|Death: ||Dec. 20, 2007|
Samuel Thomas "Tom" Ansley, 98, a longtime Mora County and former Las Vegas resident, died Thursday, Dec. 20, at his home in Santa Fe with his wife and youngest daughter at his side.
A rosary will be recited at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Gertrude's Catholic Church in Mora, with the Mass of Christian Burial to follow. Burial will be in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Las Vegas, N.M.
He is survived by his wife, Emerita, of the home; his daughters, Susan Brown (H.B.) of Abilene, Texas; Dorothy Wilbanks of Las Vegas, Nev.; Inez Russell (David Gomez) of Santa Fe; a son, Ken Russell (Vanessa) of Lubbock, Texas; and a sister, Mary Ansley Wardell of Houston. He also is survived by 10 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.
The son of Samuel Ansley and Lowes Curtis, Ansley grew up in West Texas and in the mountains around Cimarron. His family homesteaded in Mills, near where his mother was raised. He spent his boyhood riding the hills of the Valle Vidal, working on the farm and traveling to Taos Pueblo on trading trips with his grandfather, Zenas Curtis, who managed the famed Chase Ranch and patented his invention for the trailer hitch. The young boy was close to both his Grandma and Grandpa Curtis, who were known to all in Northern New Mexico as "Ma" and "Pa" Curtis.
As a young man, like so many of his generation, he left school after eighth grade to help his family during the Depression. Done with formal education, but never with learning, Ansley became an apprentice electrician. As a teen-ager, he and a few brave men formed a union in Lubbock to win better wages and working conditions. He was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers from that day forward, winning his 80-year union pin.
As an electrician, he descended into the depths of Carlsbad Caverns to help bring light to the underground. He also worked during World War II on electrical jobs in Los Alamos and at other military sites. He wired Texas Tech University's first building, and finished his career on the then-state-of-the-art remodeling of the college's sports arena in the late 1970s. His career also included running an electrical supply business in Albuquerque, farming peanuts in Lovington and growing wheat in Missouri.
But he retained his love for Northern New Mexico and returned to the Las Vegas area for several years before returning to work again as an electrician in Lubbock. His former ranch became part of the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge.
After their children were finished with high school, he and his wife retired to Mora County, where they lived for almost 30 years in La Cebollita at the ranch home they built themselves.
Other survivors include his sister-in-law, Thelma (Wilfred) Mares of Las Vegas, N.M., and her children, Mark, Louisa and Cris; his brother-in-law, Roger (Julia) Wallace of Jemez Springs and his children, Sandra and Rochelle; and nephews, David, Ted, Michael, Billy and Henry Maestas, and niece, Cassandra Maestas Duran, the children of his late sister-in-law, Rita Maestas (Max). He was preceded in death by his parents, Sam and Lowes Ansley; his brothers-in-law, Richard Wardell and Alfred Wallace; and his son-in-law, John Wilbanks.
Memorials may be made to the New Mexico Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association or to the Hospice Center of Santa Fe.
Arrangements are being handled by Santa Fe Funeral Options (989-7032).
Mount Calvary Cemetery
San Miguel County
New Mexico, USA
Created by: Kenneth D. Bogard
Record added: Dec 28, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 23598410