Wallace Ray Reinecke, age 82, passed over into Glory on Sunday, May 12, 2013, in the same room he was born in on Dec. 9, 1930. Born into two pioneering farm families who came to the Pecos Valley of New Mexico in the early 1900s with great expectations of growing alfalfa on the rich soil irrigated by plentiful artesian water, Wallace began working in the fields at age 7. Too short to reach the throttle and the brake from a sitting position, he would stand up to drive the tractor. He grew up spending his childhood on two farms near Dexter. He and his wife, Jimmie Lee, continue to occupy the white, two-story, clapboard house that has been home to five generations of Weavers and Reineckes over the past 96 years.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. at the Presbyterian Church in Dexter, 201 W. Fifth St. Burial will immediately follow at Hagerman Cemetery.
Preceding him in death are his maternal grandparents, George and Hannah Weaver; his paternal grandparents, Henry and Amelia Reinecke; his parents, Frank and Opal Reinecke; three Reinecke uncles, Harry, Richard and Carl; two Weaver aunts, Alda Mae and Ethel Marie; his stepfather “Coach” George Lewis; two Reinecke cousins, Ruth and Russell; two Weaver cousins, Eleanor Southworth Sansucee and Frances Schlemeyer; brother-in-law Stanley Ault and cherished grandson Kurt Aaron Berry. Surviving him are his family of Dexter, his wife of 57 years Jimmie Lee Harbert Reinecke; daughter LeeAnn Sandoval and her husband Danny; son Douglas Ray Reinecke and his wife Gina; daughter Dr. Lisa Renee Reinecke and Dr. Krasimir Hristov and Wally’s constant companion Abby the red weimaraner. Wallace has four surviving grandchildren and two step-grandsons. They are James Kyle Berry of Dexter, Austin Reinecke Wulf of Lubbock, Texas, Shae Lynn Reinecke of Las Cruces, Lauren Elise Wulf of Roswell, Christopher Hernandez of Santa Fe and Joe Hernandez of Owensboro, Ky. Also surviving him are two sisters, Helen Janice Ault of Buena Park, Calif., and Flossie Mae Blackwell and her husband Ira of Edgewood; sister-in-law Kay Grassie and husband Earl of Dexter; three nephews, Gary Ault of Plano, Texas, Rod Ault of Menifee, Calif., and Rick Coats of Dexter; five nieces, Gail Henson of Roswell, Sheila Eudy of Crane, Texas, Shelly Bauer of Midland, Texas, Kimberly Bulloc of Lee’s Summit, Mo., and Cortney Miranda of Dexter.
Wallace Ray attended Dexter schools for 12 years and graduated with the DHS class of 1949. While in high school he was a forward on the Demon basketball team, the pitcher on the Demon baseball team and ran on the track team. After graduation, he worked on the family farms during a four-year farm deferment from the service. In 1955, he was drafted into the United States Army and attended boot camp at Fort Ord, Calif. He was stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., for two years. During his stint in the Army he served on the Honor Guard for the 3rd Infantry Division known as the Rock of the Marne. It was there that he married Jimmie Lee Harbert and they became parents just before returning to Dexter.
Upon his return to Dexter, he resumed working on the farms with his father until his death in 1958. He continued to operate Reinecke Farms with his mother Opal Reinecke over the next 42 years. He was a top-notch agrarian and Farm Bureau named him Young Farmer of the Year in 1967. When he wasn’t farming, his favorite pastimes were annual family vacations waterskiing and fishing on Lake LBJ in the Texas Hill Country, snow skiing at Sierra Blanca and yearly deer hunts in the Capitan Mountains. Wallace was in his element during deer season each year. His deer camp excursions always included wife, children and favorite hunting buddies. He also enjoyed hunting elk, Barbary sheep, bear, quail, pheasant, dove and ducks. Wally made many trips to Mexico for deep sea fishing and was fortunate to travel twice to Africa on safari. On his first safari he brought home six exotic breeds for trophies. On his second safari he witnessed his grandson, Austin, shoot and kill his first lion.
Wally, as he was known to close family and friends, was brought up in the Christian faith. He was baptized into the body of Christ as a young man on Easter Sunday in a local irrigation tank. He was raised with old-fashion morals, practiced the golden rule and if he couldn’t say something nice about someone, he just didn’t say anything at all. He was taught to respect God, his country, his elders and be a good steward of the land he used. He was gracious to those less fortunate than himself and always glad to share his possessions with others. He would lend out tools, tractors, trailers, bailers, boats, guns, fishing gear or anything he had for a friend in need. He was a member of a number of service organizations including Dexter Demon Booster Club, East Grand Plains Lion’s Club, Fraternal Order of Elks and the Fraternal Order of Eagles. He served on the board of directors for Hagerman Irrigation Company, Farmer’s Co-op and the local council of Farm Home Administration. Out of his desire to serve his countrymen, he ran for political office twice during the 1960s, both bids proving unsuccessful. He served Chaves County as an adult 4-H leader in leading the Dexteers 4-H Club. He supported LeeAnn and Douglas through many years of raising beef steers, market lambs and breeding stock. Together they attended and participated in many local and state fairs traveling as far as Texas to show livestock. One of his proudest accomplishments was the year Douglas took Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion in Angus breeding stock at the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque.
Wally enjoyed traveling with friends and family. He made numerous trips to Mazatlan, Mexico, for fishing, sun and fun, and made a month-long trek through Alaska floating Birch Creek for 10 days of hunting and fishing along the way. He accompanied LeeAnn to the National Wool Growers convention in Washington, D.C. and traveled often to Dallas to see Lisa during her years of chiropractic school. He drove coast-to-coast with the New Mexico Pullers Association competing in tractor pulls with Douglas and the MASH 4077 and his son-in-law, Jim, who ran the Bootlegger modified tractor. He frequented the Ruidoso family cabin as often as possible and enjoyed cooking for anyone who showed up there for a meal. In 2009, he made a 3,000-mile loop through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and back home tracing his family roots back to the mid-1800s.
Wally loved to cook! Cooking was his love language. He cooked for weddings, funerals, tractor pulls, music festivals, birthday parties, fundraisers, holiday celebrations, and reunions, just to name a few. Any time he could find a group of hungry people he was willing to cook for them. Some of his famous dishes included barbecued brisket, smoked turkey, prime rib, biscuits and gravy, huevos comochingas, cowboy cobblers, steaks on the grill and grilled veggies. He made a mean pot of beans and a savory pot of stew.
Pallbearers will be his grandsons, James Kyle Berry and Austin Reinecke Wulf; childhood friend Joe Durand; brother-in-law Ira Blackwell Jr.; great-nephew John Eudy and close family friend John Thomas Reid. Honorary pallbearers will be Donald Kuykendall, Marvin Bramblett, Ottie Andress, Joe Lucero and Jim Berry.
In lieu of flowers, donations in honor of Wallace may be made to the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry at P.O. Box 267, Hagerman, NM 88232; Angel Flights South Central at 2550 Midway Road Ste. 220, Carrollton, TX 75006; or the Chaves County Cancer Fund at P.O. Box 193, Roswell, NM 88202. Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at ballardfuneralhome.com.