Though not a lifelong resident of the Pecos Valley, Roswell has been home to Joan Boue for the last eight and a half years.
“I have never met kinder, more loving, generous, caring, giving and friendly people than I have met in Roswell,” she said in an interview.
Whether it be local and state Republican politics, working to assist low-income children and the homeless, fundraising for local organizations, or speaking at a ceremony where Roswell’s new slogan and logo were unveiled Thursday, Boue, a self-described “70-year-old-plus” retiree, has thrown herself into her adopted community.
“I feel that I have something to contribute to make Roswell a better place,” she said of her busy schedule of volunteer work.
Joan and her husband Hudson Boue moved to Roswell in 2010, after years of living in Virginia, where they welcomed into their home and socialized with some of the biggest names in government and in Republican politics.
Roswell, a city of 47,000 in the desert of New Mexico, is a far cry from the nation’s capital. However, that was part of the lure of Roswell for the Boues.
Joan Boue said she wanted to move to a place with less traffic and a lower cost of living. She said that in Roswell, elected officials are more accessible and that she feels more in control of her own destiny.
Joan Boue was born and raised in Philadelphia, the oldest daughter of four daughters in an upper-middle class family. She was reared in what she describes as a conservative and disciplined, yet loving and Italian Catholic family.
“My father was the worker and my mother was the stay-at-home mom,” she said.
Her father was an artist who owned an art gallery and picture-framing business. Her mother, meanwhile, was active in the community as a member of the PTA and a Girl Scouts leader who also taught ceramics.
Joan Boue said that growing up, her parents held a strong belief that she had talents and those talents should be used in service to her family, friends and community.
“And that is why I am so involved here,” she said, referring to her involvement in Roswell.
After she graduated from Villanova University in the mid-1960s with a bachelor’s in education, Joan Boue married her first husband and had two children: a son, John, and a daughter, Lisa.
She and her young family then moved to Melrose, Massachusetts, where, like her mother, Joan Boue was a stay-at-home mother or as she calls herself “a domestic engineer.”
In the early 1970s, Joan Boue and her family moved to Albuquerque. There she also took up the mantle of volunteer work, as a “room mother” who would bring refreshments or help with special events in elementary school classrooms and field trips, and was a Girl and Boy Scout leader.
As she always has, Joan Boue was deeply involved in her church. She earned a degree in theology in the 1970s and would often administer communion to the infirm.
“I view myself as a spiritual person and I love my Catholic Church,” she said.
For Joan Boue, politics has always been a passion.
“I always felt very strongly that it is not only our right and our duty, but I do believe it is an honor to vote and I take it very, very seriously,” she said.
It was in the arena of politics where Joan Boue met her future husband, Hudson Boue, in 1978 at a meeting. Joan Boue back then was a member of the central committees of the Bernallio and New Mexico Republican parties, and she became acquainted with Jack Boue, who was the party’s candidate that year for Bernallio County Sheriff.
“I went to the meeting and they introduced the candidates that were running for office,” she said.
By then, Joan Boue had been divorced for a while. She and Hudson Boue dated for a few years before he moved to California, but the two kept in touch. They married in 1990.
For the two newlyweds, 1990 was also another pivotal year. It was the year Hudson Boue accepted a job as an attorney within the U.S. Department of the Interior, which was then headed by former New Mexico Republican congressman and then-Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan.
The Boue’s moved to Virginia where Joan Boue got a job as a sales agent and eventually general manager of a condo building company.
The couple also were fixtures in Republican politics, opening up their home in Reston, Virginia for Republican meetings and events through the years — marque names in Virginia Republican politics such as former U.S. Sens. George Allen and John Warner. Mark Levin, the conservative attorney, author and radio talk show host was their neighbor.
The couple attended the 1989 inauguration of President George H.W. Bush as well as both inaugurations of President George W. Bush. In 2005, the Boue’s were even invited to the White House for a Christmas Party.
Joan Boue said the Bushes are good, genuine people.
“And I have nothing but positive things to say about them,” she said.
With her move to Roswell, Joan Boue has remained active in Republican Party politics.
Soon after she came to Roswell, Joan Boue sought to become involved with the Chaves County Republican Federated Women. When she first joined, the organization had just 28 members.
She approached the president of the club and asked how she could become involved and was offered the position of membership chair. Joan Boue then eventually served as president of the group from 2014 to 2017. During her tenure as the group’s leader, she boosted membership from 28 to 202, making the Chaves County Federated Republican Women the largest Federated Women’s Club in New Mexico.
Joan Boue said that when she became membership chair, she met with a mother and daughter active in the local Republican political scene and asked for a list of all previous members. She then identified who was no longer coming to the meetings and handwrote each former member a letter saying that they were missed by the organization and invited them to come back.
She also began inviting people to the club’s monthly meetings. Joan Boue’s outreach also included going through a list of registered Republican voters in Chaves County and either sending them a handwritten letter or calling them on the phone to recruit new members.
As president of the organization, Joan Boue also spearheaded a number of initiatives. One of those initiatives is an event called “Honoring our Veterans” where local military veterans are invited to attend a meeting, are treated to lunch and provided with a gift.
Under Joan Boue’s leadership, the group also started a scholarship fund, raising enough money some years to help fund the college educations of as many as five people.
And it was Joan Boue who came up with the idea of a western-themed gala as the group’s annual fundraiser, an event now known as the Cowboy Prom.
Other volunteer work
Joan Boue’s involvement in volunteer work goes beyond the realm of politics. She has served as president of the Board of the Assistance League of Chaves County. The organization leads a variety of programs to help low-income children, women and the homeless in Chaves County.
The group raises money mainly through the sale of items at a thrift store on the corner of Union Avenue and West Second Street.
The Assistance League under Joan Boue’s leadership has provided baby wipes and diapers to children and toddlers rescued from abusive homes. With the help of Harvest Ministries, they have provided backpacks of food, hats and gloves, and hygiene products to the homeless. Each year, they also provide dictionaries to students at schools in Dexter, Hagerman and Lake Arthur.
One of the efforts that she takes the most pride in is “Operation School Bell,” a fundraising drive where all money donated goes to fit and provide low-income children in grades K-8 with new clothes.
“We don’t just give them the clothing, we actually fit each and every child so that they go home feeling really good about themselves,” she said.
Other volunteer activities Joan Boue is involved in includes work on fundraising for ALTRUSA International of Roswell, an organization that works to improve the community through local partnerships. And in times of grief, Joan Boue helps provide food to people after funerals at Assumption Church.
Joan Boue said she loves to see the results of her volunteer work in action and is honored to serve Roswell in her many capacities. She said that she plans to stay active and that she and Hudson plan to remain in Roswell.
“I feel very at home in Roswell and believe that we will be here for a while,” Joan Boue said.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at email@example.com.