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Friday, October 30, 2009

Farewell, Friend

Pallbearers place a casket of the late Joseph L. Mancillas onto the back of his old tow truck following a rosary Friday morning at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Cloudcroft. The 63-year-old former owner of Cloudcroft Wrecker Service, who died Oct. 19, was remembered as a beloved member of the mountain community. (J.R. Oppenheim/Daily News)
Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 63-year-old Joe Mancillas of Cloudcroft, NM. Mancillas, who owned Cloudcroft Wrecking Service for more than 35 years, died on Sunday, Oct. 19, after a fall from a bucket truck while trimming trees.

Here's the Alamagordo Daily News story about a tribute to him:

Family, friends and business colleagues said their final goodbyes Friday to Cloudcroft businessman and community fixture Joseph L. Mancillas at a funeral service and Mass of the Resurrection.

A procession of tow trucks, fire engines, ambulances and fire rescue support vehicles to honor Mancillas streamed past closed businesses and government buildings along James Canyon Highway from Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Mancillas passed away after he fell from his bucket truck while trimming pine trees on Swallow Place at a local business around 10 a.m. Sunday.

On Wednesday, Cloudcroft Police Chief Matt Flotte said it was determined to be an accidental death.

"He was utilizing his bucket truck to trim trees at a local business," Flotte said. "He fell out of the bucket and hit the ground."

At a funeral service conducted at First Assembly Worship in Alamogordo on Thursday, Mancillas was described as a friend and family man. He enjoyed hunting, horseback riding and dancing. He also would help anyone who needed his assistance.

Pastor David Crispin said Mancillas was a very attentive man.

"He was a very engaged man," Crispin said. "He stayed connected with people. He was a pleasant person to be around. Joe was a very resourceful person."

Mancillas owned Cloudcroft Wrecking Service for more than 35 years. He worked in construction, logging and owned a tree trimming business.

Village of Cloudcroft Volunteer Fire Chief Erich Wuersching said he knew Mancillas his whole life, but knew him closely for 25 years.

"Joe was very friendly," Wuersching said. "He would help a person with anything."

Wuersching said he remembers a time when tow trucks were called out at the same time as the fire department.

"Joe was always with us on calls and helping people," he said. "He always took care of people in their time of need. It wasn't really his job to help people. His job was to just drive the wrecker, but Joe helped out with the situation."

Wuersching said Mancillas was always a phone call away.

"If someone needed help, you just gave him a call," he said. "I remember many times, especially with the fire department, that Joe helped firefighters. He would go to any emergency incident."

Wuersching said Mancillas would help firefighters by pulling hoses and setting up equipment on structure fires.

He said he remembers Mancillas helping in a winter snowstorm sometime between 1991-92.

"Joe really should have been on the volunteer fire department," Wuersching said. "The power was knocked out during the winter snowstorm. Joe was all over the place pulling trees off of power lines and cutting up all kinds of stuff with his chainsaw. He was running around trying to get things fixed and roads open. Joe was just a guy trying to help out."

In each of the services commemorating Mancillas' life, the family thanked the people of Otero County for their outpouring of support and love in the family's unexpected loss.

Contact Duane Barbati at


Bucket Trucks said...


it is hard to believe that some people will die while trimming some trees with bucket trucks.

Bucket Trucks said...


it is hard to believe that some people will die while trimming some trees with bucket trucks.