Marjorie Juanita Dockray Curtis was born at home near Weed New Mexico on December 22nd 1921 to William H. Dockray and Laura Ellen Marshall Dockray.
She moved around often as a child as her family sought work, finally settling on the Rio Penasco just below Bear Canyon. She attended school in Dexter, Hagerman, Elk, Mayhill and finally Cloudcroft. She graduated valedictorian of her Cloudcroft High School class in the spring of 1940.
Later that same year, September 27th 1940, She and the love of her life, Elmer S. Curtis, accompanied by all four of their parents, went to the local justice of the peace to be married. But since Elmer was only 17, the Justice refused. So all six got in the car and drove to Carrizozo. There the Justice married them. The Justice’s wife and daughter assisted in the ceremony because he was a blind man. They all laughed because they said for all the Justice knew he could have been marrying anybody. To this union were born two children, a daughter in January 1942 and a son in February 1944.
Marjorie stayed home and cared for their two children while Elmer served in the Navy. After the war, they moved to Roswell where Elmer worked for the post office. Once both children were in school, Marjorie worked as a bookkeeper and office manager at Clardy’s Dairy, S&H Green Stamp Store, and Gibson’s Discount Store.
Both Marjorie and Elmer retired after Elmer spent 33 years at the Post Service. They moved back to Mayhill, purchased the old Curtis place at Curtis Canyon on the Penasco near Mayhill and settled as ranchers. There they ran Herford’s and horses successfully for many years. Elmer passed away September 10th 1994.
Marjorie lived alone on the ranch from 1994 until 2011. Due to health reasons she moved in 2011. Spending summers in Montrose, CO with her son’s family and winters in Ridgecrest, CA with her daughter's family. In 2013 she elected to live in only one place and stayed in Ridgecrest, Ca with her daughter’s family until her health required a move to Bella Serra Skilled Nursing Home in May of 2020. She passed away September 9th 2021 at the age of 99.
Marjorie was a true Sacramento Mountain pioneer. She was a strong and independent woman who always kept her loaded rifle leaning by the back door at the ranch. She was an active community member serving on the electrical coop, the telephone coop and volunteered at the fire department. Having lived through the Great Depression, she was quite frugal her entire life. She often told her kids and grandkids “Waste not want not”. In addition to ranching, she loved gardening and raised vegetables and flowers. She enjoyed sharing the bounty and beauty of her garden with others and was well known for her huge and beautiful dahlias. She was very practical and learned many skills in her long lifetime. At the age of 80, having sold the majority of her ranch she decided she still needed to see cows in her back field and so needed a barn; so she built one herself.
She was a lifelong member of the Church of Christ, attending services at the Mayhill Church of Christ, Hagerman Church of Christ, Dexter Church of Christ and South Main Congregation of Roswell Church of Christ, Montrose Colorado Church of Christ and Ridgecrest California Church of Christ.
Marjorie was preceded in death by her parents and husband, Elmer, by her 5 Dockray brothers (Kenneth, Robert, Herbert, Billy, and Henry), by two brothers-in-law (Ivon and Dwain Curtis),by a nephew, Reed Curtis, and one great grandson, William Curtis.
She is survived by both children, Wanda Laire of Ridgecrest CA and Cara W(Bud) Curtis of Montrose CO., by five grandchildren Julie Beswick, Tate Curtis, Nicole Ramsey, David Laire and Carolyn Centoni, as well as 11 great grandchildren and 4 great-great grandchildren with one more arriving later this month. She is also survived by numerous great and great-great nieces and nephews.
Funeral Services will be held at Scenic Chapel (formerly Hamilton-O’Dell Funeral Home) in Alamogordo, New Mexico Saturday September 18th at 2pm. Following the services, burial will be at the Old Mayhill Cemetery on the Rio Penasco between Mayhill and Curtis Canyon. Family and Friends are invited.
The Curtis family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Scenic Chapel to direct the funeral services.
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