Obituary: Herbert L. Lightsey

Herbert L. Lightsey
Herbert L. Lightsey
Provided Photo

September 29, 1935 – April 21, 2023

Herbert L. Lightsey passed away Friday evening, April 21, 2023, from cancer in Green Valley, AZ at the age of 87. He was born September 29, 1935, in Wellington, CO.
In 2021 Herb and Loretta, his wife of 67 years, had moved from Cheyenne, Wyoming to AZ to be nearer family
Herb began his teaching career in Center, CO in 1959 upon graduation from CO State University (CSU) with a Bachelor of Science degree and then in Montrose County School District in Olathe, CO followed by a masters in vocational education also from CSU. He returned to the location of his student teaching at Longmont, CO and continued there through the design and completion of the St. Vrain Valley Vocational Career Development Center (CDC) in 1972, now (CETC), departing in 1979. His students excelled in agricultural production, business, farm mechanics, and welding. Several of his students at Olathe later formed the Western Slope Swine Growers Association and he worked closely with the Western CO Sheep Growers Association. Certified professional welders from his programs worked on such projects as the US Bureau of Reclamation’s Blue Mesa Dam. He was tutored by CO’s first ag teacher, Professor Ralph Wilson (1891 – 1964) who he respected greatly.
At CDC, he helped grow the Vo Ag program from a one-man department to one that added two additional production agriculture instructors on 21 acres, a horticulture instructor, and a welding instructor all mentoring more than 160 students. Mostly all these students were Future Farmers of America (FFA) members, and many of whom continued in agriculture and related fields in their own professions. Also at Longmont, Lightsey served to assist in the building of the new Boulder County Fairgrounds complex. His participation in fairs and shows as contestant, instructor, superintendent, and judge took him around the state and grew an association with the National Western Stock Show and its collegiate judging program. Along the way he served as an officer and President of the Colorado Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association (CVATA) and continued as a member of the retired association, and the National Education Association. He was honored on many occasions throughout his teaching career for achievements among which chapter, state and American Farmer degree awards were earned.
Lightsey joined the staff of Colorado’s County Extension Service through CSU in 1980. He served as county director in Park and Morgan counties. At Morgan County he supervised three other agents and encouraged 120 4-H leaders and their members for 11 years there. He retired in December of 1990 in Ft. Morgan, CO. Following a season with Colorado Department of Agriculture beneficial insect program, he and Loretta began their RV snow-bird lifestyle of almost 19 years. He loved being an ag teacher, he loved saying he was an old ag man.
Herb is preceded in death by his parents, Robert Aubrey Lightsey (1906-1980) and Blanche Irene (Wich) Lightsey (1907-1998), his brothers Roy Dale, Johnny L., Wilbur Paul, and sister Lois Mae Simpson. He is survived by his wife, Loretta Lou (Ray) Lightsey, their daughters Jeanene M. Johnson (Don), Karen A. Allison (Richard), all Green Valley, AZ, Donna R. Murray (David) of Berthoud, CO, and Carol S. Throckmorton (Jerry), of La Salle, CO. Their grandchildren Derek P. Laber (Erika) of Madrid, NE, Dustin M. Laber (Krista) of Greeley, CO, Erin M. Throckmorton, and Ryan D. Throckmorton (Matthew) of La Salle, CO. Their great-grandchildren Trevor W. Laber and Alyssa R. Laber also of Madrid, NE. Their step-grandchildren Matthew Murray (Jacki) of Evans, CO, Chloe Murray (Emily) of Timnath, CO, and step great-grandchildren Mila and Maci Murray of Evans, CO, and Darian Foster (Dalton) of CO Springs, CO. His surviving siblings are Gerald Lightsey (Marilyn) of Nathrop, CO, Betty Vannest (Leon) of Olathe, CO, Della Payne (Don) of Duvall, WA, Linda Gustin (Dick) of Libby, Montana, and Elva Persia (Dave) of Gasport, NY, and many beloved nieces, nephews, and their families.
The family does plan for a future graveside memorial. Please no gifts or flowers. If you wish, support the organizations Herb did: The Colorado FFA Foundation, Colorado State University Department of Agriculture, and the society of Jehovah’s Witnesses.