Historian considers fates of citizens

By Don McAlavy: CNJ columnist

Here I am in 2009 at age 77, still kicking and writing columns for the Clovis News Journal.

Last week I found some old obituaries and they were all from 1977.

Now why is that? I’m 77 and they all died in ’77?

There was Ross P. Almoney, 62, born June 1, 1914, in Lancaster County, Pa. He had come to the Clovis area with the military when he was assigned to Clovis Army Airfield in 1943. He was a veteran of World War II. Ross was associated with the Clovis News Journal for 31 years in the photo-engraving department as was Chick Taylor Sr., George Paul and Joe Fahnert.

Then there was R. L. Travis, one of my teachers at the old Clovis High School. R. L. Travis was born April 29, 1904, in Anson, Texas, and came to Clovis in 1924. He taught school at Clovis High School for 24 years. He retired due to ill health. As a teacher his subjects were math, history, and government. I think that was when I got caught up in history. R. L. Travis died May 7, 1977.

E. P. Houlette was a twin. His brother was E. E. Houlette. They were both born April 25, 1895, in Des Moines, Iowa. He was a veteran of World War I. E. P. Houlette died on March 18, 1977. I’m not sure when E. E. Houlette died or when the twins came to Clovis.

A good friend was Edith W. Spies, 79. She was the mother of Gordon Spies of Clovis. She was born northwest of Seiling, Okla., on Oct. 39, 1898. She was a member of the Eastern Star and the First Christian Church. She and her husband, William, had celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on April 3, 1977.

Now there was E. E. Kraus, or Dr. Ernest Edmund Kraus. Dr. Kraus was born July 7, 1908, in Swink County, Colo., and came to Clovis in February 1937. He was a veterinarian for many years. I got to know him when he was at the Curry County Fairgrounds, attending animals, and he would come by the “Oldest House in Clovis” out there. Dr. Kraus died at age 69 from a heart attack on Sept. 22, 1977.

Now I lived a block from Henry Prothro, and took some piano lessons from his wife at the corner of Axtell and Eighth Street. Both were great people. Mr. Prothro was born March 20, 1883, in El Dorado, Ark. He had attended Ouachita Baptist University and came to Clovis in 1922. He taught school, worked in the lumber business and also sold insurance. He was a Baptist deacon for 60 years. He and his wife were married in 1918 in Little Rock, Ark. Mr. Prothro died Sept. 22, 1977.

Fred R. Daugherty was born June 30, 1914, in Olton, Texas, and in 1941 moved to Clovis, where he was a prominent cattleman. He was a member of the National and New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, the Mounted Patrol and the Chamber of Commerce. He died on Dec. 11, 1977.

(Now how many more 1977 deaths will I find?)

Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at: dmcalavy@telescopelab.com