|Theodore James Offutt was born on December 22, 1943 to Olin & Ruth Offutt, and he passed away December 28, 2022 at his residence in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Theodore “Ted” grew up in Deming on the family farm and graduated from Deming High School in 1962. He worked various jobs before starting his career at Columbus Electric CO-OP as a lineman, electrician, and meterman.|
Ted joined the Army in 1969 and went to Fort Wolters, Texas to become a helicopter pilot. He married Janet Burton in 1970, and they lived at Fort Rucker AL and Savannah GA so he could finish flight school. Ted was called to duty and sent to Vietnam in December 1970 where he flew the Cobra helicopters with Air Cav Troop, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment until he was shot while on mission on Easter Sunday 1971. His Co- Pilot refused orders to land in hostile territory and flew a severely wounded Ted to a safe zone so he could have a chance of survival from his injuries. He was honorably medically discharged from the Army in 1972, and he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Devices, Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, and the Purple Heart.
After spending time in the military hospital, Ted came home to continue healing, and then was able to go back to work later in 1971 at the Co-Op until his retirement in 2008. Ted could scale an electric pole or tree with his claw climbing equipment, and he drove hundreds of miles every month for his job. He loved to play many practical jokes on his co-workers as he loved to laugh and have a good time with others. Ted had a son Tracy, and with his wife Janet he had two daughters, Tammy and Amber. The family spent many summers in the Gila camping, fishing, picnics and long drives in the mountains to get away. Ted loved fast cars, motorcycles, and his plane. He would take passengers on a plane ride, and do tricks and flips, all of which would make his passengers not want to go fly with him again. He loved being outdoors, in the mountains hunting, fishing, photography, collecting firearms, shooting sports and blowing things up. He enjoyed sharing these times with the kids. He truly enjoyed spending time with his grandkids, teaching them how to fish, shoot, drive, and especially letting them come home really dirty. Ted was proud to serve in the Army and loved his country deeply, so much so that he tried to re-enlist in 1990 to serve in Desert Storm, and any other battles he could fly in; he was turned down by the recruiter’s office.
Ted is survived by Janet, his wife of 50 years. His surviving children are Tracy (Martha) Offutt of Oceanside, CA, Tammy (Mike) Smelker of Las Cruces, NM, and Amber (Adrian) Aizpuru of Las Cruces, NM. His grandchildren include Venita, Victor, and Vincent Offutt; Garrett, Mikayla, and Tyler Smelker; and Adigail, Araelia Jo, and Abram Aizpuru. He is also survived by his five great grandchildren; sisters Joan Hayes and Nita Stinson; and many nephews, nieces and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents Olin and Ruth Offutt; sister Diana Arrington; niece Donna Arrington; mother-in- law Lillie Burton; and sister-in-law Deanna Johnson. Our father will be greatly missed by his family and friends. His services were held on January 9, 2023, at Terrazas Funeral Home. Thank you to everyone who attended the services, those who have been a part of his life, and everyone who has enjoyed his presence.