Charles Hickman ("Sonny") Spears died June 9th at the Good Samaritan Health Care Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He was 92 years old.
Charles was born in Lovington, New Mexico on January 22, 1921. He was the only child of Charles B. Spears and Eula Stanbro Spears, who were some of the original homesteaders in Lea County, New Mexico. His mother died a few weeks after he was born. He grew up in Lea County and attended Prairieview School and schools in Lovington. After high school graduation he joined the United States Navy
. He was stationed in the Philippines at the start of World War II, where he participated in a battle there the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Charles served in the South Pacific until late in 1944. He was a gunner on a mine sweep/mine layer ship that later was used to haul barges of fuel into areas of battle. He returned to Lea County on leave in December of 1944 and married Bessie Dean Fort on Christmas Day of that year. They celebrated their 68th anniversary last Christmas.
For the first years of their marriage, Charles and Bess lived in New Hampshire, where he was stationed as a recruiter. Their oldest child, Charlotte, was born there. They returned to Lea County after Charles left the Navy and purchased a farm. Their second child, Priscilla, was born, and then Charles was recalled into the Navy from the Navy Reserves, and he was sent to Orange, Texas. After 18 months of active duty, he again returned to Lea County and farmed there until his retirement. Over the years he put food on many tables with his cattle and crops of alfalfa and small grains. In 2008, Charles and Bess moved to the Good Samaritan Society's Las Cruces Village, where Bess still lives.
Charles was appreciated for his warm, friendly disposition, his amusing story-telling, and his great sense of humor. He had many friends in all walks of life. He shared the delicious cantaloupe and watermelons from his garden with them each summer. In his later years, he took up woodworking and produced wooden chests on wheels and other furniture items. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, and having coffee with his friends.
Charles is survived by his wife, Bess, his daughter, Charlotte Tomlinson and her husband, Jim, of Hatch, New Mexico, and his daughter, Priscilla Spears and her husband Dan Bean of Corvallis, Oregon. He is survived by four grandchildren, Ronald Tomlinson, Jennifer Hamilton, Colin Bean, and Anne Bean, and by three great-grandchildren, Weston and Brynn Tomlinson, and Christopher Hamilton.
The family sends special thanks to the staff at Good Samaritan Health Care Center for their care of Charles during his last month.
There will be a memorial service for Charles in the chapel of Good Samaritan Village on June 20th at 2 p.m.
Arrangements by Getz Funeral Home 1410 E. Bowman Ave, Las Cruces New Mexico 88001. To sign the local online guest book visit www.GetzCares.com