Carlsbad, NM - Former New Mexico Senator and Western Commerce Bank CEO, Don Kidd, 82, passed away peacefully in his Carlsbad home on Thursday, August 27, 2020. A Graveside service will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at Carlsbad Cemetery (new section), with Rev. Dan Boyd of First United Methodist Church officiating. Masonic Funeral Rites will be provided by Eddy Lodge #21 AF&AM. No visitation is planned.
Don will be remembered for seeing every experience in life as a learning opportunity. His enduring work ethic, as well as a deep respect for education, led to his many accomplishments in finance and as a philanthropist and statesman.
Melvin Don Kidd was born on October 10, 1937, in Crowell, Texas, to Ewing Wilson Kidd and Joan (Solomon) Kidd. He had an older sibling, E.W., and a younger brother, Joe.
At the age of 10, Don began working weekends at Stovall's Grocery Store from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. for $3.50 a day. His career continued at the drug store, the movie theater and then McLain's Grocery Store, while working summers with his father as a housepainter, where he earned $1 an hour. Early in high school, Don would go to work at 6 a.m. and then return to the store when school concluded at 2 p.m. He dropped out of school his Junior year to focus on work, and he even lived on his own for a time. He then returned to working with his dad in Wichita Falls, this time for $2 an hour.
Don always wanted to have a job where he wore a necktie, so he took a job with a small loan company, where he pursued defaulters on small loans across the seedier parts of Wichita Falls and then San Angelo. In San Angelo, Don met the love of his life, Sarrah. She accompanied him on one of his collection routes on their first date. They married in 1958 and had three children, Vickye Faulk, Renai Kidd and Sarah "Dion" Kidd-Johnson; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Don joined Pioneer Finance, where he handled larger loans, and then the Southwest Investment Company, first as a loan manager and then as the youngest branch manager in the company's history. SIC required a high school diploma, so Don obtained his GED and began taking classes at San Angelo College. He received his first Christmas bonus at SIC and vowed to provide the same at any bank where he was in management.
Don moved up through the ranks of finance again when he was hired as the assistant vice president and then the vice president and manager of the installment loan department of the Bank of Commerce in Abilene, a bank he helped salvage from deep debt. He enrolled at the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at SMU and later graduated from the program, Class of 72.
The Kipp-Rich Banking Group recruited Don to the Coronado Bank in El Paso, which ultimately saw Don and his family moving to Carlsbad in 1972, when Kipp-Rich acquired an interest in what would become Western Commerce Bank. He became the president and chief executive officer of Western Commerce Bank, while also serving on the board with several other Kipp-Rich banks in Alamogordo, Clovis, Las Cruces and El Paso.
After an early career of travelling across West and Central Texas, Don grew roots in Carlsbad. Under his careful watch, Western Commerce Bank became a major financial player in the region, while Don and his family thrived in Carlsbad. In 1985, Don was appointed to the Board of Regents at New Mexico State University, a six-year assignment he considered to be one of the best learning experiences of his life.
In 1992, Don ran as a Republican for New Mexico Senate District 34 and won a close election in what had been a Democratic stronghold. As a legislator, he was most proud of several of his financial bills, especially one that directed much of the income from New Mexico's lottery to a scholarship program. Hundreds of thousands of young men and women have received lottery scholarships since the program was enacted. He was also the co-author of New Mexico's law to protect citizens from predatory lending.
While Don served on numerous boards and professional organizations, he always remained dedicated to the field of education. In 1986, he and Sarrah established an NMSU Scholarship Fund. He has also been a strong supporter of the Carlsbad Literacy Program and established a literacy chair at New Mexico State University. He received an honorary doctorate from NMSU in 2006 and their Presidential Medallion in 2017. His list of accomplishments includes being one of the founding members and past chairmen of the Western States School of Banking at the University of New Mexico and serving as a board member of New Mexico Appleseed.
After Don was diagnosed with cancer, he began gradually transferring administration of Western Commerce's 10 full-service offices to his grandson and protegee, Jason Wyatt. Continuing with a lifelong devotion to the value of work that began back while stocking shelves at the grocery store in Crowell, Don kept regular weekly hours at the bank's Security Office on Canal Street.
He was preceded in death by his father, Ewing W. Kidd; mother, Joan (Solomon) Kidd; brother, E.W. Kidd; and son-in-law, Richard Johnson.
He is survived by his wife, Sarrah Kidd; three daughters, Vickye Faulk and her husband, David; Renai Kidd; and Sarah "Dion" Kidd-Johnson; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren are Tawnya Henry and her husband, Jon, and their children, Tayler and Tanner; Melissa (Missy) Arnold and her husband, Blake, and their child, Makayla; Drew Faulk; Jason Wyatt and his wife, Melanie, and their children, Chloe Dominguez and Jackson Moore; and Sarah Canberg and her husband, Kevin, and their child, Darcy. Don is also survived by his brother, Joe Kidd and wife, Sandy of Cape Cod, MA.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Don and Sarrah Kidd Scholarship Fund at the Carlsbad Foundation at 114 S. Canyon St., Carlsbad, NM, 88220 or online at www.carlsbadfoundation.org
. Services have been entrusted to West Funeral Home. Condolences may be expressed at westfuneralhomellc.com