Arthur L. LeMay was born Nov. 9, 1927, and passed away Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. He was born to Fred and Fanny Belle Bersuch LeMay in El Dorado, Kan. The family soon moved to Karval, Colo., where Art spent his youth. He attended high school in the nearby town of Hugo where he graduated in 1945. Art lost both of his parents shortly after graduating high school. At the age of 16, Art had already obtained his pilot’s license and was renowned as a barnstorming daredevil in his Stearman over the skies of Karval, in which many years later he was honored in a parade as the “Karval Baron.” It was in Rocky Ford, Colo., that Art married Clarena Mattson on Oct. 12, 1952. The couple just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
Art enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 13, 1951, and had his basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio. He had tours of duty in both England and Guam. Art was stationed at Walker Air Force Base in Roswell with the 509th and was part of the Air Force Reserves from 1955 to 1957. During his time in the service he accumulated the National Defense Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal.
In 1956, Art and Clarena had a son, Rodney Arthur LeMay and in 1963, a daughter Linde Lea LeMay Newman. After Art’s honorable discharge in 1955, he chose to stay in Roswell as a pilot and aircraft mechanic for Malco Refineries from 1955 to 1959 after which he and Clarena started their own flying business and fixed-base operation known as Airlane Aviation which they operated from 1959 to 1977. Also, Art had an Avis Rental Car franchise along with the flying business. In 1967, Art was named New Mexico Airport Operator of the Year by the New Mexico Flying Farmers. After the flying business was sold, he had a contract to maintain Falcon jets for Pan Am until the planes were sold to FedEx. Art, with his son Rodney, was also a talented mechanic and auto body man. Together, the two ran an auto restoration business. In 1980, the father and son began South Fork Mobile Home Park, where Art continued to work and manage all the way up until he recently passed away at the age of 85. Art enjoyed his job and loved his tenants at the mobile home park and never once considered retirement. He is survived by his wife Clarena, his son Rodney LeMay and wife Trish LeMay, of Roswell, daughter Linde Newman and husband Pete Newman of College Station, Texas. Art is also survived by his three grandchildren, John LeMay of Roswell, Scott Newman of Houston and Kristen Newman of College Station, Texas. Art is also survived by his good friend and brother-in-law Delbert Mattson and wife Frances who still live on the family ranch east of Colorado Springs.
Military services are scheduled for 2 p.m., Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, at Ballard Funeral Chapel for Arthur L. LeMay, 85, who passed away Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at ballardfuneralhome.com.