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In Memoriam

Kenneth Olwell “Sonny” Major, 89, a former resident of Belen, died on December 10, 2015 in Prescott, AZ. He was born on December 29, 1925 in Magdalena, NM, and was the fifth of eight children of Malcolm S. Major and Lily Field Major who were pioneer ranchers in NM and CO. In his preteen years, Kenneth was a jockey; riding race horses for his father in NM and CO and “Doc” Pardee at the AZ Biltmore Stables in Phoenix. He was a lifelong rancher in CO, NM and AZ and in the late 50s and 60s, managed the Luera Ranch near Magdalena. In the 80s to 90s, he owned and operated Major Cattle Company, a livestock hauling business in Belen. Throughout his later years, he remained active packing mules, guiding tourists on horseback and teaching the two-step to camp staff in Yosemite National Park; and working and branding cattle with family and friends. He is survived by his children: Daniel Major (Lyn), Prescott; Denise Lyons (Garry), Ballarat, VIC, Australia; Sindi Major-Martinez (Del), Ashburn, Virginia; Sherri Goemmer (Shane), Amissville, Virginia and his daughter-in-law Cheryl Major-Miller (George), Gilbert, AZ. Kenneth has nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Also, he is survived by his sisters Helen Graham, Miles City, MT; Maria Major Linsey, Benson, AZ; and Johanna Major, Albuquerque, and many nieces and nephews. Kenneth had a deep faith in God, and love for his church and country.

Nelson K. “Nellie” Stevenson, 88, Phoenix, AZ passed away peacefully on November 24, 2015. He was born in Bisbee. on August 27, 1927 to early settlers and ranchers William and Texie Stevenson, Palominas. He grew up a ranch hand learning the business from the ground up as a child. Nellie attended Bisbee High School then went on to graduate with a degree in agriculture from the University of AZ where he was a varsity football player and a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity. Nellie went on to lead several successful careers including Managing the AZ National Livestock show in which he was awarded the “Outstanding Service Award” from the Governor of AZ for his many years of contribution to the AZ Livestock Industry which is still benefiting from his time and efforts. Nellie is survived by his wife Doris, sons Roger, Jeff and James Stevenson, stepchildren Sande Guenther, Rick Coughlin, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Suzanne Norton Jones, 91, Tatum, the consummate horse woman, rejoined her parents, brother and beloved daughter, Michelle, on December 5, 2015, following a short illness. She passed away peacefully in her sleep. Born November 1, 1924, to Lt. Col. Anderson H. Norton and Audrey Norton in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a taste for high quality horsemanship, a desire to excel and a yearning to share her knowledge of horses, Suzanne spent her early years living the life of a Cavalry officer’s daughter. She grew up riding and spending her life with horses at various military posts. Following retirement from active duty, Col. Norton became the polo coach at  the NM Military Institute (NMMI) and was inducted into the NMMI Hall of Fame in 1992. A graduate of Roswell High School, Suzanne attended Mary Washington College in Virginia and the University of AZ, where she graduated with a degree in English and rode on the rodeo team. In addition to Western riding and rodeo, Suzanne competed in prestigious hunter/jumper horse shows in Mexico, Canada, Europe and throughout the United States. At Madison Square Garden, she won first place in jumping in the Professional Horsemen Stake. She adorned the cover of the NM Magazine in 1946 (with a horse, naturally) and was named to the United States Olympic Equestrian team. Highlights of her career included training a world-renown palomino named Nautical, which later became the basis of Walt Disney’s movie The Horse With the Flying Tail. In 1952, she met her mate for life while competing in an equestrian version of musical chairs at a rodeo, which she won, of course. In 1953, Suzanne married this racehorse-minded, sheep and cattle rancher from Tatum, Punch Jones. Next, was a different  world — a different game — introducing the horse to their four children — each of which successfully competed on a national basis. Suzanne’s love and knowledge of horses was not limited to the show ring. The author of eight books and countless magazine articles, Suzanne also became an accomplished craftsman, fashioning gourds into jewelry, ornaments and belt buckles. She brought an untold number of children and other people into the horse world, utilizing her knowledge of the horse as a way to build mutual understanding and trust. In recognition of her unselfish contributions and her willingness to share her horse knowledge with young and old alike, the NM State 4-H Horse School was renamed as the “Suzanne Norton Jones State 4-H Horse School.” Her accomplishments and contributions to the horse industry also resulted in her induction to the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame, the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, the NM 4-H Hall of Fame, the Ruidoso Downs Racehorse Hall of Fame and the Lea County Hall of Fame. Suzanne was also honored with the title of Master Instructor by the American Riding Instructor Association. At a spry age of 80, Suzanne received the standing ovation of a sellout crowd while competing at the European Championships in Aachen, Germany. She was similarly honored while competing at the AQHA Select Championship Show in Amarillo, TX, at the age of 89. Suzanne started showing horses at the age of four. She last rode horseback and was showing competitively at the age of 90. Suzanne is survived by the love of her life and husband of 62 years, Punch Jones, who continues to reside at the family ranch outside of Tatum. She is also survived by her daughter, Debbie Jones, also of Tatum, and her sons, Clabe Jones, Joseph, Utah and Dirk Jones, Roswell. She is also survived by Aja Palmer, Beverly Heird Flores, Josh Heird, Levie Jones, Portia Jones, Rebekah Jones, Chaundra Jones, July Jones, and Tara Jones, her grandchildren, none of whom escaped exposure to the horse world. Suzanne’s favorite saying was “Aim high — shoot for the stars.” Her aim was true. She found her mark. Suzanne — your family, friends and the horse world tip their hat to you. Well done! Her obituary was lovingly written by her family.

Billie Hollimon Cloudt, 87, Glenwood, passed away December 3, 2015, at Fort Bayard Medical Center in Silver City. Billie was born in Silver City on February 16, 1928, the daughter of Fred Hollimon and Clarice Jones Hollimon. Billie was a long-time resident of Alma, NM. She graduated from Silver High School as the valedictorian of her class. She also graduated from Colorado Women’s College. She was well known in the area as a dedicated ranch wife. She spent much of her time in the 1970s and 1980s on the family’s ranches in the Eagle Creek area in Greenlee County. Billie was an artist as well as an avid gardener. In addition to her family, one of her great loves was raising many beloved hound puppies, kittens, and always having a personal dog. It always brought her happiness when she saw her pets “Sammie” and “Cali” at Ft. Bayard. She is survived by her daughter Terri Menges, Silver City; her son Jeff Menges and his wife Suzanne Menges, Safford, AZ; and stepson Bill Cloudt and his wife Nancy, Rodeo; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Lindsay Edard Smallidge, 53, Scipio, Indiana passed away on December 2, 2015 at St. Vincent Jennings Hospital in North Vernon, Indiana. Born May 29, 1962 in Bangor, Maine, Smallidge was the son of Erma Dean Stoneking Smallidge and the late Robert Smallidge. He married Robin Lynn Ruby on July 31, 1987 in Columbus, Indiana. Mr. Smallidge was a Logistics tech at Cummins Engine Company in Columbus for 30 years. He was a member of Presbyterian Reformed Church of Indiana. His enjoyments were target shooting and spending time with family. Surviving with his wife, Robin, Scipio, are his mother, Erma Smallidge, West Lafayette, Indiana; step-children, Todd Fox and Greg (Angela) Fox both of Columbus, David Fox, Newport Beach, California and Tricia (Alan) Browning, Louisville, Kentucky; brothers, Paul Smallidge, West Lafayette, Peter Smallidge, New York and Sam Smallidge, Las Cruces, NM; and six step-grandchildren.

Robert Naylor, 82, Roswell, passed away on December 15, 2015 at the Casa Maria Heath Care Center in Roswell. Robert was born on August 18, 1933. Services are scheduled at Grace Community Church, H935 W. Mescalero, Roswell NM on Saturday January 16,  2016 at 11:00 a.m. Bob was active in the sheep and wool business after attending the NM Military Institute. He was a past President of the NM Wool Growers, Inc. and a past Sheepman of the Year.

Herbert Pruit (Pat) Joyce, Jr., 81, Roswell, passed away April 28, 2015 in his home. Born to a pioneer family of Roswell on December 18, 1933, Pat attended Judson Boarding School in Scottsdale, AZ  through high school. He then chose to follow a personal passion for animals and the land by becoming a rancher in the Hondo Valley. Pat was an award-winning member of the NM Wool Growers, Inc. He was also a member of the San Patricio Polo Club and a dedicated family man. Pat not only taught the value of hard work to his daughters and the several nephews and nieces who spent their summers on the Joyce Ranch, but also showed them how to have fun. He was an avid reader with a great thirst for knowledge as well as a big heart and helping hand. In the most recent years of his life, Pat enjoyed the company of his family and friends. His bright blue eyes and contagious laugh (or sense of humor and laugh) will be remembered and celebrated by all of those whose lives he touched. He is survived by his wife, Kim Joyce, his four daughters their husbands, Valerie and Steve McKee, Debbie and Ben Coats, Trish and John Gull, Kellie and Max Vemer, his 10 grandchildren and their spouses as well as his 12 great-grandchildren. Pat will also be missed by several sisters- and brothers-in-law of the Hunter family.

Lewis Holland, 90, Las Cruces, passed away on Wednesday, December 23, 2015. Lewis was born on July 3, 1925. He graduated from Hatch Union High School in 1940. He was a veteran of World War II serving in the US Navy as a Seabee. Lewis was the former Dean of Academic Programs for the then College of Agriculture & Home Economics at NM State University. He was married to Agnes.

Alegra Thomason Townsend, 89, longtime Carlsbad resident, beloved mother, grandmother and “Grandma Great” went to be with the Lord on November 10, 2015 in Las Cruces. She was born April 12, 1926 in Cloudcroft to Roy and Sallie Thomason. Mrs. Townsend was employed as a secretary to the principal at several elementary schools in the Carlsbad Public School district. She was a longtime, active member of First Baptist Church in Carlsbad. She is survived by son Bill R. Townsend (Barbara), Hereford, TX; daughter Susan T. Johnson (Sky), Prescott Valley, AZ; son Tom Townsend (Pam), Carlsbad; son Jim G. Townsend (Paula), Artesia; daughter Alegra T. Alexander (Socorro Zubia), Las Cruces; 10 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.

Editor’s Note: Email caren@aaalivestock.com. 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 & practices. Cattlegrowers Foundation, Inc.,
P.O. Box 7517, Alb., 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 to us, & may be printed at 10¢ per word.