Palabras Pintorescas - My time as a Highlands ambassador

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By Editha Bartley

Our boss and editor at the Optic discovered a picture of me taken just 39 years ago here. Question was: What was the event; why was the picture taken?

I didn’t have a very good answer for him, other than I knew I was presented with an award by Reuben Valdez, the alumni director and public information director at Highlands University so long ago.

Surprise of surprises. I am searching through some old newspaper clippings last week, and I discover the original story, with the picture. The Feb. 25, 1975, “Around New Mexico” page of the Albuquerque Journal had the picture with this story: “Ranch Woman Wins Highlands Award.”  “Journal Special. Las Vegas, N.M. Mrs. Editha Bartley of Gascon Ranch, at Rociada has received Highlands University’s Distinguished Alumna Award for February.

“Mrs. Bartley graduated from Highlands University with a major in biology. She attended Robertson High School in Las Vegas.

“She is the daughter of Dr. C.H. Gellenthein, medical director of the Valmora Medical Center. Dr. Gallenthien is the only New Mexico Physician to serve as vice president of the American Medical Association  (AMA).

“‘My father came to the state as a tuberculosis patient. He was a student at the University of Illinois at the time. His doctors gave him six months to live,’ she said. ‘He is still director of the medical center and maintains his internal medical practice.’”

“Mrs. Bartley was born in the Valmora Medical Center on Oct. 25, 1934. She is a lifetime resident of Mora and San Miguel counties.

“Her Grandfather Dr. W.T. Brown, built the Valmora Tuberculosis Sanatorium in 1904.

“For the past four years Mrs. Bartley has been director of the Las Vegas-San Miguel Chamber of Commerce. She was instrumental in the founding of the Chamber’s Movie Committee. She is presently serving as chairman of the committee.

“Mrs. Bartley is on the executive committee of the northern Rio Grande Adelante Resource Conservation and Development Project. She also serves on the Highlands University’s presidential ad hoc student recruitment committee.

“Along with her husband, James, Mrs. Bartley owns and operates the Gascon Dude and Cattle Ranch. It is the only working dude ranch on the eastern side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.”

That was a fun time in my life. Reuben Valdez and I visited high schools in this area, promoting Highlands as the University students should attend, and I am told many kids did come to Highlands University.

And now on a much more important subject, I am still trying to figure out how Art Trujillo ships that now famous fruitcake off into the universe. He must have a fortune invested in postage and handling at this point. No fruitcake for you on this Valentines Day, Art! I got the message!

Editha Bartley lives in Gascon in Mora County. She may be reached at 454-0563.