Bruce King Age 85, of Stanley, NM, passed away on Friday, November 13, 2009, at his ranch surrounded by his loving family. New Mexico's longest serving Governor, Bruce King was born to Mollie and William King near Stanley, NM on April 6, 1924. He graduated from Stanley High School, attended the University of New Mexico, and began his lifelong commitment to public service with service to his country in the U.S. Army during World War II. On returning to Moriarty, he met and married his lifelong partner, Alice Marie Martin King on June 1, 1947 at the Baptist Church in Moriarty, NM. He is survived by two sons, Bill and Gary; four grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren. Having enjoyed playing football at the University of New Mexico, Bruce continued as an avid supporter of high school sports and stalked the sidelines of Moriarty Pinto football games for his sons with such a gusto that he was often mistaken as the coach. He and his two brothers, Sam and Don, built their family homestead into one of the most successful farming and ranching operations in New Mexico. Bruce was dedicated to serving his community and New Mexico. Bruce's life in politics began in the early 1950's when he worked on Senator Dennis Chavez's campaign. In 1954, Bruce was elected to the Santa Fe County Commission. After two terms on the commission, Bruce ran for the New Mexico House of Representatives and was elected to the first of his five terms. In 1963, he was selected to the first of three terms as Speaker of the House, a job he always described as one of his favorites. Following his service in the Legislature, he was elected to the State's second Constitutional Convention and was chosen to serve as the President of the Convention. In 1970, Bruce was elected to his first term as NM Governor. Prevented from serving consecutive terms by the NM Constitution, Bruce ran and was elected for Governor twice more, in 1978 and 1990. Bruce did much to improve and modernize NM government including: creation of a professional personnel system, equalization of funding for education statewide, creation of the Severance Tax Permanent fund, creation of the environment department, and bringing all services for children and families under the direction of a single cabinet agency. His lifetime in politics is detailed in his book "Cowboy in the Roundhouse". His legacy also includes the appointment of many honest and capable judges in NM. Bruce served his community in other ways, including: the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, Wichita Farm Credit Bank Board, Sunwest Bank Board, and the Four Corners Regional Commission. He was active in the Boy Scouts of America, a 4-H and FFA leader, a member of the Farm Bureau and NM Cattlegrowers Association, VFW, and an honorary life member of the Moriarty Rotary Club. Bruce was Chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party and Vice-Chair of the National Governor's Association. Bruce is preceded in death by his parents; and granddaughter, Caitlyn King; and his beloved wife, Alice. He is survived by his two sons, Bill King of Stanley, NM and Gary King and his wife, Yolanda of Moriarty, NM; brothers, Sam King and his wife, Che Sun Kim of Stanley, NM, Don King and his wife Dorothy of Stanley, NM; sister, Leota Brooks and her husband Jack of Libby, MT; grandchildren: Becky and Tom Spindle, Jenny and Josh Caldes, Stacy King and Eric, and Cameron Anderson; and eight great grandchildren. Former Governor Bruce King will lie in state at the NM State Capitol on Friday, November 20, 2009, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Funeral Service will be on Saturday, November 21, 2009, at the Moriarty High School Gymnasium at 10 a.m. with Reverend Dr. Russell C. Lee, Lutheran Pastor officiating. Burial will follow at the Stanley Cemetery. Pallbearers will be: David King, Sam King, Jerry King, Kenneth Lloyd Martin, Robert Glen Repass, Tom Spindle, Josh Caldes, and Eric Anderson. Honorary Pallbearers will be: Becky Spindle, Jenny Caldes, and Stacy King. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to the New Mexico Children's Foundation. Arrangements entrusted to: Harris-Hanlon Mortuary "Our Family Serving Your Family" 505-832-6130 www.Harris-HanlonMortuary.com
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Published by Santa Fe New Mexican from Nov. 18 to Nov. 20, 2009.