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Imogene Lindsay

1920 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Imogene Lindsay Obituary
Lindsay, Imogene

Imogene "Gene" Lindsay, longtime member of the liberal community and civil libertarian, died peacefully on Sunday at her home in Albuquerque surrounded by family. She was 95.

Imogene was born the first of four children into a family of modest means on a tenant farm in northeast Texas on August 3, 1920. As a child she witnessed first-hand the impact of the great depression, experienced the chilling influence of the KKK, and heard rumors of the Clyde Barrow gang. As a young woman she lost her first husband at the Battle of Iwo Jima in the last months of World War II. In 1949, she became one of the first women graduates of the business school at the University of Texas in Austin.

She and Bert Lindsay married in 1950, settled in Austin and started a family. Ms. Lindsay was a charter member and the president of a parents' cooperative inter-racial nursery school associated with the University of Texas, and became active in the group of Democratic Party dissidents led by U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough.

Sandia Laboratories recruited Bert Lindsay in 1957 and the family moved from Austin to Albuquerque . The Lindsays quickly became anchors of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party in New Mexico, and remained so for close to five decades. Along with others, they formed the "Grass Roots," a liberal caucus of the New Mexico Democratic Party, which broke with the party establishment over U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Ms. Lindsay was a gifted hostess, and for many years, the Lindsay family house and verdant backyard with its homemade "clay " tennis court served not only as the venue of choice for neighborhood kids and weekend tennis matches, but for larger gatherings to socialize and raise money for both progressive political and non- political causes. It became an almost mandatory stop for liberal Democratic candidates on the campaign trail in New Mexico. Ms. Lindsay herself ran for the state legislature in 1964, but was defeated in her heavily Republican district. As progressives around the country pushed for reapportionment of state legislatures, Ms. Lindsay filed a successful class action lawsuit to reapportion the New Mexico State Senate.

Ms. Lindsay began a long career with the Unemployment Insurance Division of the New Mexico Department of Labor in 1971, starting as an entry level intake worker, then rising through the ranks to Bureau Chief in 1980. In 1984, she was appointed as Secretary of Labor by Governor Tony Anaya, a position she held until her retirement in 1986.

Upon retirement, she threw her considerable organizing skills into her other passions. A committed and longtime supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union, she served for many years on the Executive Committee of the Board of the New Mexico chapter and then served as New Mexico's representative to the national organization from 1995 until 2003. She was instrumental in helping to establish, and then lobbied tirelessly to fund the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. She served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1991 until 1998, and as president of the Board for several of those years. In 2009, the museum named the Cretaceous Hall after the Lindsays, in recognition of Ms. Lindsay's successful lobbying efforts on behalf of the museum.

She and her husband were also founding members in 1977 of the New Mexico Chapter of the Friendship Force, an organization dedicated to international understanding and cooperation fostered by short cultural exchanges between citizens of various countries.

Ms. Lindsay is survived by her son, Larry and spouse Carla of Philadelphia and son Wayne and spouse Rachel of Albuquerque, and her two grandchildren, Gabriella, and Philip. She will be missed. She is preceded in death by her husband, Bert in 2004, and by a son, Philip, who died in an automobile accident in 1969.

The family plans a memorial service for the last week in April, at a time and place to be announced. Anyone interested should contact the Lindsay family at 505-299-7454. It was Imogene Lindsay's desire that any donations contemplated in her name be made either to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Foundation or to the New Mexico Civil Liberties Foundation.
Published in Albuquerque Journal on Mar. 30, 2016
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