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Bradley Houston

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Family, education, agriculture, and travel were extremely important in Brad Houston’s life. But he loved his play time too! Everything from a lively hand of bridge to a hotly contested tennis match, an energetic night of square dancing, dashing to the lake to water ski when the surface was smooth as glass or just nodding off waiting for the fish to bite. He intertwined these passions throughout each stage of his life and enjoyed his 92 years immensely.

John Bradley Houston was born in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, November 4, 1928. He was raised by his parents, Robert and Eunice Houston, and was an only child until the age of 16 when the first of his three sisters was born. Brad’s dad was a carpenter and farmer, his mom was a homemaker. When Brad was four, the family ventured to Ima, New Mexico to homestead with several other families. The lack of rain doomed the venture and the families returned to Fort Sumner. His dad found work with the WPA dam in Ft. Sumner and his mother was a homemaker. Brad found work wherever he could, from pulling weeds to transplanting sweet potatoes. Brad developed his strong work ethic and desire to get an education during these difficult times.

Brad graduated from Fort Sumner High School in 1946. He attended New Mexico State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture in 1951 and completing his Master of Arts degree in 1957. Elaine Black was the “dream girl” of his fraternity, she became Brad’s dream girl too. Brad served in the U.S. Army from April 1951 until April 1953, spending six months in Korea. He was fortunate to have some radio communications training so did not spend time on the front line in Korea. Stories have been told that his unit played poker during down time and that all of his winnings were sent back to Elaine for their nest egg. He married Elaine shortly after his return from Korea.

In 1953, Brad began working as a teacher at Roswell High School. He started the Vocational Agriculture Program in 1954 and served as the FFA (Future Farmers of America) advisor for 14 years. His drive and ambition to create excellence resulted in a highly successful chapter that has produced several generations of farmers and ranchers. His students were awarded the National Gold Emblem Chapter for 10 years, the State Gold Emblem Chapter for 10 years, and the State Sweepstakes winner for 4 years. He served as the superintendent of the Farm Products and Farm Mechanics Division at the Eastern New Mexico State Fair for 10 years. Brad developed relationships with students, their families and the agricultural community that have continued throughout his life. Brad and Elaine’s 2 daughters were born in Roswell. They were often seen hanging out with Dad in his old green truck, roller skating in his shop or “working” with him in the concession stand at the Roswell High School basketball games.

Continuing his career as an educator, in 1967 Brad moved to Las Cruces where he was an instructor of Agriculture Engineering classes at New Mexico State University for 3 years. Brad and Elaine enjoyed NMSU faculty life and loved to attend Aggie basketball and football games. In Las Cruces they developed a lifelong love of square dancing.

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Brad began his second career as a dairyman in 1970 when he and his family moved to Arrey, New Mexico. He managed Price-Black Farms, at that time the home of the largest registered Guernsey herd in the U.S., milking over 1,700 cows. The dairy received honors for the All-American Guernsey Bull and the top milk producing Guernsey Cow in the country for 5 years. In 1982, Brad and Elaine returned to Roswell. Brad served as vice president and general manager of Price’s Roswell Farms until he retired in 2003. He was instrumental in improving the genetics of the herd, making the dairy one of the best in the Southwest. The Roswell dairy milked 2,400 cows, raised replacement heifers and bulls and sold herd sires to other dairies.

During his 33-year dairy career, Brad was active with the Sierra County, Chaves County, Sandoval County and New Mexico Farm Bureau boards, working from the grassroots level to promote legislation beneficial to farmers and ranchers. The New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau recognized Brad for his many years of service by naming him Farm Family of the Year in 2017. He was also selected as the 2017 Eastern New Mexico State Fair parade grand marshal for his crucial role in agriculture in New Mexico. Brad received the Distinguished Alumni award for the College of Ag and Home Economics at NMSU in 2007.

Brad served 6 years on the First United Methodist Church Board of Trustees and ushered during church services for 15 years. He was the agricultural representative to the Chaves County Chamber of Commerce and helped sponsor the annual Rise with Roswell Agriculture Business Breakfast. He also served on the Central Valley Electric Cooperative Board, the NMSU Agriculture Science Center at Artesia Advisory Board, the AMPI Milk Market Board, the NMSA Dairy Advisory Board and others.

Brad still managed to find time to play tennis with fellow members of the Roswell Tennis Association, play bridge at the Roswell Adult Center along with weekly games with friends, and square dance at least once a week. Many horses passed through Brad’s life, but his favorite was Skippy, a beautiful sorrel that thoroughly enjoyed putting Brad’s backside on the ground a time or two. He was an avid gardener and enjoyed the Roswell Symphony. Brad and Elaine traveled worldwide and throughout the United States. He enjoyed spending time with his family, playing games for hours.

Brad was predeceased by his wife Elaine, sister Barbara and brothers-in-law Allen, Don and Kenneth. He is survived by sisters Dorothy and Bobbie (Ron), daughters Debra (Rocky) and Janet (Pancho), grandchildren Kristy (Glenn) and Steve (Olivia), great-grandchildren Hunter, Caden, David, Austin, Taylor, and Garrett.

The family extends their deepest gratitude to friends and staff at Peachtree Retirement Village, especially Mary Beth, Chapa, Gaby, and Betty.

Services will be held at 10:00 on May 18, 2021 at the First United Methodist Church, 200 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Roswell, NM 88201.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cowboy Bell Scholarship Fund at the First United Methodist Church, 200 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Roswell, NM 88201.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at www.ballardfuneralhome.com.