Mr. Bennie Joe Aday, 96, of Portales, New Mexico, peacefully passed from this Earth and received his heavenly wings on May 12, 2019. Graveside services for Bennie will be held at 9:30am, Friday, May 17, 2019, in the Portales Cemetery with Marlin Poynor officiating. Military honors will be rendered by the Cannon Air Force Base Honor Guard. Those desiring to make memorial contributions may send them to the New Mexico Christian Children’s Home, 1356 NM 236, Portales, NM 88130.
Bennie Joe Aday was born Oct. 8, 1922 in Flippin, Arkansas to the home of Dora (Denton) and Coy Aday. Bennie’s father died when he was a just a boy, and at the age of 12 or 13, he and his mother moved to Clovis, NM to be near family. In 1942, Bennie joined the Army Air Force and served in World War II. He rose to the rank of 1st Lieutenant, and piloted 35 B-24 bombing missions over Germany. On one of those missions, his aircraft was seriously damaged by anti-aircraft fire, and was unable to return to base. Bennie safely landed on a dirt strip in Italy and the crew was later retrieved by their commander and given a new plane. On a subsequent mission, the aircraft oxygen tanks were damaged and left the crew with only the emergency portable oxygen devices. All of the devices were placed next to Bennie as the crew laid down in the plane to conserve their oxygen. Bennie was able to clear the Alps and descend to lower altitudes, safely making it back to base in Italy on a “wing and a prayer.” Bennie returned to the United States to finish his time in service at LVAAF, Las Vegas, Nevada. After his discharge, he flew commercially for Delta Airlines for a brief time.
On June 7, 1944 in Elida, NM, at the home of his sister and brother-in-law, Dr. Edward Lee and Jerri Miller, he was married to Dorothy “Dixie” Jean Gamble. Through the years, Bennie was involved in several businesses. When he first returned to Portales, he worked for the Buick dealership. Next, Bennie owned and operated a laundry with Alvin Click. Later, he started and ran Aday Wrecking Yard and Aday Body Shop, both on Highway 70. Bennie began his real estate career at Morgan Realty in Portales. He then became an independent broker and established Aday Realty. In the early to mid-1960’s he and Dixie owned and operated the Highway 70 Cafe and owned the Buckaroo Bar in Ruidoso, NM.
Bennie loved to go boating and fishing, as well as hunting. He and his brother-in-law, Dr. Miller, and several other friends spent many weekends camping and fishing at Ft. Summer and Conhcas lakes. Also, Bennie loved traveling with his family to Yellowstone National Park, Lake Powell, Vermejo Park, Vallecito Lake, Bonito Lake, and the Sacramento Mountains.
Bennie is survived by three sons and daughters-in-law, Dr. B. Joe Aday, Jr. and wife, Debra of Las Cruces, NM, Dr. Brent Aday and wife, Sharon of Alamogordo, NM and Dr. J. Brad Aday and wife, Ouida of Las Cruces, NM; two daughters and sons-in-law, Donna Akin and husband, Howard of Dallas, TX and Dinah Daughtridge and husband, Stuart of Huntingtown, MD; 14 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Jack Lee Aday and a sister, Jerri Miller, as well as by his beloved wife, Dixie who passed away November 26, 2004.
Honorary Pallbearers are Curtis, Gregg, Lisa, Lindsay (Morgan), Brian, Jordan, and Brandon Aday; Aryn, Allye, Abby, and Trace Akin; Kelly, Morgan and Grant Daughtridge.
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