Pioneer Profiles

Maurine Ferris Kennedy

When 93-year-old Maureen Ferris Kennedy and her first husband, Fred Ferris, moved to Roosevelt County in 1936, she was very much against the move.
“I didn’t want to come at all,” she said. But her mind quickly changed when they attended church. “My husband and I sang at the church and they took us right in and we were as happy as could be,” she exclaimed.
Maureen and Fred made their home near Causey and settled into a happy life, she said.
“Oh yes, I helped Fred farm. The boys, Delman and Weldon did too, when they got older,” she said. “I also canned just about everything and did some sewing.”
But these things were not nearly all the things Maurine did. When she and Fred first moved to Causey, she cooked at the Causey school cafeteria for more than a year.
“After a while, I decided I just as well go to school and teach,” said Kennedy, who earned a Bachelor’s degree in 1957 and a Master’s in 1968, both from Eastern New Mexico University.
Kennedy said before she arrived in New Mexico, she had taught school four years in Lynn County, Texas. After she completed school, she taught 21 years at Causey Elementary. She also drove a school bus for 20 of those 21 years of teaching.
When Causey schools consolidated with Dora, Kennedy retired from teaching at 62. “That wasn’t the reason though,” she explained. “My sons wanted me to retired while I was still in good health and could travel.”
Kennedy’s husband Fred died in 1965. “After that, I did my traveling alone. I drove to Houston to see my sister, to Morgan City, Louisiana, to Denver and to Shawnee,” she noted.
In 1980, Kennedy married Hollis B. Kennedy, who was also a farmer. The couple moved to Portales 11 years ago. However, Maureen was left alone once again with Hollis’ death in 1994.
Despite hard work and hard times, Kennedy has found great joy in her life, through work and family.
Her son, Delman Ferris retired from the Clovis School system after 36 years, and Weldon is a registered nurse in a veteran’s hospital.
Kennedy also boasts of her 10 grandchildren, four great-grandsons and nine great-granddaughters.
Kennedy admitted her secret to living a long life: “I always thought it was because I worked hard. I stayed in good physical condition. I always ran on the playground with my students and my family and I always worked on the farm together — all of us worked.”
Kennedy’s love for her home in Roosevelt County is apparent.
“I’ve been as happy as can be,” she said. “The years have been good to me. And my kids have always been so good to me. They come regularly to check on me and be sure everything is all right.”