By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer
Roosevelt County resident Irene Harth spent the first 19 years of her life moving from place to place with her family.
After marrying her husband in 1936 in Roswell, Harth eventually became a long-standing resident of Roosevelt County. After marriage, the couple moved to the Rogers area and built their first home, a small affair that was built out of plywood and on wheels, she said.
Harth is one of two nominees for the Pioneer of the Year award that is given annually in conjunction with Heritage Days. Nominees for the award are based on their having been a resident of Roosevelt County for 50 years, being at least 75 years old and contributed to their community in some way.
“It was just a shock when they called and told me I was nominated. It’s an honor,” Harth said.
Harth has spent the majority of her life helping and working in the world of farming. When she was a girl she spent time in the fields with her father. After her marriage, she also worked to help her husband. Everything from driving a tractor and plowing, to driving a truck during harvest season alongside the combines, she said.
“I just did all that good ole farm work,” Harth said. “I enjoyed farming.”
“You don’t always have to be in the forefront to make a contribution,” said Cindy Harth, daughter-in-law of Irene’s role in the family and community.
Enjoying the outdoors, Harth continued to work outside even after her move into Portales in 1983. She put in and kept her yard up until she was no longer able physically, Harth said.
“I just enjoy the outdoors,” Harth said.
When her two children were younger, Harth was active in 4-H. She served as a club leader for 12 years. She was also a member of the Silver Thimble and Dora Homemakers club. She spent over 20 years helping at the fair working in the Home Arts department with entries and judging, she said.
According to Cindy, Irene was active in the community for many years, including the Farm Bureau and the farm/city banquets that were held in Portales. During the banquets, Irene helped to prepare the meal, Cindy said.
“She was a big part of the Farm Bureau. That’s one thing I guess I will always remember,” Cindy said.
At one time, Harth and a friend decided they wanted a career and began working at the peanut mill. She also worked at Portales Hardware and in Lubbock at Dillards for a time, where she developed a loyal customer base, who requested her help when shopping, Harth said.
“I enjoyed what little bit I worked out (in town) all right,” Harth said.