AMerican Veteran 11

Shirley Ray Hieatt

May 17, 1935 ~ January 12, 2020 (age 84)


Shirley ‘Shirl’ Ray Hieatt was born in Mt. Olivet, KY Friday, May 17, 1935, and passed away on Sunday, January 12, 2020, in Albuquerque, NM.  Shirl enlisted in the Air Force soon after high school and trained to become an Air Traffic Controller (ATC).  The Air Force gave him the opportunity to live in Greenland, Iceland and other stations around the U.S. He was also an instructor and always received praise from the different centers where he worked.  He lived and worked in Alaska for six years.  He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Embry-Riddle in 1984 in Professional Aeronautics.  Shirl worked in ATC until 1982 when his union went on strike and President Reagan fired the controllers.  He obtained a job in Saudi Arabia for two years in ATC where he made several good friends.  After returning to the states he began looking for a federal job to allow him to receive his federal retirement.  After working in Charleston, WV with the DOT for one year he was able to retire in 1987.  After a bit he went to work for the State of NM at the Department of Human Services and retired again in 2006.  He called Albuquerque his home for over 50 years.  He had a lifelong love of baseball.  He cheered on the Albuquerque Dukes and played softball in the senior league until he could no longer play.  Shirl was kind and generous.  He loved animals and had several dogs over the years.  He was able to make friends with any animal he came across.  He loved hummingbirds and spoiled the cats in his life too.  He never met a stranger and was able to strike up a conversation with anyone.  He is survived by four of his sisters, Doris Marsh, Eula Kearns, Joyce Courtney and Charlotte Bell; all of Kentucky; many nieces and nephews; his close friend Joe Piquet and his companion of 30 years, Cheryl Cargile.  In lieu of funeral services his ashes will be interred at a later date.

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