Obituaries Voices

Obituary: Steve Ray Herrera Sr.

Photo Credit: SU Drum Archive

HERRERA – Ignacio resident Steven R. Herrera, Sr., passed on November 30, 2018, at home. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Known as “Squanto”, “Willie”, “Jefe”, “Nino” and last but not least “Big Daddy”, to his family and friends, he was born to Leona Red and Felix Chanio Herrera, on April 22, 1966. He graduated from Ignacio High School in 1984. Steve was an active member of the Ignacio community and a lifelong supporter of the Ignacio School District and community youth.

Upon graduating from high school Steve entered the work force to support his family at the Southern Ute Wood Yard and at the age of 21, landed his first career job at the Southern Ute Water Plant where became a certified operator in two classes. Steve then moved on into the oil and gas field for West Gas and Williams Field Services, with a brief relocation to Aztec, New Mexico. In 2002, Steve came back to his Tribe and became a Plant Operator Foreman for Red Cedar Gas Gathering Company. He stayed committed to his Tribe and continued working for the Growth Fund oil and gas companies through 2007 when he was elected as a Councilman and served a three-year term on the Southern Ute Tribal Council. Following his completed term, Steve was appointed Co-Executive Officer in 2011, with colleague, Amy Barry, by Southern Ute Tribal Chairman, Jimmy Newton Jr. Steve fulfilled this appointment until Chairman Newton’s passing in 2014, with a shared passion for his people, the tribal administrative staff and the many colleagues he interacted with. Following the 2014 expiration of appointment, Steven jumped back into the oil field at Red Willow Production Company where he remained employed as a Senior Operations Foreman up to his death.

In 1985, Steven married Veronica Sanchez. During their marriage, they welcomed sons, Steven Ray Herrera Jr. and Antonio Felix Herrera. Steven’s only grandson, Davian Matthew Herrera, was welcomed into the family on October 28, 2007. During this time Steven also completed his spiritual path as a Sundancer with assistance from his Uncle Byron Frost and Aunt Etta, a path he always had respect and admiration for and those who walked the same spiritual path. Steven and Veronica also shared many godchildren whom Steven acknowledged every chance he had. Steven also opened his family door to many of his boys’ friends, extended family or those who needed a place for a while, that’s just what Steve did. He cared. Their courtship ended in 2014.

In his spare time, Steven loved fly-fishing with “Big Ugly” on the rivers with his boys, watching baseball, coaching baseball, and playing ball with so many of his friends. Steve avidly practiced his religion on the golf course, he was committed. Steve’s love of his iron horse, “Mi Vida” was immeasurable through the time he left this world. Steve loved the friends his bike brought into his life, the many breathtaking views of the many journeys he made with those close or the new brothers he met on the road. Steve lived for the free weekends and open road to “get it on and jam out”. Rides to Silverton, Laughlin, Grand Junction, everywhere, Steve always came home with wonderful memories.

During many motorcycle runs Steve would partake in, he met Trisha A. Moore through mutual friends. They had mutual interests and they loved the iron horse. He said get on and she never got off. Steven welcomed her and step-daughter Breonna Webb into his home with a plan to travel the States on “Mi Vida”. They were married on December 14, 2014. Their story is depicted in endless pictures Steven took during their wonderful journeys and marriage that he would share on the walls of their home.

Steven’s love was genuine for those in his life. He was a mentor for so many in his family, his community and for those who just needed to be told “you can” “work hard”. Throughout his years in school and beyond, classmates, friends and family will always remember him for his big hugs and million-dollar smile.

Mr. Herrera is survived by his wife, Trisha A. Herrera, of Ignacio; daughter, Breonna Webb, of Ignacio; sons, Steven Ray Herrera Jr., Ignacio; grandson, Davian Matthew Herrera; Antonio Felix Herrera, Ignacio; mother, Leona Red, Ignacio; brothers, Carlos Herrera, Ignacio; Felix Herrera, California; Marvin Pinnecoose, Nevada; sisters, Dorene Baker, Sante Fe; Felicia Herrera, California; Aunts; Donna Rock, Ignacio; Ula Gregory, Ignacio; Etta Frost (Byron); 19 godchildren and numerous cousins. Steven also enjoyed spending time with his cat “El Chapo”.

Steven is preceded in death by father; Felix Chanio Herrera; and brother, Richard Herrera

A rosary was recited Monday, December 3, 2018, at the St. Ignatius Catholic Church. A sunrise ceremony and memorial service were on December 4, 2018, at the St. Ignatius Catholic Church.

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