Schlenker has a kind heart for kids

This is the first in a series of profiles on 2003 Pioneer of the Year candidates.
J.R. “Chick” Schlenker’s daughter, Patsy Neely, described her father as a true example of what a good person should be.
“He is a man of high integrity and high moral standards of living and helps mankind,” Neely explained.
Schlenker and his wife Maureen moved to Portales in 1940, making their home southwest of town. According to Schlenker, they bought 480 acres and devoted a big portion of their lives to agriculture.
Some of Schlenker’s best memories are his years serving as an assistant county agent in 1944 and working with 4-H youngsters. He said during World War II there was no county fair in Portales .
“We couldn’t use the fairgrounds for a fair that year because Italian prisoners of war were being kept there,” he said. “I went around to all the families in the county and got to know everyone. Then, I took all those 4-H kids to the Albuquerque fair grounds to hold our fair.”
For many years, Schlenker worked with both the Portales Future Farmers of America and the Eastern New Mexico University agriculture students by allowing them, under his supervision, to use his livestock for learning things such as judging and animal care.
Schlenker had other interests and abilities as well. One of those included windmills.
“From the time I first climbed up a windmill to grease it, I’ve been fascinated by them,” he said. “They make noise, too.”
Schlenker came up with a better plan. “I’ve built a little windmill that doesn’t make noise,” he noted.
Since that time, Schlenker has patented the Schlenker Wind Turbine.
Another important event in the 94-year-old’s life, was the operation of Lollipop Playschool, owned and operated by him and his wife, Maureen.
Neely said her father sold whole milk from the dairy to students on credit.
“Many struggling ENMU students were allowed to charge their milk until they were able to pay. Dad even let them keep track of their charges and pay whatever they could. Once he received a check four years after a couple graduated, along with a thank you note. This is just an example of his kindness,” Schlenker’s daughter remarked.
In 1962, Schlenker was named “Farmer of the Year.” For 63 years, Schlenker has been a member of the Church of Christ church.
Schlenker has three children, Johnny, JoDay and Patsy. He has eight grandchildren and a multitude of great-grandchildren.
Information provided by Anna Foster of the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce.