Portales City Clerk: Knowledge is power

Compiled by Mike Jimenez: PNT Intern

Name: Joan Martinez-Terry

Age: 56

Hometown: Portales

Your family: Ray Terry (husband), Manuel, Joe, Gail (children) Jarek Ham and Bobby Terry (grandchildren)

Community Involvement: Member of Rosevelt County Democratic Women, Friends for Democracy

Q. What do you think of Portales?
A. “I think its a wonderful place to live and raise children. There are many wonderful, warm and caring people living in Portales. I like the small-town atmosphere and really want that for my children and grandchildren.”

Q. Tell us about your parents.
A. “My father, Modesto Martinez was kind, patient and loving parent. Great sense of humor with a great deal of faith and a very peaceful man. His code in life was to submit to the will of God. He accepted everything life gave him with humility and acceptance. He worked as a laborer most of his life. He retired from ENMU as a custodian.
“My mother, Rita Chacon Martinez was a firebrand personality who believed in justice. I remember as a child that she was a fighter for justice for those she saw as downtrodden. She didn’t have a lot of patience but was a fiery personality, which wasn’t always in step with dad’s peaceful nature. Her nature sometimes made for conflict.
“My parents died on May 9, 1989. They could not live apart and their illnesses dictated their separation. Dad died of a heart attack and mom from cancer. They died nine hours apart on the same day.

Q. How have your children influenced your life?
A. “I realized my mortality when my son was born. My other two children just confirmed that realization.
“I have tried to turn the management of my life over to God. He does a much better job. I am trying to follow my father’s example.”

Q. Tell us about your spouse.
A. “Ray Terry is my husband of 20 years now. He is quite ill now, and was a motorcycle enthusiast and a good, stable family man. He is a jack of all trades, having been a farmer and later a truck driver, carpenter, plumber, mechanic, weapons enthusiast, etc.
“He and I lived In Portales all our lives before we met. Lived never more than the length of the county apart and once even less than a block, but I guess we weren’t meant to know each other until late in our lives.
“I knew and was friends with his ex-wife, Linda. We are each other’s second marriage, which meant that we each brought our children with us into this marriage, along with the new modern-age extended family ties, and the associated blessings and challenges.”

Q. When you were a kid, what did you think you would be doing as an adult?
A. “Working. I just assumed that I would be a wife and mother, and work like the adult women models in my family.
“Later, still a kid, I wanted to be a secretary. I guess all of those have been realized.”

Q. Tell us about your first career.
A. “I had a full time job as a factory worker for eight years after graduating high school until I went back to school, ENMU and then the Clovis Campus before it became a community college. Then I came to work for the city of Portales in 1981. I have done a tiny bit of farm labor, worked as a cook’s helper, a single mom when my first marriage dissolved, was a student, a secretary and then city clerk and a caregiver for my parents and then my husband.”

Q. Tell us about a happy time.
A. “My son’s first year of life was a happy time. Then after marrying Ray Terry at the wise age of 42, he taught me how to ride a motorcycle. I was happy riding motorcycles.”

Q. Tell us about your job.
A. “Very demanding but new and exciting every day. I feel that I can make a difference in people’s lives. It’s not just about all that paper in my office. It’s about serving people the best way I can each day. My job as city clerk is all about communicating clearly with people.
“People are the most important part of this job. A priority for me is that I am responsible for regular municipal elections called by the council. I take minutes for city council meetings and some other city committee meetings and maintain records of formal actions by the council. I do human resources also.”

Q. What is your favorite smell.
A. “The smell of earth after a rainstorm.”

Q. What do you enjoy doing with your free time:
A. “What’s that? Oh, those few stolen minutes in a day. I like to read mystery or science fiction novels (or anything else). I crotchet. I wish I could say riding my motorcycle right now, but I had to sell it.”
Q. What is the best gift you have ever received.
A. “The best gift was that close to the end of my mother’s life, she told me that she was proud of me. We had many conflicts as I became an adult, so I never thought she felt like that. It’s a wonderful memory.”

Q. If you could go on an adventure, what would it entail?
A. “I would like to ride motorcycles across the countryside once more with my husband and children.”

Q. If money were no object, what would you do to make the world a better place?
A. “I would like to build homes and give them to people who don’t have them, especially those people who have worked all their lives with no place to call their own. I guess I’d give most of it away. I’ve always thought that ‘there, but for the grace of God, go I.’”

Q. What is your favorite book and why?
A. The Humanoids by Jack Williamson. “That’s when my mind opened up to the universe. I’m also a Star Trek fan.”

Q. Tell about a time when you were nervous.
A. “Municipal election 2004. I’m nervous for every municipal election day. I’m building up for nervous election 2006.”

Q. If you could redo one moment in life, what would it be? Why?
A. “A trip my husband was going to take and I was invited but decided that the job was more important. Now, he can’t invite me anywhere. You, out there, you know who you are. Don’t let your job be more important than your family. You may end up without a personal life.”

Q. If you were the Mayor of Portales, what would you do to help fight crime.
A. “I believe that the Police department does an excellent job, and although there has been an increase in crime in Portales over the last decade, I believe that Portales is still one of the safest communities in the country. I am a fan of Portales, but if I were the mayor, I would probably encourage and support funding for more anti-crime programs to educate children and youth throughout the school systems. I would encourage more visibility for our police department in positive ways, even more than at the present. I think we (as in the public) need to go back to a time when the attitude was that the police officer was your friend, not your enemy. Remember, knowledge is power.”