This is the final in a series of profiles on Roosevelt County’s 2003 Pioneer of the Year candidates.
Born on the fourth of July in 1915, Lucille Martin Cooper initially called home Celina, Texas. At the age of 12, she moved with her parents, Amye and Sam Martin, and two brothers to Clayton, N.M.
She graduated Clayton High School in 1933, then attended Edmondson School of Business in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Her family moved to Portales in 1936, and in August 1937, she married Lewis Cooper, a lifetime rancher in Kenna.
“I had never been on a ranch before I married Lewis,” Cooper said. “I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I learned to like it. I was never a cowgirl, but I cooked for all the cowboys.”
The couple had two daughters, Jenny (Clemmons) and Jackie (Ingle).
During World War II Lucille was a volunteer plane spotter at a military base out of El Paso.
She taught expression (speech and acting) to youngsters and directed plays at the Kenna Community Center.
Cooper was also active in the Elida, Portales and New Mexico Federation of Women’s Clubs, serving as state president and on the board for 12 years. She served four years on the General Federation of Women’s Clubs Board in Washington, D.C., and attended a President Richard Nixon’s Prayer Breakfast.
For her hard work and involvement, two governors named her honorary Colonel Aide-De-Camp on the staff of the Governor of New Mexico.
In 1971 her husband died in a car accident; three years later Lucille moved from Kenna to Portales.
Widowed for 16 years, Cooper decided to remarry a friend and neighbor, Stanley Good of Kenna. After two years of marriage, Good became ill and passed away.
For Lucille, Kenna has changed over the years.
“What is now the Community Center was once the school. There was a hotel, lumber yard, post office, gas station and general store,” she said.
Cooper has been involved with the following: the Baptist State Board; Chi Omega Sorority; the University Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Commerce; the Symphony League Board of Eastern New Mexico University; and a regent of the Daughters of American Revolution.
In the early 1970s, Gov. Jerry Apodaca appointed her to the Old Lincoln County Historical Commission.
Members of the Golden Circle Sunday school at the First Baptist Church of Portales nominated Cooper for Pioneer. Sunday school teacher Juanita Jones said, “Lucille always has a smile, a devotional thought and something fun to read each Sunday…”
A 22 year veteran of the church choir, Lucille is part of a group of senior citizens touring nursing homes and entertaining at special events.
Traveling is one her greatest joys: she’s traveled to Europe and taken three cruises. Her favorite place: Amsterdam.
Cooper’s hobby is watching basketball, the Texas Tech. Lady Raiders and Oklahoma University, where her grandson, Nathan Erdmann, played before turning professional.
Other than Erdmann, Cooper has three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
“I enjoy my church and club work, playing bridge, visiting with friends and neighbors and being involved with my children and grandchildren’s activities,” Cooper said. “Roosevelt County has been a wonderful place to live and raise my family.”
Information provided by Anna Foster of the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce.