque.