Forrest W. Westmoreland, 81, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, passed away peacefully July 25, 2014, surrounded by family and friends. He was born March 21, 1933, to Earl and Jean Westmoreland on a homestead east of Lordsburg, New Mexico. A pioneering family, the Westmorelands moved to Garfield, New Mexico, where they lived until Forrest was 12. The family ultimately settled in Las Cruces, where Forrest spent the majority of the rest of his life. In 1951, he married his sweetheart, Ava Joyce Clark, of Fort Worth, T exas, and in 1956 they welcomed twins Brent and Renee.
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Forrest exhibited an early interest in body building and boxing, and by the age of 19 had achieved Golden Glove Champion status. He was the author and publisher of the book "Success/Happiness," a self -improvement book. Forrest was also interested in acting and appeared in many movies and pilots that were filmed in the Las Cruces area, including "Hang 'em High, " "Calhoun:County Agent, " "Canon " and "Cimarron Strip. " Along with friends and associates, Forrest co-wrote, co-produced and appeared in "The Devil's Mistress, " filmed in the Las Cruces area and recently featured at the Fountain Theater in Mesilla. In addition, he acted in several plays in the Las Cruces Community Theater and at New Mexico State University. Also a musician, Forrest and his band, Wes Morland and the Furys, played in several venues in El Paso and Las Cruces in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Forrest had an enormous love of music, especially any songs by "The Rat Pack" members. Forrest's professional life consisted primarily of land development in the Las Cruces/Deming area. Additionally, Forrest owned and operated a general construction company, building many residential subdivisions and numerous commercial and institutional projects. He served on the New Mexico Construction Industries Commission in the mid -1980s.
Forrest was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Gary Westmoreland, and his daughter Ava Renee Westmoreland Mueller. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Joyce, his son Brent (Gaye), three granddaughters, Ava Mueller, Whitney Westmoreland and Kerry Santos (Victor). Forrest also leaves behind two great-grandchildren whom he adored, William Santos and Lilli Renee Boyd.
Forrest will be remembered as a very passionate, goal-oriented, driven individual. One of his favorite sayings was "Tell 'em I tried." He will be missed by all who knew and loved him. There will be a memorial service to honor his life on Saturday, Aug. 16, at 10 a.m. at La Paz Grahams Mortuary. A private interment will occur at a later time at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to Mesilla Valley Hospice, 299 E. Montana, Las Cruces, NM 88005 or www.mvhospice.org.
La Paz - Graham's Funeral Home - Las Cruces
555 West Amador
Las Cruces, NM 88005
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Aug. 9, 2014