Community pays tribute to late educator

By Tony Parra

Members from the community watched as city and county officials dedicated an aristocrat pear tree in memory of Russell Knudson on Tuesday morning in the Roosevelt County Courthouse lawn.
The crowd gathered around the south part of the Roosevelt County Courthouse for the dedication of a tree, which is a cousin of the Bradford trees planted on the lawns of the Roosevelt County Courthouse parking lot.
“He loved trees and seeing them in the downtown area,” Stephen Doerr said. “He was like a tree by being strong, firm and upright. He was there whenever you needed help. His roots are in Portales. He was proud to call Portales home.”
Doerr went on to say Knudson loved children and was instrumental in the creation of a recreation center in Portales. Doerr said he was on the recreation committee.
According to Doerr, Knudson went to law school at the University of San Francisco and wanted to practice law with his children. Randy Knudson, Russell Knudson’s son, went to law school at the University of New Mexico and now works as an attorney for the Doerr/Knudson Attorney law firm.
“This is a perfect place for (the tree),” Randy Knudson said. “He served on the county’s labor department and the commissioners were gracious enough to support it. He had a good heart and was an honest man.”
City councilor Ron Jackson spoke about what Russell meant to him and talked about the times they spent on the recreation board. Jackson said Russell Knudson was at every Portales sporting event, supporting the children of the community. Jackson said Russell Knudson told him the key in making good decisions was to listen, listen and listen.
“You don’t know how much this means to me and my family,” Randy Knudson said. “This means so much to us. I want to thank the county and everyone at the city.”
Joseph Bautista, who conducts landscaping projects for the county on the courthouse property, said the tree branches will extend out to 15 to 25 feet wide and 35 to 45 feet in length.
“It’s a really nice tree and quiet a tribute,” Wilma Knudson, Russell Knudson’s wife, said. “It’s really hard to lose your best friend. He did love nature and planted trees.”