Willis John Holmberg (Willie), 89, formerly of Las Cruces, died in Fort Collins, Colo., on Oct. 20, 2013. Willie was born Nov. 2, 1923, in Miller, Kansas. He grew up on the family farm, then was involved in public education all of his working life, first as a teacher and coach in Kansas, then as a teacher, coach and guidance counselor in the Las Cruces School District. He served as director of guidance for many years at Las Cruces High School during the 1960s, '70s and early '80s. Willis attended high school in Miller, Kansas, and later earned degrees from Emporia State Teachers College and NMSU. Willis was a WWII veteran, serving in U.S. Army Air Corps from 1944-1946. He had resided in Fort Collins for the past two years. He was an avid outdoorsman who loved to fish, and after retirement split his time between his cabin in Creede, Colo., and his retirement residence in Mesa, Ariz. He enjoyed collecting stamps and coins, and loved showing his collections to friends, family and especially his grand-children. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Gladys (Nicolay) Holmberg, who passed away in 1973. He remarried in 1984, and is survived by his second wife, Betty (Whiteside) Holmberg who resides in Fort Collins. Additionally, he is survived by his four children; Jean Casey of Albuquerque; Rebecca Hervey of Severance; Colo., Mary Sue Scott of Windsor, Colo.; and Willis John Jr. of Colorado Springs, Colo.; eight grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
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Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Dec. 24, 2013