Stuart P. Meerscheidt

Obituary
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  • " We have lost another one of the Greatest Generation. I ..."
    - Larry Luchini
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  • "My condolences to Mr. Meerscheidt's family. I grew up..."
    - Asuncion Duran
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    - Mark Carver
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    - Sharie Hutchison
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Meerscheidt, Stuart P.



Longtime Las Cruces businessman, retired pecan grower and World War II veteran Stuart P. Meerscheidt, 91, died Friday, June 2, 2017, in Las Cruces after a brief illness.

He was born April 3, 1926, in Nogales, Ariz., to Hilmar Frank and Esther Irene Stuart Meerscheidt â€" the first of their two sons.

While Stuart was a child, the Meerscheidts moved back to Las Cruces where Stuart attended Mesilla Park Elementary and Central Junior High schools before graduating from Las Cruces Union High School in 1943 at age 17.

In March 1944, while a freshman at New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts, Stuart enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces and served as an electrical technician on the C-46 Commando, a twin-engine military transport, in the China-Burma-India theater of World War II. Sgt. Meerscheidt was honorably discharged in July 1946, and used his G.I. Bill benefits to earn a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering at New Mexico A&M and a master's degree in engineering at Utah State University.

After college, he returned to Las Cruces and worked for several years as a hydraulic engineer with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation before founding Jornada Water Company, Butte Pump Company and Desert Drydock, a marine dealership on Valley Drive. After his parents died, Stuart and his brother, Grayson, took over the family's farm south of Mesilla and operated it for more than two decades.

While teaching chemistry at Las Cruces Union High School as a college student, Stuart met Betty Jean "Betsy" Loomis, who became his bride on Nov. 19, 1951, in Las Cruces. They raised two daughters, Marilynn and Janette, who now live in the East Mountains area outside Albuquerque. Betsy died suddenly on Aug. 17, 2004, in Las Cruces. Stuart and Betsy had been married 52 years.

Stuart, who played varsity basketball at New Mexico A&M from 1947 to 1949, and Betsy were lifelong Aggie fans and supporters, and were fixtures at hundreds of Aggie basketball, football and baseball games for more than a half century. Betsy could usually be seen waving her Aggie flag and a red pair of bloomers at nearly every Aggie game.

Besides being longtime donors to Aggie athletics, the couple sponsored the hydrotherapy pool in the Stan Fulton Center at Aggie Memorial Stadium in 2008, and established the Stuart and Betsy Meerscheidt Athletic Training Education Program Endowed Scholarship Fund for NMSU athletics students. More recently, they established the Stuart and Betty Meerscheidt Family Rentfrow Fund in the NMSU Department of Kinesiology and Dance.

Stuart was inducted into the NMSU Athletic Hall of Fame on March 7, 2015.

While raising his daughters, Stuart raced mini-stock cars at Mesilla Valley Speedway and tunnel-hull boats throughout the Southwest, enlisting his girls as his pit crew. Racing was always a family affair with the Meerscheidts, as were fishing trips to Mexico, weekends at Elephant Butte Lake, elk hunting in the Gila Wilderness and many other adventures.

He was active with the Las Cruces chapter of China-Burma-India veterans and other veterans organizations.

Survivors include: his daughters and sons-in-law, Marilynn and Jim Morris, and Janette and Charles Brunt; granddaughter Mary-Therese Morris; grandson Stuart J. Morris; and many relatives and friends.

A celebration of Stuart's life will take place at 2 pm Friday, June 9, 2017, at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Road in Las Cruces. A private family burial will be at Masonic Cemetery under direction of La Paz-Graham's Funeral Home.

In keeping with Stuart's love for the Aggies, the family requests that you wear your favorite Aggie apparel to the celebration.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Stuart and Betty Meerscheidt Athletic Training Education Program Endowed Scholarship fund at the New Mexico State University Foundation, P.O. Box 3590, Las Cruces, NM 88003-3590, (575)646-1613.

Funeral Home
La Paz-Graham's Funeral Home - Las Cruces
555 W. Amador
Las Cruces, NM 88001
(575) 526-6891
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Published in Albuquerque Journal on June 8, 2017