Ruth “Elaine” Boswell Pogue was born in De Leon, Texas in 1924 to Mary Caroline St. Clair Boswell and Rudolphus Cleveland Boswell. The Boswell children, four boys and two girls, grew up in a home filled with love and generosity. These qualities flowed both from her father, a schoolteacher and master carpenter, and from her mother, whose giving heart was a blessing not only to her children but also the homeless travelers who often passed through town during the Depression years. After graduating from high school at 16, Elaine was hired as secretary for the Southwestern Peanut Growers Association where she worked as personal assistant to businessman John Burroughs, who later served as the 18th Governor of New Mexico. In 1944, Elaine caught a train to Willard, New Mexico to work for the Civil Aeronautics and Aviation Administration—now the Federal Aviation Agency. There, she excelled as a weatherman and air traffic controller at Otto Intermediate Landing Field 73A. This was an emergency landing strip, air traffic control station and weather station located between Moriarty and Stanley. As the war wound down, she began dating Bill Pogue, a B-17 bomber pilot and Willard native, whose mother had built a motel in nearby Moriarty (the Yucca Motel). They were married in 1947. When she married, she resigned her position at Otto Airfield and husband, Bill took the position. With Bill working “mids” (midnight to eight) and Elaine raising two boys, they built their first home next to what today is the historic Whiting Brothers gas station in Moriarty. In 1955, Elaine and Bill sold their home and property to the Whiting family and bought the adjacent property, located on booming Route 66. On this lot they built the Sunset Motel, doing virtually all of the labor themselves. They opened the first two units in 1959 and completed the 18th room in 1969. During this time they also were raising two sons, Bill and Mike, who both graduated from Moriarty High School. Elaine’s beloved husband, Bill, passed away in 1974. Soon afterward Elaine sold the motel to her son Mike and enrolled in paralegal college at the University of New Mexico. Afterward, she and fellow “Otto Girl,” Squirt Garrett, opened a fabric shop, The Village Workshop, locate in the old Seal and Grace Howe Café. Elaine ran for mayor of Moriarty in 1978 and won, becoming the first woman to hold the office. She served until 1986. In 2002 she moved back to be with her brothers and sisters in Central Texas. Elaine returned to her “Land of Enchantment” in 2010, living at the Atria Vista del Rio Assisted Living Home in Albuquerque, where she lived until her passing. Elaine loved New Mexico, her community and friends. We who were part of her life have learned many valuable lessons from her during her 91 years. Among these: A rich inner life will never result in a puny outer life. Elaine loved the joy of life and loved to share this joy with everyone she made contact with. Many lives have been blessed by the positive and inspiring lessons Elaine loved to share. She never met a stranger. She loved to reach out and be a good friend to everyone she encountered. She leaves a legacy of being a wonderful friend and advocate for all who knew her and to her community at large. She will be missed by many. In lieu of flowers, Elaine would wish that you do some unexpected and unsolicited act of kindness in whatever way you feel is appropriate. Please hold her close in your mind and in your spirit. Elaine is survived by son, Bill Pogue and wife DeDee of La Plata; Bill’s son Erik, his wife Lisa and children Kaitlin, Justin and Jordan; his younger son Jeremy, his wife Lucinda and children Aspen and Haley; Elaine’s son Mike and wife Debbie continue to own and operate the Sunset Motel and they have one son, Mac. Elaine’s ashes will join those of her husband Bill in the Pecos River, a part of New Mexico that they loved so much. A memorial service where we will gather to celebrate a life lived well will be held for “Lane” at Crossley Park in Moriarty at 11 a.m. on May 28. A follow-up service will be held in Central Texas later this summer for her Texas friends. A blog site has been created. www.ilovedelainepogue.blogspot.com where friends can go to share stories and pictures of her amazing life.
Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at email@example.com.