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Huckabee, prominent civic leader, passes away

Dusty Huckabee, seated, is seen with his longtime friend Bill Wolf during an Oct. 29, 2020 “Dusty Huckabee Day” tribute at his home on West College Boulevard. (Daily Record File Photo)

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A well-known local civic leader and longtime MainStreet Roswell director has passed away.

Edwin “Dusty” Huckabee, 73, died in his home on Friday afternoon, according to his wife, Heidi Huckabee.

The family will hold a private service, she said, and will determine later whether a public service will occur.

Huckabee, who had lived in Roswell since age 3 and graduated from Goddard High School in 1966, had been named an executive director emeritus by New Mexico Main Street in 2015 in recognition of his 22 years of leadership as the head of the local MainStreet nonprofit from 1992 to 2014. The state group also gave him its Innovation Award.

During a “Dusty Huckabee Day” coordinated by MainStreet Roswell and held in October, family and friends remembered a man who helped shape the city of Roswell, securing more than $1 million in grants to improve downtown and launching some of its signature community events, including the Chile Cheese Festival and the UFO Festival. His work with the Sertoma Club included creating the Alien Playground at the Cielo Grande Recreation Area and starting its annual citywide Fourth of July celebration.

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Prior to working with MainStreet, he had worked with local TV stations and at the Roswell Convention Center.

He also served as the Ward 1 representative on the Roswell City Council from 2010 to 2014 and considered one of his more important achievements during that time to be the restoration of the Charlie McVay Memorial Softball Complex.

He and Heidi, an English faculty member with New Mexico Military Institute, were married for 43 years.

In an online remembrance, she wrote, “He loved our city with a vengeance and made it his life’s work to keep it thriving, communicating and better than he found it when he discovered as a teenager that Roswell was worth saving.”

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