In tribute: Former police officer loved family, pranks

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

C.T. “Tommy” Bull was remembered by friends and family as a dedicated family man and law enforcement officer, and a lover of kids, animals and pranks.

Bull, a retired Clovis police officer and railroad special investigator, died Aug. 15 at his home in Portales with his wife Margia by his side. He was 66 years old.

“It was a real love story,” daughter Kelli Richerson said of the couple, married 43 years ago when Margia was 18. “The last thing he said was, ‘Well, honey, it’s been one hell of a ride. I love you.’”

Born April 24, 1942, in Pecos, Texas, Bull loved many others as well. Uncle-in-law Jesse Porter remembered a nephew who would always help move cattle or pick something up at an auction when Porter couldn’t.

“The main thing that sticks in my mind is how he was always willing to help you,” said Porter, a retired magistrate judge. “He was always a joy to be around.”

Well, not always. Maybe not by the victims of his prank.

Richerson said Bull would often have friends leave voice mails for fellow officers confirming fake tuxedo fittings or sneak into a friend’s kitchen to peel labels off every canned good.

Mickey Fenn, who met Bull in 1968 when he joined the Clovis Police Department, remembered that Bull had to apologize to an officer’s wife for a fake note from a local hotel, thanking the officer for his weekend business.

“He sent the thank you note to the (officer’s) house, which his wife got,” Fenn said. “The thing is, he never went to the Holiday Inn.

“I don’t think he pulled that one more than once.”

Friends and family said he was serious with policework, though, and took pride in high arrest-to-conviction ratios.

“When he was a young man, his dad wasn’t really around much,” Richerson said. “One of the police officers where he lived in Pecos, Texas, really took him under his wing and looked out for him. That’s all he ever (wanted to be) as an adult.”

Bull left the department in 1971 to work as a special investigator for the Santa Fe Railroad. The job took him to Arizona until his 2002 retirement.

He came back to be with family, including Richerson and her two children, and spent his retirement going to Floyd Baptist Church, attending weekend auctions, drinking coffee at Dairy Queen and attending school events for his grandchildren.

Other favorite activities included playing pranks with 7-year-old granddaughter Megan and taking 10-year-old grandson Tyler to the barber shop.

Bull was always a supportive father when she grew up, Richerson said, but he was more of a friend when she had medical issues as an adult.

“He would always go to the doctor with me,” said Richerson, an interventionist and freshman seminar instructor at Eastern New Mexico University. “If we had to go to Lubbock, he’d go with me and we’d talk about everything.”

In Tribute is a regular feature. To suggest an honoree, contact CNJ Managing Editor Rick White at 763-6991 or by e-mail: rwhite@cnjonline.com