In Memoriam

James Arthur Laney, 38, Deming passed away on January 24, 2016. He was born December 26, 1977 in Truth or Consequences, lived in the Deming area most all his life and was affectionately known as “Jack Rabbit”. He had done ranch work mostly and was talented in welding and operating heavy equipment. He enjoyed being in the outdoors while hunting, fishing, rock hunting and exploring. He is survived by his wife Trisha, Deming; daughter Brooklyn Ann Laney, San Antonio, TX; his mother Tonya Laney, Shady Point, Oklahoma; stepfather Mike Laney, Idabel, Oklahoma; brother Tommy Laney, Angel Fire; sister Katy Laney, Las Cruces; grandparents, John Tulk and Mildred “Millie” Dodenhof; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Myrtle Janet Wenzel, Silver City, passed away on, December 23, 2015 at her residence. Janet was born west of Datil at the Double O Ranch, to parents Albert Henderson McDaniel and Martha Jane Hearn McDaniel. She was raised in Los Lunas where she met her husband Charles. They were married in Belen and December 30 would have been their 60th anniversary. In 1990 they moved to Silver City when her husband Charles retired from the Albuquerque Fire Department. She was a secretary for 30 years for the Albuquerque Public Schools; all but three of those years were at Navajo Elementary School. Janet and her husband spent several years cooking for the Adobe Ranch in Magdalena and the Hurt Cattle Company of Deming. She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 18, and held several state offices for the American Legion Auxiliary. Janet is survived by her husband Charles William Wenzel and two sons John Wenzel (Dolly), Silver City, NM, and Don Wenzel, Phoenix, AZ. She had six grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, along with numerous nieces and nephews and one brother Bob Foster (Lisa) of Alamosa, CO.

Alfred Ernest Porter, Sr., 89, Socorro, passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 16, 2016.  Al was born in Centerville, TX, on December 25, 1926, to Carter C. and Katherine Patching Porter and was the oldest of three sons. He enlisted in the Army after his high school graduation and attended airplane and mechanic school. While serving his country he was awarded the World War II Victory Medal and the American Campaign Medal. After his service he attended NM A&M, graduating in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Extension. Upon graduation he was hired by the Socorro School District to teach Agriculture at Socorro High School. After arriving in Socorro he met the love of his life, Marianne Harriet, and they were married on June 14, 1952. Al also taught science and math at Socorro Jr. High. He retired from the school district in 1975, after 25 years of teaching. He then went to work at NM Tech as a locksmith, working for 13 years before retiring in 1988. Al was a shepherd, raising show lambs for FFA and 4-H kids for over 60 years. He was a 4-H leader as well, where he started a 4-H group called Enterprise for Progress. He took great pride in his animals and loved to attend the lamb shows at the county fairs. He was very devoted to the agricultural youth of NM. Al loved his community and was a resident of Socorro for 66 years. He always said that if he didn’t live in Socorro he’d move to Socorro. He touched many lives and will be remembered for his devotion to his family and community. Al is survived by wife of 63 years, Marianne Harriet Porter; daughter, Denise; son, Al Jr. (Cherri); six grandchildren, and great grandson, Hudson; son, Randy, and daughter-in-law Tracee; and his brother, L.B. Porter.

Robert (Bob) Atwood, 89, Reserve, passed away on December 25, 2016. He was born to Oscar and Genevieve Atwood in San Pedro, California. As a toddler, his family moved to Reserve. Bob was drafted during World War II into the U.S. Army in 1945. He was stationed at Fort Williams in Portland, Maine, where he met his future bride Jean Weeks. She followed him home to NM and they were married in the family home in Lower Frisco. Upon completion of military service, Bob drove the rural mail routes to Silver City, Springerville, and Datil. In 1949 he was elected as Catron County Assessor. Public service became his passion. He also served as County Treasurer and Clerk over the years. He was appointed to the position of NM Social Services Rural Service Representative. Bob then served as a magistrate judge until his retirement in 1994. Throughout his career, Bob received countless recognitions and awards, however, his greatest honor came from the citizens of Catron County who supported him for 45 years. He instilled in his children the need to vote. Bob was an avid fisherman and a gifted musician. Bob is survived by his wife of 68 years, Jean; children Tony (Brenda), Deming; Mark (Yvonne),  Clay (Nina), both of Reserve; Perry (Gellen), Durant, OK; Teresa (Craig) Ogden, Loving; 15 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, four great-great-grandchildren; sister, Sarah Zanzucchi, Flagstaff, AZ, twin brother Edward (Barbara), Reserve and numerous nieces of nephews.

Wanda Lee Leighton Gard, 88, Santa Fe, passed away on January 5, 2016.  Wanda was born in Woodward, OK, in 1927 to Ray and Leathia Leighton. She moved with her family to establish a ranch homestead three miles south of Clayton, NM and attended Clayton Public schools and graduated from Clayton High School in 1945. She obtained her teaching certificate from the University of NM and taught school at Sedan for two years. She was learning to fly an airplane when she met John M. Gard who had been a Navigator in the Army Air Corps during World War II. They were married in 1948 on May 23 and settled on their farm/ranch 45 miles west of Clayton, near Gladstone, in a house John and his father had built. On their ranch, they raised registered Herefords. While their children were involved in the Happy Rock 4-H Club, Wanda served as a leader and was honorary leader for many years after the children grew up. She was a member of the NM CowBelles, an advocacy group instrumental in promoting the beef cattle industry. She was actively involved in the Union County Health Fair organization and production. For many years, Wanda was active in the Gladstone Extension Club. She loved baking pies every year for the annual Clayton Rodeo barbecue. Wanda was very dedicated to accomplishing the objective at hand and went about helping make it happen. Faith and family were very important to Wanda. She lovingly taught her children and grandchildren about God and lived as an example of humility, servitude, compassion, and worship as she sang and whistled hymns while she worked. John and Wanda were active in the Farley Community Church. She was a Sunday school teacher, song leader and filled in on the piano. When the Farley church closed, they became members of the First Baptist Church in Clayton. She taught a Sunday school class there for a while. She cooked countless meals, attended special family events like births, graduations, ball games (She didn’t care how far the drive was… she needed to be there) and livestock shows, and kept her children and grandchildren updated and in touch with one another as their lives kept them busy and going in different directions. While her piety and service to her family and community belied an humble and even passive demeanor, her strength and wit proved she was not one with which to be trifled. When she decided to get her pilot’s license, for example, her father challenged that she would break her neck. She retorted that he could just as easily break his neck on the ground while riding a horse or taking part in the rodeo. Her 6 ft. 4 in. husband also knew exactly when he had crossed the line. Wanda is survived by brother Marvin Leighton (Carolyn), OK City; daughters: Mary Coffman, Ropesville, TX and June Gard (Lloyd), Las Cruces; sons Ernest Gard (Lorie), Clovis, Marvin Gard (Diane), Santa Fe, and John Gard, Jr (CeCe), Clayton; 13 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. She is also survived by Kathie Perea, her caretaker and dear friend.     

Ed. Note: Email Memorial donations may be sent to the Cattlegrowers’ Foundation, a 501(c)3, tax deductable charitable foundation serving the rights of ranch families & educating citizens on governmental actions, policies and practices. Cattlegrowers Fdtn., Inc., P.O. Bx 7517, Albuquerque, NM 87194. The NM Stockman runs memorials as a courtesy to its readers. If families & friends would like to see more detail, verbatim pieces must be emailed & may be printed at 10¢ per word.