PORTALES — Memorial services for Ernest Jackson Leach, 85, of Portales, were held at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in [auth] the Wheeler Mortuary Chapel. Honorary pallbearers were Charlie Sorgen, Stuart Ingle, Hubert Morgan Jr., Mac McKnight, Howard Perry, Don McDaniels, Glenn Ezell, Jay Brown, Cecil Cook, Steve Howl, Glen Howl, Dick Hood, Bob Wood and Joe Thompson. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to one of Ernest’s favorite charities – The Salvation Army, Animal Humane Society of New Mexico, or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Ernest Jackson Leach went to be with the Lord on Dec. 2, 2012, in Lubbock, Texas, after suffering a brief illness. Ernest was born north of Broadview, on May 11, 1927, the youngest of 14 children. He moved to Portales, where he went to school and graduated at the age of 15. He attended ENMU and worked at the Yam Theater, where he met the love of his life Veda Mae Stuart. They were married on Dec. 26, 1945. Their son Brett was born in 1947, and their daughter Tonya in 1950. Before beginning his primary career that spanned more than 50 years, he had his own milk delivery business, at which time he began his relationship with his “adopted” son Charles Craig. During World War II, Ernest was proud to serve his country in the Army. He began his career with New York Life in 1955, and his devotion to serving his customers continued until the very end.
Ernest was an avid golfer and helped establish the Portales Country Club. In the years to come, he and Veda enjoyed going to their condo in Ruidoso and shared many wonderful times there. Later, Veda became very ill with ALS and he was her caring and constant companion and caregiver until her death in 2008. His life was well-lived and one that touched others in so many ways. He was adored by his family and valued with high esteem by his friends, colleagues and customers. His sense of humor and amiable character were a joy to those around him. His storytelling skills combined with a keen memory made him the go-to guy for historical information about Portales, and much more.
Ernest is survived by his son Brett Leach and wife Andi Smith, of Roswell; his daughter Tonya Williams, of Albuquerque; his adopted son Charles Craig and wife Beverly Kay, of Lubbock; his granddaughters, Stacey Williams Abdalla and husband Chris, of Albuquerque, and Kristen Harrington and husband Peter, of Denver; and great-grandsons, Aidan Abdalla and William Harrington; and a sister Mary Blakely. He was preceded in death by his parents, 12 siblings, and his beloved wife Veda Mae, who died Oct. 22, 2008, after nearly 63 years of marriage.
Arrangements were under the direction of Wheeler Mortuary of Portales, 575-356-4455, wheelermortuary.net.