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Former Bottomless Lakes head to be honored

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Listen to Tamara Fresquez talk about her late father C.W. Bill Tarter, and one would get the impression that he loved the great outdoors and he loved to be in the water. He could be considered one of the driving forces behind next weekend’s Bottomless Lakes Triathlon and during the event, Fresquez and other surviving family members will be there to honor their late father and noted community member.

Fresquez said Perry Toles, one the organizers, wants the family to be recognized for the hard work her father put in for so many years.

“He was kind of in charge of it for a long time. I’m not sure when he quit doing it,” Fresquez said.

This marks the 35th year for the triathlon and no one in the Tarter family thought it would be the huge event that it is today, especially after humble beginnings so many decades ago.

Tarter was born in Snyder, Texas, in 1930 and later graduated from McMurray College and received a master’s degree from Eastern New Mexico University. He served in the United States Coast Guard for four years and most of his life he was an educator at New Mexico Military Institute where he wore multiple hats from swim coach to athletic director.

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“He always laughed and said, ‘He had the job that everyone wanted,’ Fresquez said. “He had the fun job, doing all the things that he loved. I think he really felt that way. It was exactly what he wanted to be doing, he loved those cadets. He was a swim coach, he traveled with them and he was the head of the PE department for a while and the athletic department, and he did all kinds of things and he loved everything that he did.”

Fresquez added that her father grew up outside and around a swimming pool.

“When he was a young boy, he lifeguarded,” Fresquez said.

Tarter enjoyed hanging out at Balmorhea State Park in Toyahvale, Texas.

“When he was in high school he summer-lifeguarded at Balmorhea. When he started teaching SCUBA classes here (in Roswell) then he would take the cadets to Balmorhea to do their certification dive and he grew up around the water — whatever he did, it was in the water,” Fresquez said.

Along with SCUBA diving, Fresquez said her family was involved in other water activities, such as sailboats.

“He taught all of that at the Institute and loved it,” Fresquez said.

Tarter was also involved in “land sports” as well, including walking, bicycling and tennis. Fresquez said he also was involved in the Roswell community.

“He came over here with the Professional Boy Scouts of America and did that for a while, and it was in the ‘60s he went to the Institute, he had a degree in teaching and loved all of that activity stuff — that’s what they hired him to do — and he just kept moving up and he loved it, and they loved him and it was fun for all of us,” Fresquez said.

Tarter’s family always went with him on NMMI events and Fresquez said she would keep score during swim meets.

“We did all that stuff, that’s basically what we grew up doing,” Fresquez said. “Dad ran numerous pools in the summer and then sometimes we would work for him when we were younger and doing it on our own when we were in college. It was just our household, that’s all it was.”

Tarter passed away in 2011 and Fresquez wants people to remember her dad, “just like he was. He was wonderful, really related to those cadets, people that age you know in high school. People will still come up to us and talk about how much he meant to them and they have such wonderful memories. He was a lot of fun, so I think they really appreciated that about him.”

Fresquez added that her family appreciates people who still remember her father even though he passed away more than seven years ago.

General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at sports2@rdrnews.com.

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