In Memoriam ...
Jesse George “Blackie” Oliver, 94, Animas, passed away November 17, 2013. Blackie was born in Victoria, Texas on January 2, 1919. He and his late wife, Terry, moved to Lordsburg in 1995 when their daughter bought the J O Bar Ranch south of Lordsburg. Previous to this they made their home on the Mimbres River near San Lorenzo, where they lived for 30 years. Enlisting in the military at 21 years of age, Blackie became a fighter pilot with the 82nd Squadron. He served two tours during World War II, earning several medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the World War II Victory Medal, and later became a test pilot for the US Air Force. He was the first pilot to fly the Black Dog fighter plane, which is where his nickname came from, and at one time had more experimental air flight time than any other pilot in the US Air Force. Following his active duty, he became an Aerospace Engineer, working on the earliest of space missiles such as the Minuteman and the Titan, for Hughes Aircraft, Lockheed Aircraft and North American Rockwell. He retired as a Major from the US Air Force in 1981 and returned to his roots, raising purebred Santa Gertrudis cattle in the Mimbres Valley. He is survived by his sister, Gloria Quinones, daughter, Amanda (husband, Butch) Mayfield, six grandchildren, three nieces, one nephew and 10 great-grandchildren.
Dale “Tuffy” Cooper, 88, Monument, died November 17 at his home after breaking his hip in a fall. He was a pioneer in the sport of roping and patriarch of one of the greatest rodeo families in the history of the sport, died Nov. 17 at his home in Monument, New Mexico.
Mary “Sue” Forehand Ogden, 88, Loving, passed away in Lubbock, Texas on November 21, 2013. Sue was the daughter of Roy McKinley Forehand and Masie Wicker Ussery Forehand, who were both from pioneer ranch families in Eddy County. She was raised on the family ranch on Black River. Sue attended school in Carlsbad and graduated valedictorian of her 1943 senior class. She continued her formal education at the University of Texas. Sue married James C. Ogden on December 30, 1945 in Carlsbad. Together, they farmed and ranched on Black River for over 67 years. Sue was a Girl Scout leader in Loving, a member of the Loving Extension Club, Assistance League of Carlsbad, Carlsbad Republican Women, Mu Master Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, Chapter A, P.E.O. as well as P.E.O. Alto Group and Woman’s Club of Carlsbad. She was president of NM Federation of Woman’s Clubs and also served on the National Board of General Federation of Woman’s Clubs. In recognition of her abilities, United States Senator Pete Domenici appointed Sue to serve as a New Mexico representative on the National Council on Aging. Sue was a lifelong member of the First Presbyterian Church in Carlsbad. She, and her husband Jim, also enjoyed worshipping at First Presbyterian Church in Ruidoso, while residing at their home in San Patricio. Her greatest joy was trip planning and travel. Her most recent trip was to Medellin, Columbia in August. Sue is survived by her husband, Jim; daughters Susan Benting, Nashville, Tennessee; Karen (husband, Nick) Cortese, Fort Sumner; Alisa Ogden and son Craig (wife, Teresa) Ogden, all of Loving; sisters Ann Langlinais, Carlsbad, and Elizabeth (husband, Harlen) Smith, Socorro. Also surviving are 13 grandchildren in addition to numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Virginia L. “Ginny” Richards, 66, Las Cruces, passed away on November 18, 2013 of cancer. She was born on April 25, 1947, in Douglas, Arizona, to Ralph B. Kimble and June A. Kimble. She was raised on a ranch in Apache, Arizona, initially attending school in the same one-room school house in Apache where her father had gone to school. She graduated high school in Douglas, attended Cochise Community College and Arizona State University. She married John Meadows in 1968 from which union her two daughters were born. Ginny worked at the Cochise Community College and then for Phelps Dodge Corporation for a number of years. Her husband’s job with the Southern Pacific Railroad took them to Tucumcari in the mid-1980s. In 1993, she moved to the Las Cruces area where she commenced work for Tom Simpson Farms. Upon Mr. Simpson’s retirement, she continued working for Steven Lyles Farms, Inc. She was a member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and was a former board member of La Casa. She was a member of the Board of Directors Committee for Cowboys for Cancer Research, Inc. She worked hard helping raise funds for that group and Pink campaigns. Her vehicles were well known in Las Cruces for the Tough Enough to Wear Pink symbols on the back windows. Ginny participated in 20 Komen Walks for the Cure walks in El Paso and Fresno. With an El Paso team, she completed a 60 mile, 3-day Komen fundraising walk in San Diego. She is survived by her husband, Ralph Richards, whom she married in 1994. Ralph and Ginny had known each other since early childhood and had dated for several years while they were in college. She is also survived by her daughters, Debra Sue Meadows, Portales and Stephanie L. Meadows, Fresno, California, two grandchildren, her mother June Kimble; brother Don (wife Lynn) Kimble all of Silver Creek Arizona.
Matt Syler, 86, on November 9, 2013. He was born to Monnie Lou Glimp Syler and Hubert Syler on January 27, 1927, Matt was raised primarily in Buda and Chimney Springs, Texas and the surrounding areas before joining the United States Navy where he became a Corpsman near the end of World War II. He received the American Theatre Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and Sharpshooter Tag. Afterwards Matt pursued his dream of working on a ranch in Wyoming. When he returned home to Texas, he began his studies at Texas A&M University earning his degree in 1951. He was a member of the Texas A&M Rodeo Team and competed at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in 1950. During the summers at A&M, Matt worked at the Lazy H Ranch near Kerrville, Texas. He met Gloria “Ann” Reeves who would become his bride in 1950. After graduating from Texas A&M, Matt and Ann moved to Burton, Texas and joined Herman and LeNan Gardner in the development of Willow Springs Ranch. The ranch started with 645 acres of old row-crop farm land but eventually grew to a world famous ranch of 2400 acres that was home to many of the finest and most sought after Brangus cattle in the nation. It was at Willow Springs that Matt was able to live out his passion of working with cattle and growing coastal Bermuda grass while making a name for himself as an honest, trustworthy, and knowledgeable cattleman. After 21 years at Willow Springs, Matt and Ann left there to start Syler Sales Management in 1971. Matt received multiple honors from his Brangus family but the highest honors were his 2000 Brangus Breeder of the Year and 2009 Pioneer Brangus Breeder Awards. He was the Secretary of the Brangus Breeders Association for eight years and a two time director of the International Brangus Breeders’ Association. He was the first person in Washington County to grow Coastal Bermuda grass – a matter of great pride. Matt volunteered at the Brenham Memorial Hospital, as a volunteer reader for a Brenham Elementary School, Bread Partner volunteer for years distributing bread to the needy of Washington County. He was also proud of his title, “Tale Twister,” for the Lions Club of Burton. In addition he was an original member of both the Beef Cattle Short Course and Washington County Wildlife Society. He was also involved in the Walk to Emmaus Group for many years ministering to countless others. Matt and Ann had four children: Jeb Stuart (wife, Alma), Richmond, Virginia; Melanie Ann (husband, Tim), McKinney, Texas, and Darla Ann (husband, Candido), Richmond, Texas, 11 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter. Other family members include Martha Syler, Athens, Silvia Syler, Bolivia and Dilia Syler, Houston. The extended family includes the Cerda Family who have been an important part of the Syler family since 1957.
Sam L. Jenkins, 72, Faywood, passed away on September 19, 2013 at Mimbres Memorial Hospital in Deming. He was born February 27, 1941 in Tampa, Florida to Thomas C. and Cleo Whitcomb Jenkins. Sam was a retired auctioneer and a member of the American Angus Association. He is survived by his longtime friend and significant other, Kandy Lopez; sons, Sam Jr. (companion, Andrea), El Paso, Steve (wife, Courtney), Glendale, Arizona; sister, Virginia (husband, Jim) Carter, Phoenix; and five grandchildren.
John Dendahl, 75, Littleton, Colorado, passed away Nov. 9, 2013 in Denver following complications from chemotherapy treatment for leukemia. John was born Sept. 28, 1938 in Santa Fe and lived there for most of his life. John graduated from Santa Fe High School in 1957, and went on to graduate from the University of Colorado (CU) in 1961 with degrees in Electrical Engineering and Business Administration. While attending CU, he led two NCAA champion skiing teams, won three individual NCAA titles and was a member of the U.S. ski team at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley. John had a long and distinguished business and political career. He held senior leadership positions in several companies including CEO of Eberline Instrument Corporation, Vice President of Thermo Electron Corporation, and President of The First National Bank of Santa Fe. In 1987, he was appointed to the New Mexico State Investment Council for , and soon after became the state’s Secretary of Economic Development and Tourism. In 1994, John was elected as the Republican Party Chairman for New Mexico, a position he held until 2003. John also ran for Governor of New Mexico in 1994 and 2006. He is survived by his wife, Jackie Tumbarella; five daughters, Debra (husband, Fred) Hadley, Katherine Dendahl, Lisa (husband, Rusty) West, Ellie Dendahl (husband, Jeff) Thurston, and Karen Dendahl (husband, Cooper Millard); and four grandchildren. He also had two step-children, Laura Hansen and Tim McKinley, and seven step-grandchildren.
M.C. “Kike” Waltmon, 96, died on October 29, 2013 at the Clovis Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. Kike was born on October 6, 1917, in Farwell, Texas. He attended Ranchvale Schools and after high school attended business school in Clovis. He served in WWII and was sent to the Philippines. Shortly after arriving, he was captured by the Japanese and served 3 1/2 years in a Japanese prison camp. He was a survivor of the Bataan Death March. Kike received the Bronze Star and other awards for his service. After returning from the war, he began ranching south of San Jon then retired to Logan. Kike was one of the last survivors of the Bataan Death March from Curry County. He is survived by his son, Audie Waltmon, Dallas; sister, Willie Madera, Clovis; a grandson, three great grandchildren many nieces and nephews, and two sisters-in-law, Naomi Kelm and Pauline Smith.
Deslee “Cissy” Miller, 36, Mimbres, went to meet the Lord on November 12, 2013 at her residence surrounded by her family following a valient battle with cancer. She was born May 26, 1977 in Tucumcari. Cissy was active in her church, Copper Ridge Fellowship and with her children in all of their school activities, 4-H, and Gymkhana fairs. Cissy has touched many lives. She grew up in Lake Roberts most of her life. She loved riding horses. She graduated from Silver High School and attended Western New Mexico University. You may have seen her smiling face at the Mimbres Post Office where she worked for ten years. Cissy is survived by husband Joe; son Ryan; her daughter Megan; her parents, Roger and Suzi Lamb; brothers, Billy (wife, Kim) and Jon (wife,Kelly) Lamb; and many nieces and nephews. She is also survived by grandparents, JR and Roxie Houghtaling.
Jessie Fenton Fitzgerald, 83, Albuquerque, died November 9, 2013 following complications from a severe stroke. She was born in Albuquerque on March 31, 1930, daughter of Elijah MacLean Jr. (Mac) and Alice Brown Fenton. She grew up in the Jemez Mountains on her parents’ homestead north of the one established by her pioneer grandfather E.M. Fenton, which came to be the Fenton Mountain and Valley along the Cebolla River canyon. Today, the area is best known as Fenton Lake, developed from land provided by the Reverend E.M. Fenton, who also established a little Presbyterian Church in the area at the turn of the 20th Century. Jessie and her siblings were home schooled by their mother. Jessie finished high school at Menaul School in Albuquerque. She married R.W. Fitzgerald in 1950, who cowboyed for Gordon Bond in the Valle Grande, now known as the Valles Caldera, where they lived and worked for eight summers in the San Antone cabin and Baca Location. They later worked their small ranch near Cebolla. She obtained a degree in Agriculture Education from New Mexico State University (NMSU) while attending to her sons. She then became the first female County Extension Agent in the USA when she was hired by the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service and was assigned to Valencia County in Grants for 22 years. She helped establish the then new Cibola County and organized progressive 4-H clubs and programs. Following retirement, she was inducted into the NM 4-H Hall of Fame. While at NMSU, she worked as dude wrangler at Ghost Ranch during summer breaks, and later served as volunteer staff on many week long High Country Wilderness Rides sponsored by Ghost Ranch. Jessie leaves a legacy of a pioneer country girl who achieved a Masters degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, the respect of her colleagues and the people she served. Jessie is survived by her two sons, Dan S. Fitzgerald, Farmington and George A. Fitzgerald, Belen; a grandson and great-grand children; sister, Mary Caldwell, Ponderosa; her friend Peggy Keilman, Corrales, and numerous nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews, friends and colleagues.
Leonard Alfred “Sonny” Campbell, 91 passed away at the age of 91. He was a legend in “Cattle Trucking World” and “Team Roping World.” He was a World War II Veteran, making the “D” Day landing and being at Bastogne when 101 Airborne was surrounded by Germans. He is survived by: daughters, Jewell Baize, Sarah Robinson, Judy Campbell; son, Joe Wesley Campbell (Junior); daughter-in-law, Glynda Gordon; son-in-law, Pete Robinson; a grandson; three granddaughters; a great-granddaughter; sister Jane Baker; niece, Geraldine Calhoun; nephew, Denny Calhoun; and lots of great nieces and nephews.
Arlen Bigrope, 57, Mescalero, passed away November 25, 2013, In Albuquerque. He was born February 18, 1956 at Mescalero and lived there all of his life. He had been a cowboy at Cow Camp, a former carpenter with the Housing Authority, Inn of the Mountain Gods and recently self-employed. He is survived by his daughter, Starlin Bigrope; a brother, James Bigrope Sr.; sisters, Lenore Bigrope, Florence Bigrope, Joycelyn Bigrope, Patricia Bigrope and Audry Cavazone; and a grandson, Chasen Rope Richards.