May 26

On this date …

1971: A local school teacher was among thousands of Americans hoping to learn more about significant others who had been reported missing in action in Vietnam.

Gail Cantrell, a 24-year-old Portales native teaching at Bella Vista Elementary School in Clovis, had plans to marry Air Force Capt. Alan Trent. They met while singing in a church choir in Big Spring, Texas, in 1968.

Capt. Trent, who piloted an F-4 fighter jet, left for Vietnam in December 1969. He was reported MIA after his plane crashed in Cambodia on May 13, 1970.

He was nine days shy of his 30th birthday.

Trent’s body was never recovered. Cantrell, now Gail Bond, still lives in the area, between Clovis and Portales.

1961: Clovis High School had graduated 234 seniors.

Ceremonies were held at Marshall Junior High School’s auditorium before a “standing-room only crowd,” according to the Clovis News-Journal.

The 2016 CHS graduating class was about 420.

1946: A nationwide railroad strike had ended after about 48 hours.

Union workers had agreed to return to work for a pay increase of 37 cents an hour, The Associated Press reported.

Employees in Belen accepted radio reports as proof that they should return to work, but Clovis workers declined to return until they were notified by union representatives.

May 25

On this date …

1966: A Texico woman was honored for helping save the life of a motorist whose vehicle was stalled on railroad tracks.

Judy Smith, who worked for the railroad, was returning home at dusk when she spotted a car sitting at an angle across the tracks.

She investigated and found Winfred Reeves of Clovis unconscious in the car. Smith, who was pregnant at the time, was unable to remove Reeves from the car, so she ran to the highway and secured the help of a Friona couple who were able to drag the man to safety.

Smith, aware a passenger train was scheduled at any minute, then ran “three telephone poles length along the track” toward the oncoming train in hopes of warning about the danger ahead.

Smith was unable to stop the train from hitting the car, but received the railroad’s “Honor Safety” award for her actions that saved Reeves’ life.

1951: Parents at Clovis’ Lincoln-Jackson school had written Gov. Edwin Mechem asking for the firing of school Principal T.C. Martin.

The parents had signed a petition claiming their children were not receiving an adequate educational background.

But Clovis schools Superintendent R.E. Marshall defended Martin, saying “only a few families were stirring up the trouble,” the Clovis News-Journal reported.

Clovis’ school board had heard testimony and decided to retain Martin, who had already signed a contract for the next school year.

Marshall said two new teachers were also hired for Clovis’ all-black school “to lighten the burden on teachers there.”

Martin had been in the news during the school year, testifying before the state Legislature against a bill that would have ended segregation across the state, CN-J reported.

May 24

On this date …

1971: Funeral services were planned for an 18-year-old freshman attending Eastern New Mexico University. Debra Ann Eubanks of Las Vegas, New Mexico, was killed after the car in which she was a passenger rolled over on U.S. 70 south of Clovis.

Officials said Eubanks was thrown from the 1955-model car when it overturned. No seat belts were installed in the vehicle.

Police said the driver was talking to someone in the back seat when the vehicle ran off the road. The driver overcorrected and braked, which resulted in the car overturning.

One other passenger, Susan Washington, 18, of Floyd was hospitalized with multiple lacerations to her arms and legs.

1966: Graduation ceremonies were scheduled at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales with 50 of the 328 candidates receiving graduate degrees.

Samuel E. Braden, vice president and dean for undergraduate development at the University of Indiana, was the scheduled commencement speaker.

Bovina’s Jerry Francis Rigdon was scheduled to graduate summa cum laude — with highest honors — in mathematics.

1951: The U.S.A. Cafe at 122 W. Grand Ave. in Clovis was closed following an overnight fire.

Officials said a grease fire in the kitchen was responsible for damages.

May 22

On this date …

1961: Cannon Air Force Base officials said 10,523 people passed through their gates a day earlier for a “display of might” by various branches of the armed forces.

The Clovis-News Journal reported the highlight of the 90-minute show came “when a sleek F-104 Starfighter careened across the sky at supersonic speed, breaking the sound barrier as it passed over the crowd.”

The F-104 was sometimes called a “missile with a man in it,” according to the newspaper.

1946: Jimmy Dale McLean, 2, who lived at Box 841 on the Portales highway, was recovering after being run over by his father’s car.

Officials said the boy suffered a fractured pelvis, scratches and bruises after being knocked down by the family vehicle as it backed out of the driveway.

Tire marks were “plainly visible on the flesh” but a doctor said he did not think the wheel had passed completely over the child’s body, the Clovis News-Journal reported.

1941: Law officers across eastern New Mexico and west Texas were patrolling highways in search of a lone bandit who robbed the First National Bank in Levelland, Texas.

The man got away with $20,533, officials said, locking employees in the bank’s vault.

Witnesses said the robber had two pistols and escaped in a Ford pickup.

A nearby farmer’s son confessed to the robbery a few days later and all but $78 was found, most of it buried under a seed bin on his family’s property.

May 21

On this date …

1976: A U.S. District Court jury in Albuquerque convicted four men on conspiracy charges involving a scheme to transport stolen luxury cars from Pages-pastNew Mexico to California.

Two eastern New Mexico men were among those convicted and facing up to five years in prison.

The trial lasted two weeks. The jury deliberated about two hours before reaching its decision.

1971: Clovis school officials were in the process of phasing out Eugene Field Elementary School, which was to be used by Clovis Community College in the fall.

Lockwood Elementary Librarian Alexa Pickel was pictured on the front page of the Clovis News-Journal sorting through 3,500 books that would be redistributed from Eugene Field to Lockwood and other schools in Clovis’ system.

1941: Clovis Mayor E.E. Kraus had declared June 3-4 as the annual Clovis Pioneer Days Celebration.

A proclamation read in part:

“… (I)t is the duty of each and every citizen of our community to enter into the spirit of this Celebration and give it proper recognition.”

May 20

On this date …

1966: Clovis city officials were debating whether businesses operated out of individual homes in residential zones should be closed.

City Attorney Harry Patton told city commissioners that anyone operating a business in a residential-only zone was violating the law.

Mayor Ted Waldhauser said he had no interest in running anyone out of business, even if they were operating beauty shops and sewing shops, for example, out of their homes.

“I can’t help but admire people that would rather work than go to welfare,” Waldhauser said.

Commissioners agreed to take no action on the issue, but to discuss it again later after they “study the matter,” the Clovis News-Journal reported.

1956: Professional baseball in Clovis was coming to an end.

Attendance at home games was sparse and the Southwestern League was threatening to take over the franchise if ticket sales did not increase.

But the team offered little incentive for paying customers, finishing the year 45-95, in last place, 44 games behind Hobbs in the 10-team league.

Clovis returned to the Southwestern League in 1957, but disbanded about halfway through the year, ending a 34-year run of professional baseball in the city.

1946: Prices of new cars, already on the rise because of recent wage increases, were expected to go up more due to higher costs for steel and parts.

The Associated Press reported new-car prices could be expected to increase 4 or 5 percent. A $1,200 car would soon cost $1,260.

The cost of steel had gone up $5 per ton in February after the industry raised wages 18 cents an hour to settle a strike, AP reported.

Auto dealer profits were not expected to increase with the higher price of cars, AP reported.

May 19

On this date …

1976: Funding and instructors were in place; the only thing holding up the start of a DWI school in eastern New Mexico was lack of students.

Michael McGinnis, designated to head the school in Clovis, said students had to come from courts that made DWI school a condition of retaining a driver’s license.

After completion of the course, convictions would be dismissed. Magistrate Judge Jesse Porter of Portales said he opposed dismissals and that was one reason he had not sentenced anyone to take the course.

1971: Burglars ripped open a skylight above Town and Country Men’s Store at 308 Main in Clovis and stole about $10,000 worth of clothes.

Officials said a security patrolman chased suspects from the scene.

Clovis Police Detective Lance Somers said the burglars probably used a tire tool to pry open the skylight.

Clothes were scattered throughout the floor of the building and fiberglass insulation hung from the ceiling. Police said a cash drawer that had contained $50 was empty.

Store owner Homer Tankersley was out of town when the burglars hit.

1966: Native American dancers from four tribes were scheduled to perform at Greyhound Stadium.

Admission was $1 for adults and 50 cents for children.

The gathering’s guest of honor was to be Annie Wauneka, recipient of the highest civilian peacetime award in the nation. A member of the Navajo Tribal Council, Wauneka had been nominated by President Kennedy to receive the Presidential Medal for her efforts to improve living conditions among the Navajo.

May 18

On this date …

1966: A motorbike belonging to Clovis’ Guy Yarborough was found in Fort Sumner.

The bike had been stolen from Marshall Junior High, officials said.

Two juveniles were being held in connection with the theft.

1961: Several practice bombs had recently been accidentally released by F-100s in the vicinity of Cannon Air Force Base, officials reported.

The bombs would likely be located in remote areas, and most probably exploded when they hit the ground, but military officials urged caution.

Anyone finding an unexploded bomb was asked to notify local law enforcement.

1946: About 150 area residents attended a breakfast at Hotel Clovis to honor New Mexico Gov. John Dempsey.

The governor was in Clovis, and touring eastern New Mexico, in connection with his campaign for a U.S. Senate seat.

Dempsey was unsuccessful in his Senate bid, but was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1950 and served as a congressman until his death in 1958.

May 17

On this date …

1971: A nationwide Brotherhood of Railway Signalmen union railroad strike had failed to halt freight services in Clovis.

Picket lines sprang up at Clovis’ Santa Fe rail yards at 6 a.m., and railroad officials said 500 to 700 local workers were involved.

The railroad continued to move freight with “supervisory personnel,” said Santa Fe District Superintendent Bill Brack.

About 12,000 workers had gone on strike nationally, seeking higher wages.

The union was asking for a 51 percent wage increase over 36 months; the railroad was offering a 42 percent increase over 42 months.

After two days, President Nixon ended the strike, ordering union members back to work with an immediate pay increase of 13.5 percent.

The union promised another strike would follow if ongoing negotiations did not produce satisfactory results.

1956: The show must go on, according to 13-year-old Jimmy Wilkins of Center school.

The lead actor in the school play, Wilkins had fallen and broken his left arm in two places. The arm was placed in a cast, but Wilkins vowed to perform anyway.

“The play will go on as scheduled with a one-armed hero,” the Clovis News-Journal reported.

1951: It rained. Again.

Previously parched eastern New Mexico received rain for the third consecutive day, more than 2.5 inches overall in some areas.

“The three days of drought-breaking rain were greatly welcomed by jubilant farmers … The rainy spell was hailed as a ‘million-dollar rain’ because it came at a time when crops were beginning to suffer and when spring planting was being delayed because of powder-dry soil,” the Clovis News-Journal reported.

May 15

On this date …

1956: A Ninth District Court jury found two men innocent of providing alcohol to a 15-year-old girl.

Testimony showed the girl had passed out from drunkenness at a west-side Clovis skating rink.

The girl testified the men had given her a Coke to drink and that the men had whiskey, but she could not say whether the Coke had whiskey in it.

Both men said they only gave the girl Coke in a cup.

1951: The year’s first “real rainstorm” had dumped more than an inch of moisture across the region, the Clovis News-Journal reported.

Portales saw 1.3 inches, almost doubling its total for the year.

Clovis had 1.2 inches.

Grady received rain, but also hail, which caused crop damage.

The Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Co. reported hundreds of customers were without service because of heavy rain and high winds.

1946: The Christian Science Reading Room, at 105 W. Fourth in Clovis, was open daily from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. except Sundays and holidays.

The First Church of Christ Scientist was inviting the public, and especially service men, to use the reading room “where the Bible, and all authorized Christian Science literature may be read, borrowed or purchased.”