Send Flowers "Bud" July 5, 1924 - June 6, 2015 Bud peacefully passed into the presence of his Lord on June 6, 2015 at 12:15 pm in the Mesilla Valley Hospice La Posada, Las Cruces, New Mexico. His wife Beverly, daughter Valerie McKenzie and son-in-law Shawn McKenzie were by his side talking to him and praying as he passed. Bud battled Alzheimer's for several years, and he and Bev mov...

Send Flowers "Bud" July 5, 1924 - June 6, 2015 Bud peacefully passed into the presence of his Lord on June 6, 2015 at 12:15 pm in the Mesilla Valley Hospice La Posada, Las Cruces, New Mexico. His wife Beverly, daughter Valerie McKenzie and son-in-law Shawn McKenzie were by his side talking to him and praying as he passed. Bud battled Alzheimer's for several years, and he and Bev moved to Las Cruces from Lake Havasu, Arizona to be near family in March of last year. Bud was born on July 5, 1924 in Corsicana, Texas to Eldo "Pete" Coons and Ruby Coons. He graduated from high school is Redding, California and attended UCLA. He joined the U.S. Army in 1943 and was deployed in the South Pacific as a combat engineer. After honorably discharging from the Army, he joined the Pomona, California police department in 1952. As a police sergeant, he was a pioneer in working with local car clubs to move their drag races off public streets. His success with these car clubs led him into a relationship with Wally Parks, the founder of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). Bud joined Wally in building the NHRA and became its first Field Director in 1954. He staged the NHRA's first National event as well as many other drag races throughout the country. His rich legacy at the NHRA includes development of the Safety Safari that is still in use today, induction into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, and receipt of two "Wallys," the NHRA's most prestigious award. Bud started a recreational vehicle (RV) manufacturing company in 1957 in Pomona. He moved his company to Oswego, Kansas in 1959 to take advantage of the exceptional work ethic he saw in the area during an earlier NHRA event. His company built Dreamer brand cab-over campers that were mounted on Ford pick-up trucks. The Fortune 500 Company BorgWarner purchased his company in 1968, and Bud led their RV division until they chose to exit the industry. He used his departure from BorgWarner to rebuild his RV manufacturing company, Coons Manufacturing, in Oswego in 1973. He built Diamond brand RVs, and became an early manufacturer of small buses that are now used by most airports and other large facilities to move people. Bud married Bev in 1984, and then he retired and sold his business in 1985. His company is now called Diamond Coach and continues to operate in Oswego where it remains one of the town's significant employers. Despite Bud's accomplishments in helping build the NHRA and manufacturing RVs, his passion was flying. During his careers, he often flew in private aircraft but unlike most executives he was usually his own pilot. He remained an avid pilot into his early 80's, and was a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and active in the Quiet Birdmen. In his early 80's he decided his flying skills were no longer sufficient to fly, but he and his friends continued to build and rebuild experimental aircraft and historical airplanes. Bud was a remarkably strong, intelligent and accomplished man with an incredible work ethic. He successfully applied his abilities and work ethic in retirement to being a husband, father and grandfather, and he will be greatly missed. He is survived by his wife Bev; daughters and sons-in-law Roberta and Greg Brightman, and Valerie and Shawn McKenzie; granddaughter Chesney McKenzie and her husband Caleb Ramsey; grandsons Clinton and Cole Brightman and their wives Megan and Kayla; brother Bobby Coons and sister Roberta Bently and her husband Gary; and many other family members. He was predeceased by his grandson Bryce McKenzie who shared his July 5th birthday. A small family tribute for Bud will be privately held with Military Honors. In lieu of flowers, Bud's family has requested that donations be made to Mesilla Valley Hospice, 299 Montana Ave., Las Cruces, NM, 88001.

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