Back to William's LifeWeb


William S. Huey, age 85, died peacefully at his Tesuque home Wednesday morning August, 25th. Bill was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, on March 25, 1925, to mother Homer Ella Morrow Huey and his father William Huey. Bill became the person he was from the doting love and guidance of his mother Homer, grandparents, Sampson H. and George Annie Webb Morrow and Homer's five sisters, especially "Sister Ann" Ann Morrow Griffith who would raise him from the age of two when Homer and baby "Billy Sam" moved to Ft. Worth, Texas. After graduation from Arlington Heights High School in Ft. Worth, Bill enlisted in the military and reported to Aviation Cadet School in Dallas, Texas in March 1943. In April 1945 he boarded the Queen Elizabeth I to England where he fought in WW II as a turret gunner in the U.S. Air Force. When the war was over he earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at New Mexico A&M (now NMSU). Bill met and married his wife Mary Blue of Rochester, NY, who was also attending A&M as a student in Engineering. After being engaged for only a few hours (and, no, that is not a typo), they were married. They celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary on January 5, 2009; Mary died two months later on March 6, 2009. After graduating from A&M Bill and Mary moved to Reserve, New Mexico. It is here that Bill started a career as a game warden with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. His love and dedication to wildlife management would lead to a long and distinguished career. He would serve as chief of public affairs, assistant director and director before he was appointed cabinet Secretary of Natural Resources. Friends remember Bill most for his big presence with a kind and accepting heart, an infectious sense of humor, and that one of a kind dog whistle that resonated in the hills of Tesuque for over 57 years. His dress? Always dapper and finished off in true style with his Huey signature… desert boots. We will all cherish our memories of Bill's and Mary's Easter egg hunts, the Cowboy Cookout, swimming all summer long in the Huey pool, ice skating on the pond, along with the annual Bill Huey birthday cake with Gran Morrow's frosting recipe. His hobby's and interests were varied and carried out with first class intensity: a gift and love for gardening, especially his prized iris garden; raising pea fowl, chickens, Koi, racing pigeons and at one point two pair each: Sand Hill and African Cranes. It was Bill's grandfather who introduced him to the art of woodcarving. He became very accomplished and could make an animal appear regardless of the material, a block of wood, a stone and even casting clay, this artist at heart could make a decoy, carousel horse and a whole menagerie of animals appear out of anything. Bill traveled the world and developed a particular fondness for Africa. After his first visit in '72, he would return with Mary and several friends as a tour guide in '74. That 18-day trip included visits to Masai Mara Reserve, Ngorongoro Crater and the world famous Treetop lodge and Serengeti Game Reserve in Tanzania. You might say it became an addiction. Bill would return again in '77, '88, '89, '91 and '95 to briefly satisfy his love affair with this continent: the land, the people and of course, the animals. Among colleagues, he is revered as a visionary, the godfather of wildlife management in New Mexico. He was recognized as a conservation hero by the Nature Conservancy and was honored throughout his career and even after he retired with many accolades for his service and advice on preservation and wildlife management. Bill was the recipient of the Winchester Award for his outstanding conservation efforts and interests in national and international conservation matters. He was also recognized by the International Wildlife Foundation and the International Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. The National Wildlife Federation honored him with a special conservation award and he was instrumental in helping the Federal Government acquire the Valles Caldera (formerly known as the Baca Ranch) in northern New Mexico. The following tribute was made on Bill's behalf when he and Mary were recognized as "Living Treasures" in 2001: "Bill Huey is a conservationist who is well known to his peers and colleagues, but whose full impact on the protection of living natural resources in New Mexico, and, indeed, all of North America, may never be fully understood." Bill is survived by his dogs Kate and Sandy III, his cousins Dina Smith of Ft. Worth, Ross Morrow and wife Rowena of Dallas, Betty McCampbell of Amarillo and their families; sisters-in-law, Nancy Schiller and Cornelia Cowles and brother-in-law Douglas Blue all of Rochester, NY, and their families and a few though unofficially adopted children and grand children who were blessed enough to have had Bill and Mary's love, guidance and embracing arms around them as friends and even surrogate parents-- you all know who you are. He will be remembered as he was addressed for many years from so many hearts as "Uncle Bill" and even "Granddaddy Bill". For those of you who were ever addressed as "darlin'" or "Sweetheart", you know how special you are.