By QCS Staff
Tucumcari and Bettie Ditto were a good pair.
The Midwestern gal seemed to thrive in the hot New Mexico sun. For nearly 60 years, her business interests grew and spread beyond the city.
In return, she appreciated the town and worked tirelessly to help develop and improve Tucumcari.
What follows are remembrances and appreciations of the woman who some called Mrs. Tucumcari.
“She was a pretty good Republican, but the Democrats loved her, too. Even though he’s on road, I know that Gov. Richardson has called her family.
“With the chamber she was just invaluable to us. She volunteered her time before Dianne (Paris) came to the chamber. We couldn’t have stayed open last year if it hadn’t been for her.” — Carole Keith, president of the Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce
“Bettie Ditto was the way Tucumcari should be: Upbeat, motivated, always looking at the half-full, not empty. She will always be the driving force that made things happen in my life and every life she came in contract with.
“We lost our ambassador for this city and we will all miss her more than we’ll ever know!” —
John Everhart, manager of Brian Urlacher Cross Country Auto Sales
“Bettie Ditto will always be remembered as a gracious hostess, dedicated public servant and strong community advocate. She had the kind of personality that made everyone feel welcome. We’re all grateful that Bettie decided to make Tucumcari her home so many years ago and she will be dearly missed. Our thoughts are with her family and numerous friends.” — U.S. Rep. Tom Udall
“She was really a big help with the Chamber of Commerce. She just gave all of her heart and soul to Tucumcari and Quay County. She was a big help. I don’t know what we’re going to do without her. she was born with charm.” — Dianne Paris, executive Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce
“She was big supporter of Rattler Reunion. I thought she was always looking at ways to help Tucumcari grow in a businesslike way. She was a very good businesswoman. She’ll be missed. She certainly was a supporter for me for Rattler Reunion. She lobbied for the reunion on Lodgers Tax Board. She thought it was very worthwhile to bring back all those people.” — Norma Jean Crellin, coordinator of Rattler Reunion
“From an artistic side, she was big supporter of the arts. Bettie always supported me and encouraged me as an artist by purchasing art. She invited us up to her property in northern New Mexico. She invited us as an inspiration.
“She was a huge supporter of the city. In 1970, she and I and some of the chamber members all went to Dallas together and it was to support Tucumcari. I’m very sad to see that life no longer with us. She thought about supporting Tucumcari every day of her life.” — Bill Curry, artist and Quay County Commissioner
“She was a great supporter of business people here in Tucumcari. We all loved to see her come into our shops. She was faithful. As a business person, she understood that you have to have the support of the local community. She was just a great lady. We loved to visit with her.
“She was diplomatic and could be very forthright, too, if you asked her.
“She had a lot of hard knocks. She lost a son and I know that wasn’t easy. She was self-determined and tenacious.” — Juanita Curry, The Sundowner Gallery & Gifts
“We worked on a number of workforce development boards. She kept me focused on public policy. She was insistent on training for Quay County. She was a good ally. She was a class act. I think she was dynamic and a heck of a businesswoman.” — New Mexico Sen. Clint Hardin
“She was a good businesswoman. She had a eye for decorating. She was one of a kind. She was a go-getter who expected perfectionism, but she also looked out for everyone. She had a 10-foot Indian sculpted to stand outside the gift shop. She named it Kawliga. It was named Kawliga after a song. One day, someone ran into it and it was crushed. Every now and then, Bettie would say, ‘It broke my heart when Kawliga was gone,’” — Shirley Hancock, former general manager of the Pow Wow
“She was very exciting to work with. She wasn’t selfish with people she knew in Santa Fe and making introductions because she worked for the betterment of the city.” — Antonio Apodaca, mayor of Tucumcari
“Her ownership of the Pow Wow and the pride she took in that business is an example of how she promoted the area. She also served on all the boards that made Tucumcari a better place.” — Franklin McCasland, chairman, Quay County Commission