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Joe L. Herrera

1947 - 2019
Joe L. Herrera Obituary
Joe L. Herrera passed away Friday, May 31, 2019, at the age of 72, surrounded by his wife and children after a 5 month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born in Durango, Colorado on January 7, 1947, to Louis B. (Bennie) and Elsie (Lucero) Herrera. He lived his entire life in Ignacio, Colorado, a 3rd generation to the family homestead, also known as Herrera Hill area.

He married Sue C. Atkins on October 15, 1966, in Durango at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Together they raised two children who are their pride and joy, Annette and Chris. Joe's greatest treasure was his grandchildren: Alex, Nicholas, Morgan, Larissa and Makayla and he was their biggest fan! Socializing was his second passion. At times his family would think, he would be running for mayor, no matter which town he was visiting, due to his social personality.

Joe was kind hearted, friendly, made everyone feel like family and at home when visiting, and always with a great sense of humor. Family meant everything to Joe, immediate, and extended family (3rd, 4th, 5th cousins); he was the glue that kept us all together not losing contact, making sure the younger generations knew each other. He would be there for them, just as quickly as he would be there for his own children. As Joe said many times, "that is what family does". He had many that knew him as "Grandpa Joe".

Joe had many hobbies, the first being his motorcycle, with many adventures with his motorcycle family. He loved hunting from a very young age with his Uncle Joe, killing his first deer with a .22lr. So many stories of hunting with his brothers, the adventures they had, and some wondering how they survived. The most recent years of hunting was with his son, Chris and the grandkids. Oh, and let's not forget, all the fishing trips on the pontoon boat, very memorable with the family, enjoying the days of being on the lakes fishing and BBQ's. He loved camping, with his parents and brothers' families at Williams Creek to most recently at hunting camp on Devil Mountain.

Another of Joe's hobbies was playing the guitar, he started playing at an early age. He played and sang with many Spanish bands, the last being a local favorite the "Los Mitotes". Family and friends would attend the practice sessions in his parents garage, where many who would come to listen and dance. Passing motorist would even stop and dance in the driveway. The "Los Mitotes" played at many events, from fiestas, parades, graduations and weddings throughout Colorado, Utah and New Mexico.

Joe was a truck driver for over 40 years, driving big rigs over the road for 30 years. During layovers throughout the country, he would visit with nearby family or friends. He had an excellent memory of the best routes to take, in any city or state he had traveled. Joe could tell you where to stop for a good meal and the best truck stops. Two days before Joe passed, he was giving directions to a friend over the phone, on the quickest route to take his semi through Kansas City for a delivery.

Joe was the very first "State Champion" in Ignacio High School in 1965 for the 880 yard run. He continues to hold the school record for that race. Joe always maintained his small town roots and was a very proud Ignacio Bobcat! He was preceded in death by his parents.

He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, brothers, many nieces and nephews.

Services for Joe will be held on Saturday, June 8, 2019, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. There will be a rosary at 9:00 AM, eulogy at 9:30 followed by Mass at 10:00 AM. A dinner immediately following services at Sacred Heart Parish Hall, for one of Joe's favorite things "socializing and telling stories" will take place. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully asks that donations be sent to the Hospice of Mercy in Durango.
Published in The Durango Herald on June 3, 2019
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