In Memoriam ...

Carrol James “C.J.” Wood, 81, Alamogordo, passed away peacefully at his home on December 30, 2014. C.J. was born December 18, 1933, in his family home near Cloudcroft to Reuben and Mae Wood. He was raised in the Cloudcroft area and graduated from Cloudcroft High School in 1951. During the Korean War, he served in the Navy until 1956. In 1954, he married his sweetheart Edna Eryl Dove. Their twin boys were born in 1955 while the couple was stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas. In 1956, he and Edna moved back to the family land near Cloudcroft, where they raised their growing family. He remained in the area his entire life, watching his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren grow. C.J. worked at the Holloman test track until his retirement in 1988. After this he focused on his construction business. He was active with the Mayhill Baptist Church, eventually remodeling the church building. He worked on several buildings at Sivell’s Baptist Camp as well. He served on the Cloudcroft School Board from 1969 until 1973. C.J. is survived by his wife Edna; his four children Jesse Wood (wife, Carol), James Wood (wife, Susan), Kathy (Wood) Grant, and Cynthia (Wood) Buttram (husband Terry); one nephew, eight grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

Thelma Mae Berryman, 91, Mountainair, peacefully passed away on December 29, 2014, after spending a joyous Christmas with her family. Thelma was born on May 25, 1923, to I.G. and Lillie Mae (Autrey) McKinley in Mountainair, where she would later become a lifetime resident. Being of strong Christian faith, she was a member of the Nazarene Church of Mountainair and also attended the First Baptist Church of Mounttainair. Thelma regularly volunteered at both the Veterans Center and the Chamber of Commerce in Truth or Consequences, N.M. She is survived by son David Berryman (wife, Jennifer), Sandia Park. Thelma was blessed with two beautiful grandchildren.

Margaret Littrell Smedly, 82, Taos, went to be with the Lord on January 8, 2015 after battling Alzheimer’s Disease for many years. Margie was born on March 20, 1932 on a cattle ranch east of Maxwell.  She spent much of her childhood years on that ranch, where she honed her skills as a horsewoman, a love that she would pass on to her children and grandchildren. She graduated from Maxwell High School and attended New Mexico State University for a semester. Margie met John Smedly when she was just 20 years old, while working for the telephone company in Raton. She and John courted for a short while before being married March 29, 1952. They brought forth a daughter, Dixie, in 1953.  Margie continued to work at the telephone company, while raising a new baby and tending to John, while he worked on the railroad. John Jr. was born in Raton in 1957. They moved to Maxwell in 1955, to Gallup in 1957, and then to Taos in 1959, where they resided for the rest of Margie’s life. Margie worked beside John Sr, in The Carson House Shop, an Indian arts business, which they sold in 1981. Margie wanted to get back into the cattle business and so they had a small herd of cows, and some horses. Margie was baptized at the First Baptist Church in Raton in 1953, and was a member of the First Baptist Church in Taos since 1959. She is survived by her husband of nearly 63 years, John, daughter Dixie Floyd (husband,) Otis, son John Jr. (wife, Ursula); sister Ruby Maxine Trainham (husband, Destry), brother, Forrest Littrell (wife, Hazel), sister Martha Carol Thomas (husband, George); three grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

Douglas (Doug) Paul Babbitt, 62, Scottsdale, Arizona, passed away on January 5, 2015 following a heart attack. Doug was born in Mesa. He is survived by a sister, and numerous cousins. Doug loved people, rodeo, nice clothes and visiting with his many friends while on the road selling Native American jewelry, rugs and artifacts – on which he was considered an authority. Doug began his career at an early age under the tutelage of his grandfather, Paul Babbitt, selling turquoise jewelry, Navajo rugs and an array of beautiful Indian accessories. Doug understood the talent and craft of the Native American artists and had a real appreciation of the beauty of their work. His other love was rodeo and roping; Doug came up through the ranks of Arizona Junior Rodeo, College Rodeo, eventually becoming a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Doug joined the PRCA in 1974 and was a Gold Card Member. Doug won the prestigious California Team Roping Association Oakdale Ten Steer average in 1983, an accomplishment he cherished and still wore the trophy belt buckle every day. Doug’s life was cut short but he lived a colorful life of adventure, leaving behind many friends across the country. He lived in Arizona, California and Texas at various times, but considered Arizona home.

Jan B. McElhaney, 80, Floresville, Texas, passed away January 5, 2015. Jan was born August 27, 1934 in Dallas, Texas to O.W. and Violet (Griffith) McElhaney. He honorably served in the United States Navy and is a veteran of the Korean conflict. Jan grew up in Ruidoso, New Mexico where he enjoyed the idyllic life of a rural childhood. He loved to catch wild horses which he gentled and traded. He became Cowboy Boss to manage cattle for the Mescalaro Apache tribe, before moving on to California to manage large cattle ranches and then to the Texas Panhandle to become part of the booming cattle feeding industry. He eventually became managing partner of Sugarland Feedyard in Hereford, TX until its sale in 2000. He was past director of Texas Cattlefeeders and New Mexico Cattle Growers’ and a strong supporter of the beef industry. He was an accomplished horseman and weekend team roper and won may awards for his horsemanship. He had the Irishman’s gift of gab and story-telling and enjoyed pulling practical jokes on his cowboy friends. There are few left of his caliber. He is survived by his wife, Marty; children, Raynel Maguire, Jim Ross McElhaney, Clifton McElhaney, Jodi McElhaney Campbell and husband Cledel; step-children, Sean See and wife Tracy, Erin Bolen and husband Mark; numerous grandchildren and many friends including special friends Bobby and Nese Watkins.

Gene Simeon Walker, Sr., 88, Laredo, Texas, entered into eternal rest on Monday, January 19, 2015. Born at Mercy Hospital in Laredo, Gene was a proud alumnus of Laredo schools including Nye, McDonald, Christian, and Martin, as well as Schreiner Institute and Texas Tech. His commitment to education was evident in 20 years service on the Webb County School Board, many as its president. He was in the ranching, oil and gas and wildlife management business for over 70 years, with ranches in South Texas, West Texas, and Chihuahua, Mexico. Gene was a humble man who was surprised by the many honors he received over the years, and insisted that there were many others just as worthy who might have been selected. Some awards stood out in his mind: being selected twice as Rancher of the Year (Borderfest 1988, LIFE 2003); chosen with his brother, sister and brother-in-law as Junior Achievement Laureates in 1999; honored by LULAC as a Tejano Achiever in 2002; and finally this past year chosen by the Laredo Chamber of Commerce to represent the Walker clan as Business Person of the Year. Ranching was more than a business for Gene Walker – it was a way of life for a man whose highest values were service to God and family and compassion for God’s creatures. He is survived by his wife Susan; children, Gene S. “Primo” (wife, Carllyn) Walker, Jr., James Patrick “Rick” Walker, Elizabeth “Libit” (husband, Joey) Scott, May Kathleen “Kandy” Walker, Travis (wife, Holly) Baker, Erin (husband,John) Albanese; grandchildren, Jeffory Walker, Cathy (Kevin) Reed, Kandy E. Walker, Marygene (Adam) Rose, James Patrick Walker, Amanda (Dustin) Hayes, Mary Kathleen “Katie”, Kyle (Ashley) Koonce, Haley Leyendecker, Zane and August Baker, Sophie Albanese, and nine great-grandchildren. He is also survived by numerous nephews, nieces, and other loving relatives and friends.

Editor’s Note: Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . 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, Albuquerque, NM 87194. The New Mexico 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.