Rural 01

James Dewey McLehaney, Jr.

June 23, 1928 ~ February 7, 2022 (age 93) 93 Years Old


James Dewey McLehaney, Jr

James Dewey McLehaney, Jr. passed away on Monday, February 7, 2022 at the age of 93. Dewey is survived by his wife, Sherri nee Bogart McLehaney; brother, Thomas McLehaney (Bonnie); cousin, Bill McLehaney (Betty); nephews, Curtis Siegler, Dustin McLehaney, and Brooke McLehaney (Cheyla); and great-nephews, Jacob and Joshua McLehaney. Dewey was preceded in death by his first wife Betty, father, James Dewey McLehaney, Sr; and mother, Dixie Cody McLehaney.

Dewey was born on Saturday, June 23, 1928 in Santa Rita, NM at the old hospital there. The town was entirely enclosed by an open pit copper mine making it an "island." The mining company decided to mine this land requiring people and homes to be moved to other locations. All the people born at the old hospital in Santa Rita were known to be "Born in Space" since the original townsite was now in midair. Astronaut Harrison Schmidt had been born there as well and had the idea that since the town site no longer existed, anyone who had been born there could be considered to be "Born in Space."

Dewey attended Hurley High School and New Mexico Military Institute. After that he worked for a time at the mine in Santa Rita but was drafted for service in the Army during the Korean War. He spent the duration of his service in Korea, returning to Santa Rita afterwards. He met and married Betty nee Clarence, a nurse at Fort Bayard. He worked for a time at the Chino copper mine in Santa Rita before enrolling in the Mining Engineering program at the University of Arizona in Tuscan, AZ, graduating with a Master's Degree in Mining Engineering.

Upon completion of his education, Dewey went to work for Shell Oil Company as a petroleum engineer. He learned the oil drilling business starting at the lowest position on a drilling rig enabling him to understand the complexities of the drilling operation. During his career with Shell, he traveled to many locations such as Farmington, NM, Moab, UT, Houston, TX, Anchorage, AL, Long Beach, Ventura, Bakersfield and Los Angeles CA.

Following his retirement, Dewey returned to New Mexico, residing in Albuquerque. He learned to play golf and did Medicare Counseling for Senior Centers for more than 20 years.

After the death of his wife Betty, Dewey met and married Sherri. During the next 21 years, they traveled together to Alaska, California, Florida, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Texas, Virginia, Washington DC, Canada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, and Mexico. They cruised through the Panama Canal so Dewey could witness the operation of the lock system.

Dewey was a very kind and generous man to all who knew him.

His final journey was to the Fort Bayard National Cemetery.


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