We have one great friend who is very proud to have been born in 1912 shortly after New Mexico became a state. Mrs. Sue Wallace Tucek was born just across the state line in Briscoe County, Texas, and moved to the Norton area with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hutson Wallace, when she was 9 months old. Her five sisters and two brothers, all except Joe, were born at the ranch home.
Many of us know Mrs. Tucek who taught Home Economics at Tucumcari High School for most of her 39 years of teaching. Her family and close friends know her as one of the main care-givers in the family–the one who was always available to help when anyone became ill or when anyone just needed some kind of boost. She is one of the most unselfish ladies in our history and has lived this long life to make our area a better place in which to live.
She kept a diary for several years after her retirement from teaching and after her husband’s death. She was living on the ranch and tending to it as well as taking care of her home in town. Just reading that diary gives one a clear picture of how Mrs. Tucek cared for each of her relatives and how she managed her time between tending to ranch chores and any other business at hand. She put her pioneer heritage to work and showed what she had learned while growing up on that ranch.
While she was in about the eighth grade at Apache School, she was already showing her love of the little ones around her. For instance, Rachel Locklear Sparks was a beginner that year and would become tired before the school day ended. She sat by Sue and would put her head in her lap to take a nap until classes were over. Many other friends and relatives have similar stories to tell about the kind acts of Mrs. Tucek.
She was a major worker when we were putting the 1985 Quay County History Book together. Not only did she help write family stories, but she also wrote several of the histories of the communities in the Norton area and spent hours proofreading all of the book. She remained interested in preserving our history as well as in living it during her most active life.
Mrs. Tucek is also our oldest graduate from THS and remains a much loved teacher, friend, and family member. As I stood beside her last week, I was filled with indescribable emotion realizing just how privileged I was to be visiting with her and knowing just a little about her contributions to so many people of our area.
Let’s all salute Mrs. Tucek on her l00th birthday on Feb. 9. She is a great reminder of what our state stands for and a great lady to have contributed so much to each of us she touched during all these years. Thank you, dear friend, for being who you are!