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CLOTA MARIE FERGUSON BALLEAU

CLOTA MARIE FERGUSON BALLEAU Clota Marie Ferguson was born October 8, 1911 in the days before New Mexico statehood and died in Santa Fe, on November 8, 2012 during the State's centennial year. Her parents were James Franklin and Willis Dorothy Ferguson, who raised Clota as the eldest of six children in their ranching family, north of Cuervo. Clota spent her childhood on horseback among the cedar breaks of the Canadian River in northeastern Guadalupe County. Clota headed a family of 54 descendants, including her children: Lee James, George, Dorothy, Pete and Bob through to a child in the 6th generation. Clota was twice widowed. Her first love, Lee James Norman, died in a tragic car crash in 1932. Clota married Walter George Balleau, who was a cowboy on her father's place, in 1934. Despite the depth of the great economic depression, she thought it a wonderful year. As a seven-year old, Clota assisted in the care of 40 invalids in the influenza epidemic of 1918. All survived. Her first job was as a Harvey Girl in 1927 in Tucumcari. She was a crack shot with her favorite 22/410 rifle and shotgun, but would not waste powder on rattlesnakes which she handled with a garden hoe. She asserted that she never knew a true cowboy who was ever bitten by a rattlesnake. In 1952, as part of husband Walter's work, Clota took four children aged 2 to 15, by herself in a passage to India via an Atlantic crossing through Gibraltar and Suez to Bombay, proving her spirit of adventure. She undertook every opportunity to visit India's cultural sites, including hiking and hunting in the Himalayas. Three years later, Clota, Walter, and their children moved to Haiti for another water project. Clota and her children made the strenuous mountain climb to the Citadel of Henri Christophe. Clota began her custom of capturing sunsets on film, in pursuit of the perfect composition. The next project took them to Thailand in 1961. Clota was a natural horsewoman, and a horse was part of the household in most places she lived. After four years in Thailand, Clota and Walter took off again, this time to Venezuela where Clota embraced the environs of Lake Maricaibo. Clota and Walter continued traveling and working around the world. They spent time in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, where Clota enjoyed the gardens, fishing villages, and Scots-Gaelic music of her ancestors. In 1970, they went to Botswana, South Africa. Clota described Africa as the favorite destination of her travels. She took daily bicycle rides accompanied only by her protective Malamute through the savanna for viewing wildlife, landscape, and sunsets. After 25 years of living and working around the world, Clota and Walter settled in Albuquerque's North Valley. They received 100 guests at their 50th wedding anniversary in 1984, in their beloved Land of Enchantment. Some cowboy poetry from that day reads: Living up on the high caprock was the daughter of Willie and Jim, when the cowboy from McDonald's place asked if she would dance with him. Jim's daughter Coe out in New Mexico knew what she wanted to say As the brave cowboy, who now worked for her dad, raked up all that he had and asked in his very own way. "Its 1934, there's no jobs anymore, and no prospect of recovery. The cattle are dead in the snow and its 20 below, I don't suppose you'ld want to marry me" That's the way it started not so long ago, The (80) year old story of Walt and pretty Coe. Widowed in 1987, Clota built a house on two acres in Bosque Farms, where she enjoyed family and church activities. She stayed fit by walking daily along the picturesque ditch banks of the local acequias. At age 96 she moved to Santa Fe, where she remained well and active for the next five years. Clota received a certificate of recognition from Governor Martinez for her over 100 years as a daughter of New Mexico. Clota, faithful to the Church of Christ, was widely recognized as an authoritative student of the Bible and as an example of Christian virtue in practice. She helped bring great advances in health and nutrition to populations in water-short areas of the developing world. Clota is remembered as the devoted, wise, and loving matriarch of her family. Her friends from around the world celebrate the rich legacy of her contribution to us individually and to the well-being of the world across two centuries. Clota is to be buried beside her mother, a pioneer woman of New Mexico, at Sandia Memory Gardens, Tuesday November 13 at 2 p.m.


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