Roswell Christmas Railway adds polar zone, world of light; Roebuck Entertainment expands the magic of one of Roswell’s premier holiday destinations

The Roswell Christmas Railway was a huge success last year, selling out on many nights and attracting visitors from Arizona and Texas. (Submitted Photo)

With dozens of updated and new attractions, the second year for the Roswell Christmas Railway will bring holiday cheer to thousands of families during the 2017 season, which opens on Nov. 24.

Reminiscing experiences at East Grand Plains School

The 1924 class at East Grand Plains School. (Photo courtesy of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico)

Morgan Nelson is one of our favorites around the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico. He has always been a great supporter of the museum and archives and also shared his extensive knowledge, water engineering, library, memorabilia and other topics. At 98 years old, his memory and storytelling is still great.

Roswell pounds out playoff win

Roswell High School senior Gabriel Najar rushes for a touchdown Saturday against Aztec at the Wool Bowl. (David Rocha Photo)

After falling behind 21-6 in the second quarter, the Roswell Coyotes scored 29 unanswered points and held on late against Aztec for a 42-35 win at the Wool Bowl Saturday afternoon to advance in the state playoffs.

Artesia’s march for crown continues


ARTESIA — Last year the St. Pius X Sartans from Albuquerque prevented the Artesia Bulldogs from winning their 30th state title.

Super Bowl Saturday

Seen in action are the Roswell Youth Football League Cowboys and Cardinals. The two teams played in the 11-12 year-olds RYFL Super Bowl Saturday morning at Stiles Football Field. The Cowboys won 21-6. (David Rocha Photo)
Seen in action are the Roswell Youth Football League Cowboys and Cardinals. The two teams played in the 11-12 year-olds RYFL Super Bowl Saturday morning at Stiles Football Field. The Cowboys won 21-6. (David Rocha Photo)

Ravens vs. Sun Devils

Seen in action are the Roswell Youth Football League Sun Devils and Ravens. The teams played in the 9-10 year old Super Bowl with the Sun Devils winning 19-0. (David Rocha Photo)
Seen in action are the Roswell Youth Football League Sun Devils and Ravens. The teams played in the 9-10 year old Super Bowl with the Sun Devils winning 19-0. (David Rocha Photo)

Titans vs Cowboys

Members of the Roswell Youth Football League Titans gather before Saturday’s Super Bowl game against the Cowboys. The two teams played in the 7-8 year-olds championship at Stiles Football Field. The Titans spent most of the game with a 6-0 lead. The Cowboys would come back to score two touchdowns in the last 6 minutes of the game to win 13-6. (David Rocha Photo)

Couple calls nonprofit burial site God’s mission; County commissioners approve Hagerman charitable cemetery

Leo and Audrey Whitten of Hagerman say they want to meet the need for people who cannot pay for burial plots or funeral services. “They should not have to suffer more than they already are,” Audrey Whitten said. Their request to use a portion of their land for a charitable cemetery was approved Thursday by the Chaves County Board of Commissioners. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

A Hagerman couple who says God has given them a mission have received authorization from the county to use some of their property for a nonprofit cemetery.

Public affairs director lives faith, family and work, in that order

For Juanita Jennings, raising her boys is her hardest and best job. Seven-year-old Patrick III and his brother, 3-year-old Ryan, are shown here playing Monopoly with their mom. (Submitted Photo)

Juanita Jennings, public affairs director for the city of Roswell, believes in going all in with everything she does.

Fans release their team spirit and let Coyotes colors fly

Fans release balloons before Saturday’s Aztec vs. Roswell playoff football game at the Wool Bowl. (David Rocha Photo)

Holly-Day Magic Art and Craft Show wraps up

Kids line up Saturday for free balloon animals created by Chad Haley of Got Balloons as adults take in the handmade art and crafts for sale at the second and final day of the Holly-Day Magic Art and Craft Show at the Roswell Convention & Civic Center. Originally from Roswell, Haley usually plies his skills on cruise ships. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Week ahead



Jolly Ol’ ET lights up Main Street

Downtown light fixtures, already known locally for their alien features, don festive attire as volunteers decorate them Saturday for the holiday season. Juliana Halvorson of Pioneer Bank ties on a bow as a member of the volunteer crew. She was joined by MainStreet Roswell Executive Director Kathy Lay, MainStreet volunteer and business owner Molly Boyles and Pioneer Bank volunteer Alejandra Martinez. The Santa decorations are provided by Halvorson and MainStreet Roswell. Several years ago, the MainStreet organization obtained the lighted snowflakes now installed on light poles along Main Street in cooperation with the city. The group also has obtained donated LED lights from Xcel Energy that are going up on trees along a few blocks in central downtown, with J & G Electric helping in that effort. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

The mayor’s race is on

Del Jurney talks Saturday afternoon at Stellar Coffee with several local residents about his past accomplishments as Roswell mayor from 2010 and 2014 and his plans for the future should he be re-elected in 2018. Jurney is one of four people to announce intentions to run for the city office. The others are Mayor Dennis Kintigh, City Councilor Natasha Mackey and Marine veteran and Eastern New Mexico University student Sergio S. Gonzalez. The election is scheduled for March 6, with early voting beginning Feb. 14. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Marsha King (Kardoff)


Marsha King (Kardoff), 72, of Roswell, NM, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family on Monday, November 13, 2017. On November 9, 1945, Marsha was born to Ira and Helene Kardoff in Chicago, IL. A Celebration of Life luncheon service is scheduled for Saturday, November 25, 2017, at Eastern New Mexico State Fairgrounds located at 2500 SE Main Street, Roswell, NM 88201. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Marsha’s life, stop in any time between 11:00 AM-2:30 PM. Additionally, celebrate Marsha’s life by visiting to offer a memory or expression of sympathy for her family or cards may be sent to: 1601 Springfield Rd, Roswell, NM 88201.
Grandma King, as she was known to most, was truly the most generous and kind-hearted soul who touched the hearts of all who met her. She imparted her morals and values to her children, and her daughters will always remember her as a hard-working, selfless and caring woman and patient mother who encouraged them to pursue their dreams and goals.
Living life to the fullest, Marsha traversed the globe—visiting magnificent sites such as the pyramids of Egypt, the Bridge Over River Kwai in Thailand, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy and the hidden cloud city of Montserrat near Barcelona. Some of her favorite places to visit were London, Paris, Rome, Bruges, Amsterdam and so many other beautiful and historical sites statewide. No matter where Marsha traveled, here or abroad, she always managed to make new friends. Notably, Marsha was also a life-long and avid Chicago sports fan who was happy to profess that she was able to witness the Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks and Cubs championships.
In retirement, Marsha enjoyed cheering on her grandchildren at their varied sporting events/livestock shows; participating in her hobbies and clubs such as gardening, stamping class, and bunco. She attended plays and musicals at the local theaters, volunteered at Elite Gymnastics and Alden-Hebron Elementary, and a member of Grace Community Church.
Those left to cherish Marsha’s memory are her three daughters: Davina VanderPal (Jack) of Hebron, IL, Tanya Walker (Craig) of Roswell, NM, Jen King of Denton, TX; and four grandchildren: Courteney Walker, Trent Redlin, Trevor Redlin, Zoe Walker; brother, David Kardoff (Linda); nephews: Erik Lipschultz (Geneva), Jason Lipschultz (Dahlia); nieces: Lauren Morton (Andy), Nicole Thorpe; great-nephews: Silas, Joshua, Malakai, Jessie; great-nieces: Payton, Lily, Lisa; “acquired daughter,” Jane Swoboda; in-laws: Mike King (Andrea), Steve King (Becky), Cindy Sample (Vern), Nick King (Linda), Ted King (Ruth), Drew King; special friends: Julie and Ralph Earick, Les and Loretta Walker, Janice Dupree, Maria Lopez; an endless number of extended family and friends, and her rescued one hundred-pound Rottweiler fur-baby/companion, Sammie.
She was preceded in death by her husband and love of her life, Ronald King; parents: Ira and Helene Kardoff; and sister, Beverlee Lipschultz.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to Marsha’s favorite charity: DAV (Disabled American Veteran) in her name. Marsha was a true American patriot and supporter of those who served our great country and she supported this charity as it uses donations to assist disabled veterans with transportation to medical appointments and benefit claims.
This Tribute was lovingly written in honor of Marsha by her family.

Cecilia Y Carron and Paul James ‘PJ’ Carron


Cecilia Y Carron, age 82, passed away Saturday, October 28, 2017 at the Meadowlands Assisted Living in O’Fallon, Missouri. She was born September 4, 1935 in Arabela, New Mexico, the daughter of the late Crucita (nee Ybarra) and Maximiliano Sanchez. She was a retired LPN from Alexian Brothers Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. She was preceded in death 16 days prior on October 12, 2017 by her husband Paul James “PJ” Carron, who passed away at their daughter Cathy’s home in Tampa, Florida.
Cecilia’s siblings are Orlidia (the late Gene) Radtke of Tucson, Arizona, Max (Maria) Sanchez of Perryville, Missouri, Onfre (Georgia) Sanchez of El Paso, Texas, Marcella Miranda of Roswell, New Mexico, Cathy (Ray) Sanchez of Glencoe, New Mexico and the late Arcelia (Fred survives of Las Cruces, New Mexico) Nunez;
Paul, age 79, was born October 20, 1937. He is preceded in death by his parents Edna (nee Vineyard) and Walter Carron, and sisters Shirley (the late Wallace) Huddleston and Betty (the late David) Fults. He was raised by the late Harvey and Mabel Toulouse. He retired after 33 years in the trucking industry from Consolidated Freightways and was a member of Teamsters Local 600 in St. Louis, Missouri. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1955-1958 as a Fire Fighter stationed at Walker AF Base, Roswell, NM. Here he met his wife of 60 years Cecilia and were married September 16, 1957. After military discharge, they moved to Paul’s hometown of Festus, Missouri and raised their future family. They were longtime members of Assumption Catholic Church in Herculaneum, Missouri.
Their children are Donald Carron of Pennsylvania, Carol (Don) Walsh of O’Fallon, Donna Fonseca of Mesa, Arizona, Cathy Carron Meier of Tampa, and Valorie Edmister of Ruidoso, New Mexico. Their 8 grandchildren are Nadia, Ryan, Jacob, Coty, Caty Rose, Sierra, Luke and Hunter, and the 3 great-grandchildren are Cera, Nora and Sophia.
A memorial funeral mass for the Carrons will be celebrated at 11:00 A.M. Saturday, December 2, 2017 at Sacred Heart Church in Crystal City, Missouri, officiated by Fr. Clark Maes, and including full military honors for Paul. Interment will be in St. Jude Catholic Cemetery in San Patricio, New Mexico. Memorials in the Carron’s memory are preferred to the Alzheimer’s Association or to the Humane Society.

Walter L. Gibson


Walter L. Gibson, a distinguished veteran and respected Roswell leader, passed away on November 14, 2017 at age 97 in Reno, Nevada.
Gibson was an Air Force Colonel and civic leader who retired in Roswell after Walker Air Force Base closed in 1967.
Gibson was born on April 16, 1920 in Conconully, Washington.
After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Gibson was accepted into the Army’s Officer Candidate School. He flew fifty missions over Italy and North Africa as a bombardier before he was 23 years old. After that, he began his pilot training.
He served in the US Air Force for 20 years. His career as a professional pilot began by flying B-24s and then B-29s. He went on to become a B-52 pilot and Squadron Commander for the Strategic Air Command out of Walker Air Force Base in Roswell. As a cold warrior, he flew 24-hour missions with live H-bombs as part of the airborne leg of the nuclear triad with potential targets in both the Soviet Union and China. He retired from Walker as a Colonel.
After retirement, Gibson turned his energy and dedication from his country to his community. He served as the Executive Director to the Chavez County United Way from 1967 to 1977. Through his leadership and work both with Roswell business executives as Campaign Chairmen and with the Boards of Directors of the member agencies, he dramatically increased the United Way’s fundraising success. He was proud of the increase in services the agencies were able to provide to the community as a result.
In addition to his leadership at the United Way, over the years Gibson was a member of numerous organizations and boards. For example, he was a member of Rotary and he served on the Board of the Roswell Symphony. In addition, he was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church and served as an Elder.
Gibson used the fund raising prowess gained during his years with the United Way, and worked together with Stu Pritchard and Rogers Aston to raise funds for the design, production, and placement of the statue of John Chisum in Pioneer Plaza.
In 1948, Gibson married Viola M. Anderson. They were married for 27 years until she died. Walter and Vi had two children, Sara and Scott.
In 1979, Gibson married Jane Davisson. That marriage lasted 34 years until Jane died in 2013.
Gibson is survived by Sara who lives in San Antonio and her daughters Stephanie Henderson of Houston and Ashley Beech of Round Rock, Texas. Ashley and her husband Mike have three children, Evan, 8, Hannah, 5, and Leah, 1.
Gibson is also survived by his son Scott and his wife Mercedes of Reno. They have a daughter, Isabel who is 13.
Gibson was preceded in death by his parents Mary and Walter Gibson and his siblings: Carroll, Virginia, Lorraine, and Bernice, all of whom were younger than he.
A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church early next year.

Billy Ray Baker Sr.


Billy Ray Baker Sr. passed away on Thursday, November 16, 2017, in Roswell, NM. He was born on November 15, 1938, in Salyersville, Kentucky, to Douglas and Stella Baker. Celebrate Billy Ray Baker Sr’s life by visiting to offer a memory or expression of sympathy for his family.
He was preceded in death by his parents: Douglas and Stella Baker; sister, Jeanette Bailey; brother, Ernest Bailey; daughter, Gwen Brown; sons: Gregory Baker, William Lincoln Baker, Timothy Baker; and grandson, Robert Joseph Sosa.
Those left to cherish Billy Ray’s memory are his brothers: Paul Baker, Alonzo Baker; sister, Brenda Brown; children: Billy Ray Baker Jr, Sara Jane Aragon, Amanda Sosa; eighteen grandchildren; and eighteen great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers please make donations in Billy Ray’s memory to the American Cancer Society.
This tribute was lovingly written in honor of Billy Ray Baker Sr. by his family.

Gordon Lynn Barnhill


Gordon Lynn Barnhill, 59, passed away at home in Roswell, following a long illness, on Saturday, November 11, 2017. He was born in Roswell on September 15, 1958, to parents Donald Henry and Helen Eugenia Barnhill. Gordon attend Public Schools in Roswell, through Goddard High. He proudly served in the Navy as a Petty Officer specializing in ship maintenance and repair (Shipfitter), and damage control. After his tour in the Navy he packed away his WestPac “Sea Stories” and returned to Roswell, where he worked as a plumber until illness forced his premature retirement.
Gordon was predeceased by his father Donald Barnhill, mother Helen Hart, step-father Charles Hart, sister Denise Tyler, and brothers Gary and Joshua Barnhill. He was loved and will be missed by his brother and sister-in-law Arizona and Regina Barnhill of Gold Canyon, AZ, nieces Cynthia Kay Lorenz of Roswell, Tracy Tyler of Fort Sumner, Gayla Sigala of Tularosa, Autumn Dolan of Roswell, Gypsy Sisneros of Fort Sumner and nephews Terry Tyler and Michael Tyler of Roswell, Jamie Tyler of Ruidoso, Anthony Barnhill of Alamogordo, Clayton Barnhill and Benjamin Barnhill of Fort Worth, TX.
At Gordon’s request no public services are planned.

Wandal ‘Lee’ Harrison


Wandal “Lee” Harrison, 89, passed away on Friday, November 17, 2017. A graveside service at 2:00 PM will take place at South Park Cemetery on Monday, November 27, 2017 with his grandson, Luke Harrison officiating. The Roswell Masons and Roswell Honor Guard will be rendering their services.
Arrangements are under the personal care of LaGrone Funeral Chapel. Online condolences may be made at


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