Tucumcari Mayor Calvin Litchfield, 60, died at home early Wednesday morning. Tucumcari Emergency Medical personnel responded to a call from the Litchfield residence on Sixth Street Wednesday at 6:36 a.m. for an individual apparently suffering from a heart attack. He was pronounced dead at Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital from natural causes by Dr. James Saltz.
Coworkers reported that Litchfield, a certified public account with his own CPA firm in Tucumcari, had been working long hours because of the tax season and was under a great deal of stress. Litchfield had recently filed to run for his second term as Tucumcari mayor and was running unopposed for the position. He had served four years previously as a city commissioner. Recently at a city commission meeting he said that he had chosen to run for one more term because he wanted to finish a couple of items involved with the city completed before he stepped down. One of these was the Ute Water Pipeline project.
On Wednesday, Tucumcari City Clerk Rachel Hicklin said there was some confusion as to how the position of mayor now would be filled. She said that if he were a normal sitting mayor and died either a replacement would be appointed or a special election would be held in the city. If on the other hand, he were opposed in the election and he died, the election would continue and probably his opponent would be awarded the position following the outcome of the election. However, since he was running unopposed with the election near, it added some problems.
Hicklin said she would be calling the municipal league for clarification of the situation. Virtually everyone in the Tucumcari City Hall said they were stunned when they heard the news of the Mayor’s death. Hicklin said Litchfield thought of his responsibilities on the commission as much more than merely a job.
“He loved this town,” said Hicklin, “He truly did. It’s such a loss.”
Tucumcari City Manager Richard Primrose who also served as a pall bearer at the memorial services for Litchfield Saturday morning echoed Hicklin’s feelings about Litchfield.
“I just couldn’t believe it when I heard,” said Primrose. “I was so shocked. I was stunned. Tucumcari lost a great friend and supporter.”
At the Ute Lake Water Board meeting being held on Wednesday at the City Commission meeting room, Orlando Ortega had the officials gathered at the meeting from all over eastern New Mexico observe a moment of silence in salute for Litchfield. In addition flags throughout Tucumcari flew at half staff in honor of the mayor.