Morgan Nelson. Jessica Palmer Photo
Morgan Nelson was named an Honorary Member of the Historical Foundation of Southeast New Mexico. The Foundation hosted a reception for Nelson and friends, Heidi and Fred Nolan, Thursday afternoon. More than 60 people attended the informal gathering. “There will be no formal announcement at the reception. This is just for fun,” said Bonnie Montgomery of HFSNM.
The guest list read like a Who’s Who of Roswell. In attendance were Sen. Tim Jennings, Dr. John R. Madden of ENMU-R, local historian Elvis Fleming, Roger Burnett of the Historical Society, former city councilor Judy Stubbs, Diane Taylor of the Every 15 Minutes program, Steve Wolfe of Crime Stoppers, Steve Smith, resident bird enthusiast and one-time owner of Century 21 and Richard Lucero, former Historical Society board member.
Nelson is a longtime resident of Chaves County. He and his father promoted the cotton industry in southeast New Mexico. Nelson almost literally wrote the book on water conservation and development. Son of Fred and Florace Nelson, Morgan graduated from New Mexico State University in 1941. He served in the Air Force during World War II while the family farm in East Grand Plains housed German prisoners of war. Nelson was elected to the New Mexico State Legislature in 1949, where he served six consecutive terms. He sponsored the bill establishing the state’s Board of Educational Finance, served on the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and chaired the New Mexico Savings and Loan’s board of directors until 1976. In addition, he served on the boards of Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell Campus Foundation, Cotton Inc., and the Chaves County Historical Society. In 2010, Nelson received the Arthur McQuiddy Outstanding Service Award at the 29th annual Historical Society Heritage Dinner awards.