Michael "Mike" L. Runnels | 1945 - 2015 | Obituary

Michael "Mike" L. Runnels
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Michael "Mike" L. Runnels

September 11, 1945 - February 05, 2015

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Michael “Mike” L. Runnels, 69, of Ruidoso, NM passed away at his home on February 5, 2015 resulting from an aneurysym on one of the bypass grafts on his heart. Mike was born on September 11, 1945 in Magnolia, Arkansas to Harold L. and Dorothy (Gilland) Runnels. Memorial services will be held on February 23, 2015 in Santa Fe at the Rotunda from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm. Mike’s wish to be cremated is being honored by his family. Local arrangements are under the direction of Kirby-Smith-Rogers Funeral Home. Mike attended Lovington schools and graduated from Lovington High School in 1963 then attended Colorado College. After his graduation from there, he then went on to the University of Texas and went one year to law school. Mike dropped out for several years but he later went back to University of Texas and the school qualified him with the previous year he had attended so he graduated in three years with his Law degree. Mike was the son of the late Harold “Mud” Runnels, a politically moderate Democrat from Lovington and represented Southern New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District between 1971 and 1989. Mike moved to Santa Fe in the 1970s and was elected to the Santa Fe City Council in 1976 for a four-year term. Two years later in 1982, he was elected to the position of Lieutenant Governor on a Democratic ticket with Gov. Toney Anaya. Mike became district attorney in the 13th Judicial District which included Valencia, Cibola and Sandoval counties. He served three terms in that position. He was considered a hard-working man, carried responsibilities exceptional well, especially in the areas of local government and infrastructure. He was instrumental in the MainStreet New Mexico story; he moved through the legislature a bill that enabled and funded the MainStreet program in the Lieutenant Governor’s office. New Mexico MainStreet was one of the early State Coordinating programs to be accredited and licensed with the National Trust for Historic Preservation (MainStreet was a program of the Trust at that time, not a separate subsidiary organization we know as the National Main Street Center, Inc. today). Mike was a dedicated and charismatic man and left us way too young.
He was preceded in death by his father, Harold.

Mike is survived by his mother, Dorothy Runnels of Humble City, NM; two sons: Joshua Runnels of North Carolina and Sean Runnels and wife Jennifer of Southern California; one sister: Eydie and husband Joe Clement of Midland, TX and two brothers: Matthew and wife Judy Runnels of Silver City, NM and Phillip and wife Sherry Runnels of Paris, TX.; Two Grandchildren, that were the joy and light of his life: Sasha Runnels and Julian Runnels; Five nieces: Mariah Runnels, Sinea Runnels, Abby Clement, Tamra and husband Todd Briley and Amanda and husband Scott Foster and three nephews: Benjamin Clement, Samuel Clement, Zack Armstrong and one great-nephew, Trey Briley and Mike’s good friend, Dawn St. George and a host of friends.

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