In Memoriam …
William “Bill” Joseph Balzano, 87, Seven Rivers, died on April 3 at his home. He was born October 12, 1927 in Maxwell, New Mexico to Giavanna Benidetto Balzano and Antonio Balzano. Bill was a lifelong farmer and rancher in Maxwell, moving to Carlsbad 12 years ago where he lived with his son Rick Balzano and worked in the family businesses with Dale and Rick until he took ill in March. He served on the Maxwell School Board and the Maxwell Water Board and was known for his fine cattle and farming abilities. In 1971 he was honored with the FHA Farm Family of the Year award for tripling his farming capacity after rebuilding the family farm lost to a tornado in 1964. Bill or “Pops” as he was known was a true father figure to his many nieces and nephews, and was a grandfather to many more children than just those who bear his name. He was admired for his work ethic, resilience, warmth and kindness. He was a person of high character, and made it his business to never speak a word against another person. Bill is survived by wife Mary Jean, Roswell, and his sister Kay McCausland, Albuquerque. He is also survived by his four loving children Dale Balzano, Rick Balzano, Gary Balzano and Debbie Balzano, his daughter in-laws Janie Balzano and Gail Balzano. He was grandfather to 11 grandchildren and was great-grandfather to five great-grandchildren. He also leaves behind his lifelong best friend Domenic Pompeo of Maxwell New Mexico.
Paulina (Arden) Utz Salopek, 82, Las Cruces, passed away peacefully on April 1, 2015, at her daughter’s home in Dallas. She was born on September 2, 1932, to Paul Emil and Dorothea (Swann) Utz in Huntington, West Virginia. Paulina graduated from Huntington High School. For two years, Paulina attended Marshall University in West Virginia. In 1953, Paulina moved to Las Cruces, to attend New Mexico A&M. Paulina graduated in May 1955, with a degree in business administration. Despite her distaste for farms in her early years, she married David Salopek in 1955, and spent the next 24 years as a wife and mother. With little to no involvement in the day-to-day operations of their family farm while David was alive, overnight she became responsible for managing and running a large pecan farm. Over the next 36 years, she and her son went on to successfully run and expand the family pecan farm business. She was the first woman president of the Federated Pecan Growers Associations of the United States, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Western Pecan Growers Association in Las Cruces; and the Las Cruces Forum. President George H. W. Bush appointed Paulina to the National Pecan Marketing Board in Dallas; serving as chairperson from 1992 to 1995. Governor Bruce King appointed Paulina to the New Mexico Interstate Streams Commission where she served from 1993 to 1998. King and his successor Governor Gary Johnson appointed Paulina to the Governor’s School-to-Work Committee, serving from 1994 to 1997. The city of Las Cruces appointed Paulina to the Sister City board; she served from 1995 to 1997. She was on the Dona Ana County Planning and Zoning Commission from 1989 to 2003, serving as secretary, vice chair, and chair. The awards and honors received were numerous. Paulina was nominated for the Outstanding New Mexico Woman Award. She received the Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow Award, was inducted into the New Mexico State University Business College Hall of Fame, received the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award from the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau; additionally, she was recognized by the NMFLB as “Treasurer for Life.” She received the YWCA Reach – Recognized Achievement 2003 Award for being A Woman Who Makes A Difference in the Business Community, the Leadership New Mexico’s 2003 Distinguished Alumnus Award, received the Governor’s 2003 New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Award, and an honorary doctorate of letters from NMSU for her contributions to New Mexico business and agricultural research at NMSU. Paulina is survived by her brother, Paul A. Utz; her three children, Vivian “Marie” Salopek Steinborn (husband, David M.), Diana Lynn Salopek, David Paul Salopek (wife, Marion H.); and five grandchildren as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
W. Wesley Wallace, 78, Maxwell, passed away in April 2015. He was born to Walter and Wilda Wallace on October 4, 1936. After attending first grade in Mancos, Colorado his family moved to Dolores, where he finished his schooling, graduating Valedictorian of his class. Not intending to further his education, he elected to begin ranching full time with his father. Wesley married Sherry Pickens and they blessed with four children. In 2007 Wesley and his wife Debbie purchased the Roundtree Ranch east of Maxwell, and made it their home. Happiness was apparent, not being in the position to make happy the men in the brown and green pants any longer. In the early years, running yearlings all over southwest Colorado from Pagosa Springs to Gunnison, Wesley would gather and ship by rail to the Kansas City stockyards every fall. Being an excellent horseman, he broke numerous horses for numerous folks. W. Wesley Wallace was an exceptional man in every way with outstanding accomplishments. Wesley is survived by his wife Debbie, Roundtree Ranch; sons Steve (wife, Cindy), Dolores, Tim (wife, Mitzi), Cortez, Jay (wife, Amanda), Mancos, his daughter Kathleen (husband, Joe) Rayburn, Farmington; step sons Beau (wife, Casie) Gordanier, Hillrose, Jake and (wife, Erin), Gordanier, Cortez, 13 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Cookie Muncy-Goad, 71, Sierra County, passed away on March 9, 2015 in Las Cruces. She was born on November 11, 1943 in Lordsburg to Willy Wilson Culver and Allie Alvice Crow (Culver). Shortly after she was born they moved to Sierra County where Cookie spent most of her life. She lived in and around Sierra County her whole life where she was a rancher and homemaker. She was a member of the CowBelles and New Mexico Cattle Growers. Her hobbies included crocheting, cooking and baking, spending time with family, playing cards, reading, fishing, camping, rodeoing and being a wife, mother and grandmother. She is survived by husband Bruce Goad, children Cary Muncy (wife, Shirley) and Tim Muncy (wife, Jana), five grandchildren and siblings Willy Oscar (Punk) Culver (Sophie).
Darrel Lynn Bostwick, 89, Anton,Texas, passed from this life on April 19, 2015. Darrel was born in Honeygrove, Texas, on September 1, 1925 to Claude and Florence Bostwick. When he was three he moved with his family to Cooper, Texas, until he was 16. Darrel, his mother, Troy his brother, Werdna his sister, and Elmer his brother-in-law loaded all the belongings they could in an old car and traveled to the Idalou, Texas area to pick cotton. While working at a cotton gin, he met his love and wife of 62 years, Ellen Bigler. Darrel and Ellen were married December 23, 1945. Anton, Texas, was their home until the family moved to Melrose in 1962 where they farmed and ran the Melrose Castor Bean Company. Darrel and Ellen were active members of the First Baptist Church of Melrose where they taught children’s Sunday school for many years. They were a vital part of the sunrise Easter pageant that the church held for many years. Darrel was an extremely proud Melrose Buffalo fan and supported his sons, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in any of their school events. Darrel served as a Melrose city councilman for many years. He was a member of the Melrose Chamber of Commerce where he was president for one year. He was also elected as a Curry County Commissioner for two terms from 1991 to 2000; for 18 months he was the president of the Association of Counties; he was also a member on the Eastern New Mexico Natural Gas Board. He had the foresight to understand that this area was in need of a dependable water supply; in 1967 he was one of the founding fathers of the concept of the ongoing Ute Water Project. Darrel is survived by his wife of three years, Doll Synatchk Bostwick, Anton, Texas; his sons Wendell (wife, Pansy), Melrose, Ray (wife, Paula), Melrose, and James (wife, Sherolyn), Clovis; six grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. He is also survived by Doll’s children, Herman (wife, Glenda) Synatschk, Beatrice (husband, Rodney) Carr, all of Anton, plus five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Joseph Allen Erramouspe, 48, Corona, passed away in an auto accident on April 19, 2015. He was born on January 16, 1967 in Corona. He was a 1985 graduate of Corona High School and a member of the six-man football teams that won the state runners up titles in 1981 and 1983, a few years before the New Mexico Activities Association sanctioned the sport. He was also a member of a state champion mile medley relay track team in 1984. Joseph coached high school football at Corona in 1996-99 before shifting his attention to coach girls’ basketball. Next to ranching, coaching was also his passion. He began coaching basketball in 2008 with the Corona girls pee wee. He moved on to coach junior high girls’ basketball and in the 2013-14 season lead the Corona girls varsity team to its third consecutive state appearance. Under his leadership, the team made another state tournament appearance in 2014-15. Joseph graduated from Texas Christian University’s Ranch Management program in 1989 and became a member of the TCU Ranch Management Alumni. He was selected by his classmates as their class agent to represent their class in the alumni association. His passion for ranching and that way of life kept Joseph actively involved in numerous areas including the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association. One of his biggest joys was helping his girls with their 4-H and FFA show animal projects. From selecting their animals, caring for them through the summer and fall and helping them at the various county and state fairs, he was the girls’ main man in more ways than one. Joseph had much pride in the girls’ success in the show ring. He was a key member of the Corona Buyer’s Club. Joseph married his soulmate Roxanne Davette Gabel in Dimmitt, Texas on August 21, 1993. He was a member of the Corona Public School Board and the New Mexico High School Coaches Association. He was beyond devoted to his Faith, Family and Friends and will be deeply missed. Joseph is survived and forever remembered by his wife Roxanne, his daughters Haleigh Marie and Karleigh Rae, Corona; sisters and brothers in Law, Jeanne and Todd Tatum, Ute Park and Sherry and Badger Evans, Deming. Joseph was also blessed with numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
Troy D. “Biz” Ladner, 42, passed away peacefully on October 13, 2014 with his sister by his side. He was born in El Paso on September 25, 1972 to John Virgil and Thais Ann (McIntyre) Ladner. Biz graduated from Ysleta High School. He obtained a degree in agriculture from New Mexico State University and later attended Shriner College in Kerrville, where he studied business and marketing and eventually obtained an additional degree. Biz belonged to Alpha Gamma Rho and was especially proud of this because of the many lifelong friends he kept throughout the years. He moved to San Pedro in 2006. He grew to love NM, but dreamed of going back to Texas. While in New Mexico, Biz worked for Tresco Inc, Farm Bureau Financial Services and NM Cattle Growers. He loved everything Texas, even his New Mexico brand was TX. Biz loved hunting with Topher, Julian and Tracey; fishing with Gianetta and Jimmy Don. He enjoyed his good ole Texas music, Reese’s peanut butter cups, tacos, McDonald’s chocolate shakes and KFC. He liked the occasional “Biz Bomb”, Crown and coke and spontaneous parties. He never left the house without his jeans starched just right, a nice shirt, cool boots and cologne. Biz always had a big truck and he would go anywhere in it, including taking consumers on “the Roller Coaster” on Neel street in Socorro. He would do anything in the world for anyone. He never met a stranger. He had a good attitude about life, and death, and put his life in perspective. Biz felt he was fortunate for many things, this is evident by the many, many friends he had. To name them all would be impossible. Biz valued his relationships. Most importantly he wanted everyone to know, he never gave up, he just gave out. He was always a cowboy at heart. He is survived by his devoted sisters, Tara L. McDowell (husband, Chris); and Tana L. Hudson (husband, Michael); his best and longest friend, Wes Wrye (wife, Ivy) and their girls, Bailey and Macey; and best Gals, Claudia Salopek and Clara; and many other loving family members in Kansas and Missouri. Biz wanted a Regatta / Pot luck on the Rio Grande and party at his sister’s house for his memorial. It will be held on Saturday, June 13, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. In Biz’s honor, memorial contributions and donations may be made to the: Biz Ladner 4-H Scholarship Fund, First State Bank, 103 Manzanares Ave, Socorro NM 87801.
Maurita Knollene Lovelace McDaniel, 74, Claunch, crossed over to glory on April 18, 2015 in Albuquerque. A third generation rancher and grassroots advocate for land rights and conservation efforts, Knollene was born April 20, 1940 in Anthony, Kansas to the ranch pioneering Lovelace family. She spent her entire life fulfilling that legacy in the Corona/Claunch area raising horses, cattle and sheep where her grandfather first set down roots in the 1890s. She attended grade school in Corona and then her freshman year of high school in El Paso, then back to Corona and on to Arizona. At her grandfather’s direction, she also attended two years of girls’ school in Mississippi where she said with a laugh that they “finished” her. As a longtime member of New Mexico Cattle Growers and New Mexico Wool Growers Associations she made many miles promoting the livestock industry. She served as secretary for the local People of the West chapter, was highlighted in the New Mexico Stockman and EcoLogic magazines as well as other multiple land use and property rights interviews. She served on the Carrizozo Soil & Water Conservation board as supervisor for 12 years – three as secretary/treasurer and three as chairman. In 1998 she was recognized by the district for 56 years of participation. In 1994 she was given the Steward of the Year award from the Bureau of Land Management. Knollene was a member of New Mexico CowBelles for more than 50 years where she served a term as State Secretary as well as two terms as president for her local chapter, Canyon CowBelles. She was the driving force behind the creation of the CowBelles’ educational new letter for kids, Range Rider. Through her local chapter she helped create and promote the Cream of the Crop program to reward county fair livestock participants for raising their own livestock projects. Knollene was also a 4-H leader for cooking, sheep, dairy cattle and more. She also was responsible for bringing together the three Lincoln County CowBelle Chapters (Crown, Canyon and Corriente) to pay for a monument at the Lincoln County Fair Grounds that holds the United States and New Mexico flag poles. Knollene was a member of the Ancho Community Church and was involved for years with the Walk to Emmaus, and Kairos Outside program as well as being involved in a prison ministry. She was also a member of the United Presbyterian Women and a Sunday school teacher. Her strong, unwavering faith in God was contagious and encouraging to all that knew her. Knollene understood about hard times and hard luck but greeted both with a smile and deep-rooted gritty determination. She knew she stood in the gap between the last generations and the next with a century of heritage on line. She attributed her “I can do it” belief to her Lovelace upbringing and intended to pass that on to those that came after her. “No silver spoons around this outfit,” she would say. No stranger to heartbreak and heartache, she stood as a testimony to her sustaining Faith in God. Accustomed to her hard work, her greatest accomplishment according to her was that she was a rancher. She often said she didn’t care if she didn’t have a dime, all she wanted was to stay right where she was and take care of her cows. She is survived by grandsons Quirt Knollin McDaniel (wife, Natty), Claunch, E.W. Ericson, North Richland Hills, Texas, and granddaughter Susan Cathers, Rockford, Illinois, a great-grandson as well as nephews Gary Joe and Jerry Lovelace and niece Sis Lovelace.
Keith L. Schrimsher, 59, Roswell, died unexpectedly at his beloved ranch Saturday, March 28, 2015. He was born on December 5, 1955 to Ted Vera King Schrimsher. Keith was a 1974 graduate of New Mexico Military Institute. In 1981, Keith earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from New Mexico State University. He was a respected farm and ranch real-estate broker and appraiser. He loved raising cattle and called many of them by name. He was a knowledgeable historian of the Land of Enchantment’s rich past and told intriguing stories of the people who settled the vast lands that he worked and studied. Keith married Micki Sue Coley in 1988 and was deeply devoted to her. He was very proud of his boys and worked tirelessly to make himself available to support and encourage them. Keith was a believer and follower of Jesus Christ and a longtime member of Calvary Chapel of Roswell. His wife Micki, and his sons Nathan and Lucas, survive him along with his parents Ted and Vera King Schrimsher, Roswell; his brother Jeff Schrimsher, Albuquerque; and sister Devera Schrimsher Goss, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Charles Henry “Chuck” Monette, 78, Socorro, passed away on April 7, 2015. Chuck was born on March 26, 1937 on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota, to George and Frances, who raised him along with his six brothers and sisters on the family farm. Chuck attended St. Paul’s Indian Mission boarding school in Marty, South Dakota. Upon completing high school, he left the reservation and joined the Air Force. He met his bride, Charlotte, while stationed in Albuquerque. She says he “picked me up on a street corner.” Charlotte was selling tickets to a play at their high school and Chuck and his buddies stopped to visit. He bought tickets to the play, and the rest is history. They were married in 1957 and came to Socorro in 1962 to purchase the Ford dealership, then S&M Ford, with his partner Dick Russell. Chuck was a long-time member of the Socorro County Chamber of Commerce, and was active in local politics over the years serving as a County Commissioner for two terms. Participating in Republican party barbecues and events was a family affair. He served as a New Mexico Automotive Dealers Association director for more than 20 years. He was a member and supporter of the San Miguel Catholic Church serving as finance chairperson of the parish council for more than 10 years. He was generous to virtually all who asked for a helping hand, loaning cars for parades, funerals, golf tournaments, weddings, etc., making donations to a multitude of charities and fundraisers, and participating in community events. Chuck had a wonderful sense of humor, gift for listening and counseling, and a strong work ethic. He was extremely devoted to his family and friends, generous to his community and charities, and devoted to his faith. He is survived by his wife Charlotte, daughters Debbie (husband, Chet) DeMoss, Denise (husband, Mike) Shrum, and sons Danny (wife, Marliss), David (wife, Patti), Darren, Donald (wife, Pam); 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. The honorary children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are far too numerous to mention.
Allene B. Sultemeier, 86, a resident of Albuquerque for more than 20 years, and a former resident of Corona, passed away on March 28, 2015. Along with her husband, Allene owned and operated a ranch in Corona. She was an active 4-H leader, as well as a very avid painter. Allene never missed a ball game, be it in or out of town. She is survived by her sons, Allen Sultemeier (wife, Kristen), Capitan, and Mark Sultemeier (wife, Barbara), Corona; son-in-law, Bunk Mullins (wife, Laurie), Las Cruces; five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; brother, George Bagley (wife, Patty), Dimmitt, Texas and long-time friend, Jim Jones, Albuquerque.
Flocey Manon (Switzer) Mitchell, 88, Las Cruces, lost her battle with Alzheimer’s disease on February 9, 2015. She was born December 15, 1926 in Fisher County, Sylvester, Texas to John Cope Switzer and Lucy Edna (Wood) Switzer the sixth of eight children. Her father moved his family from the Lubbock area to Encino after the death of his wife in 1931. In Encino Manon met the love of her life Arney Colus Mitchell and they married in Santa Rosa on July 8, 1949 after Arney returned from serving his country. In Encino they farmed, were involved in the church, played sports and raised five boys. After the death of her husband, Manon moved to Ruidoso Downs, where she continued her involvement in the church and croqueted dolls and other items for her grandchildren. After Alzheimer’s disease stole her mind it became necessary for her to move to Las Cruces for care. Manon is survived by one brother Clifford Switzer, her sons, Gary (wife, Trisha), Glencoe; Doug of Odessa, TX; Dale (wife, Debra), Tucumcari; Jeff (wife, Zoe), Pima, Arizona; Clyde (wife, Marty), Safford, AZ; 11 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.