By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer
Ken Huey was a friend worth having, but even better to have when it came to public service.
The former president and CEO of First Bank in Clovis died Monday of progressive supranuclear palsy, a degenerative brain disease. He was 64 years old.
Born Sept. 20, 1944, in Pampa, Texas, Huey first started banking when he arrived in Clovis in 1969. Keith Ingram said it wasn’t too long after that the two became friends.
“I couldn’t define it,” Ingram said of first meeting Huey. “With a good friend, you just know it. There wasn’t one thing I could particularly say. You just sometimes know the intangible quality.”
It took some a little longer. Wife Diana Huey said the two were high school sweethearts in Carlsbad, but she laughs when she admits she liked him because he was a cute guy with a nice car.
“What attracted me to him initially was what attracted a high school kid — the material things,” said Huey, who teaches language classes part-time at Clovis High School. “What kept us together was his values and honesty and his integrity.”
The two were married in 1968, and both later attended Eastern New Mexico University — Diana graduated with an education degree in 1976, Ken with an MBA in 1974.
Steve Doerr, a member of the ENMU’s alumni board, said Ken Huey’s dedication to the college never ended.
Doerr said Huey instilled policies that ensured the foundation was conservative with its money, because he hated the idea of losing money that could go toward scholarships. Without policy Huey put in place, Doerr said the investment committee might not have moved funds to CDs before the recent stock market crash.
“He had a strong belief in Eastern providing college education to kids,” Doerr said. “Ken really wanted to help students go to college.”
As Ingram said, helping people was just what Huey did. Ingram said the three biggest causes for Huey, a National Guard member who served in the Air Force in Korea, were Cannon Air Force Base, the Air Force, and the Boy Scouts of America. And he could fund-raise quite well, Ingram said.
“You know he had no agenda for Ken,” Ingram said. “When he was raising money for someone or getting you to join, it was for that organization. I never saw him have a personal agenda. It was always to help that organization.”
In his spare time, Huey worked on renovating his home and rental properties he’d purchased. Despite a pretty noticeable case of arthritis, Ingram said Huey would work tirelessly to fix up the properties and never complain.
“I called it his Monopoly set,” Ingram said.
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