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Longtime Roswell resident turning 100

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Born on Dec. 28, 1920 in Rayford, Oklahoma, Clarence Pollard was the fourth child of nine. The family farmed around the area of Mounds, Oklahoma, until his mother was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1936. Pollard’s father decided to move the clan to Arizona.

Clarence Pollard (Submitted Photo)

“As we made our journey, my family first viewed Chaves County when we stopped in Dexter to stay for two months with my aunt, who had also moved because of TB,” Pollard said. “My mother always said she felt better in New Mexico, but my father decided to continue on to Arizona.”

Upon his mother’s passing, Pollard was 15 years of age when the family headed back to his home state.

Marrying Margaret Foster in 1941 — who he’d known since childhood — Pollard was called to serve his country.

“Entering the Army in 1944, I soon discovered that I, too, had TB in both lungs,” he said. “And, in March of 1945, Margaret and I settled in Roswell. I found out about a doctor here who’d relocated from Louisiana who also had TB and I went to him for treatment. He gave me some tonic to help me gain weight, as well as instructions to lay in the sun for so many hours a day and take walks in order to feel better.

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“Because of his help and treatment, the same year I was able to start working once again,” he said.

Working for the city bus company in Roswell as a relief driver, his hard work “paid off,” so to speak.

“I worked my way up to the position of manager and eventually owned part of the company with Derwood Jones,” Pollard said.

As time moved forward, Clarence took on a variety of jobs.

“I went to work at the 7-Up bottling company for Derwood Jones before taking on a variety of jobs, from delivering bread to selling auto parts to working as a ticket agent for New Mexico Transportation,” Pollard said. “In 1954, I was contacted by a member of the Roswell School Board wanting to know if I would like to bid on running school buses to Roswell High. RHS had just opened. I won the bid and ran two bus routes. Not to mention, before the base closed in 1967, I also had two contracts with Walker AFB to pick up trash at the base as well as missile sites, while also running four buses for St. Peter’s Catholic Church.

“By the time I retired in 1985, I had 40 school buses, 35 routes, and 38 drivers, as well as a Charter Permit,” he said.

Pollard credited some good advice for his business success.

“I have seen, heard and experienced many things in my life, and I have to say the best advice I ever received came from Derwood Jones,” he said.

“He told me upon the day I quit 7-Up: ‘Get something you can call your own and build on it. Because when you work for the other guy and you quit making him money, he will no longer need you anymore.’ And that’s what I did with the buses,” Pollard said.

In his many decades in Roswell, Pollard has seen a lot.

“I guess the biggest change we experienced was when Walker (Air Force Base) closed,” he said. “We lost a lot of people and friends; the only good thing was the city got the land.”

He considers his personal life a blessing.

“Margaret and I worked side-by-side when we owned the buses, before passing away after 62 wonderful years of marriage,” Pollard said. “My daughter Kathy lives in Roswell and takes care of me.”

He and Margaret had two daughters, Judy Morris, who taught school for 29 years and currently lives in Ruidoso; and Kathy, an educator for 14 years before switching career fields and graduating law school.

Living through a century that included many memorable events in America’s history, Pollard offered some advice of his own to the community.

“I have lived through one world war, the Korean War, as well as Vietnam, and watched this great nation of ours, thankfully, survive it all,” he said. “Now, with this pandemic affecting the world and bringing heartache to many, I believe with all my heart we will survive this as well. It is a fact that the United States has proven no matter what we face, we always find a way of bouncing back … and this pandemic is no different; we will bounce back once again.”

Approaching 100 years of age, Mr. Pollard wanted to thank those who have made his life special.

“I would like to say that I’ve been sincerely blessed,” he said. “Four of my siblings are still enjoying life as I am, but I have outlived many friends who I miss, yet I will always have fond memories of them gracing my life.

“Lastly, I have to say I am lucky to have lived in the greatest country there is,” he said.