Goodbye ‘Mrs. Tucumcari’

By Chelle Delaney

Bettie Ditto, Tucumcari�s 91-year-old matriarch of hospitality, was laid to rest Friday.
After a funeral service attended by about 380 at the Tucumcari Convention Center, Ditto�s coffin was buried at Tucumcari Memorial Park Cemetery beneath a warm winter sun.
At the funeral service, deacon Bobby Welch comforted attendees with words derived from Psalm 139.
�She is in the hands of God,� Welch said.
Welch also said, �He who serves his fellow men, serves me,� adding that Ditto was �a servant in the community.�
Mary Ann Garrett, who gave a eulogy at the service, told how Betty Ditto had opened up one of her apartments when Garrett had family visitors. On another occasion, when Garrett�s husband had returned home from surgery, Ditto made sure meals were brought daily to their home, recalled Garrett.
�If someone needed a lift or help, she would,� said her grandson, Robert Ferguson of West Fork, Ark.

Ditto�s daughter, Susan Hamilton Dick of Portales, said �She always told us to treat others like we would like to be treated.�
From her grandmotherly point of view, Ditto always worried about each and every family member�s welfare, Ferguson said.
�I know she was a special lady. She truly loved her community. If she saw that something needed to be done, she�d get it done. Or she�d call someone who could get it done,� Ferguson said.
“Bettie was an absolute lady and there are not that many true ladies left anymore,” said Bruce Nutt after the service.
“I worked with Bettie for many years ��so many it is hard to count,” said Jennie Lou Jones. “From Santa Fe to Taos and the Pow Wow she always stayed the same ‘Miss Hospitality.'”
Former city manager Richard Primrose said Ditto took her job as a city commissioner very seriously
�She would look through every purchase order and invoice before each commission meeting.� Her main concern was economic development, Primrose said. �She worked day and night to help Tucumcari and Quay County take advantage of every opportunity to bring new business to this area and help existing businesses grow.�
At the graveside, Ferguson asked mourners to join the family for a reception and celebration of his grandmother�s life.
�Let�s make sure to keep her spirit alive,� he said.