Shop instructor made life of teaching

By Don McAlavy: Local columnist

It was Frank A. Foster, superintendent of Curry County schools, that woke me up to become an artist when I was only in the 6th grade in the old Claud school. I’ve said this before, but I’ve told many in my columns about Frank Foster visiting my country school and showing his guns to my class.

I was in the back row and I drew a picture at my desk of his beautiful rifle. My lovely lady teacher said, “Don”, “why aren’t you paying attention to Mr. Foster. Come up front with your paper!” I came up and showed the teacher and Mr. Foster my drawing of the rifle he was holding.

(I thought I was going to be excused from the class!)

“Young man, that is a very good picture of my rifle! Can I take it home to show my wife!”

Of course I gave it to him. Well, from then on I was the artist at Claud school and drew many pictures for most of the class I was in. It was the first time I had ever received a great compliment!

In 1907, Frank Al Foster traveled on a train with his mother and brother and at Bovina met his father and they all got in a covered wagon to land near Hollene on land his father had filed.

Frank married Lois Rosalee Madole, daughter of J. A. and Lula Madole, in 1925. Both Frank and Lois attended and graduate from Hollene School.

Frank’s first teaching job was at the one room Boney School north of Grady. Here he taught to earn money to finish paying for his education.

After traveling to Virginia City, Nevada, and teaching school for one year, he and his wife returned to New Mexico to each at Claud, Ranchvale, and finally Hollene.

Thereafter Frank ran for County School Superintendent and held office for two teams. During the war years he worked for the Remington Arms in Denver, for the United States Government in Albuquerque, and later transferred to Cannon Air Base.

Finally he returned to teaching Motor Mechanics and Sheet Metal Shop at Clovis High School.

Frank was the outstanding gunsmith, hunter, and wildlife conservationist. In recent years as a member of the New Mexico State Game Commission and the New Mexico House of Representatives, he did much to further the cause of wildlife conservation and introduced legislation which provided severe penalties for the illegal use of firearms in crime.

They had three daughters: Wanda, Wilma and Wieta and two sons: James and Tom. It shocked me with I learned Frank A. Foster passed away. He was 69 in 1971. He and Lois had been married for 46 years. His widow Lois Madole Foster died September 16, 1981.

Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at:

dmcalavy@telescopelab.com