Alton R. (Jeff) Holliefield, of Las Cruces, N.M., died peacefully surrounded by his family at Mountain View Hospital on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 from complications of paraplegia. He was 57 years old. Jeff was born on Oct. 16, 1955 to Alton S. and Estelle Holliefield and grew up in Tortugas. He graduated from Las Cruces High School in 1973 and then worked at several local businesses until entering the city of Las Cruces Fire Department in 1977. Jeff took pride in being a firefighter and received several letters of commendation for citizen outreach classes he presented for the Stop, Drop, and Roll Program. Jeff was promoted to driver, a job he loved and held until August 1982 when a spinal cord injury left him paralyzed. Even though paralysis made life difficult, Jeff still continued to help people by teaching several paraplegic caregiver classes for local respite care facilities. In 1986, Jeff purchased and managed Alpha Teaching Tools, a local teaching supply store. He enjoyed going to work every day and took pride in his store. During this time, Jeff became interested in computer aided drafting, so he sold the store, attended NMSU and graduated with honors; receiving an associate's degree in applied science for computer aided drafting in 1998. Jeff began freelance designing and preparing construction plans for homes and apartment complexes in Las Cruces and Farmington. Jeff was a strong advocate for the Americans with Disabilities Act and always incorporated additional access amenities, such as homes with no hallways and electrical outlets located higher on the wall and light switches lower on the wall, into all his designs. Jeff retired in 2007 when frequent hospital stays and failing health prevented him from working. Jeff had a remarkable memory and left us with remarkable memories. Jeff always had a smile to share, even on the last day of his life. He is survived by his wife Sherri, whom he married in 1978; his cherished daughter Nicole (Chavez) and son-in-law T.C.; his brother Jerry and sisters Kathy and Joanne; his best friend Rhonda Munnerlyn and her daughter Brittney; his mother-in-law Margaret Frantz (Mom), as well as several nieces, nephews and friends. Jeff will be greatly missed by all who loved him. The family will conduct a private service. Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be made to the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at email@example.com.
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Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on July 9, 2013