By Tony Parra
Mrs. Loretta Looper had a passion for bowling, liked a camping trip every now and again, and loved spending time with her family. Looper belonged to the Women’s International Bowling Association, and competed in state competitions and traveled to Reno, Nev. every year to bowl in the national competitions. According to her husband, John Looper, she had loved to bowl ever since they’ve been together, a good 38 years.
“She was competitive, but most importantly, she had fun. She enjoyed bowling with the other women.” John said.
Looper died at the age of 56 in her home on Sept. 2. Looper also enjoyed camping, fishing and spending time with her family.
“She loved to go work outside and go camping,” John said. “She loved to go to the mountains and go fishing. We would go to Pagosa Springs, Colo. and to the Pecos River. We would go to Creed, Colo. and set up at the campground by Williams Lake.”
Loretta was one of 13 children growing up in Tucumcari. She was born on Sept. 15, 1946, in Tucumcari to Mary and Sam W. Beck.
She moved to Belen in 1964 and was a 1966 graduate of Belen High School. She married John on July 17, 1965.
They moved to Portales in 1972 and in 1989 she established the Portales Massage Clinic, which she operated until 1999, when she retired.
“She ask me, ‘Do you want me to get a job?’ when we moved to Portales,” John said. “I told her, ‘No that’s OK — I need you at home raising our daughters, because that’s going to be tough enough.’
“She agreed without giving it a second thought.”
She devoted her earlier years to her three daughters, Shawna McGill, Frances Moore and Johnanna Preston, all of whom are married and still live in the Portales/Clovis area.
For 17 years she raised her three girls; when they became self-sufficient, she started the massage clinic.
“She was always there when they (three daughters) needed her,” John said. “She made clothes for them and she sold things for them. She supported them if they wanted to play sports, but she didn’t push them into doing sports.”
Loretta was a member of the New Testament Baptist Church.
When times became rough for her sister, Nadine Angel, who was suffering from down-syndrome, Loretta cut back on her bowling and devoted her free time to taking care of Nadine. John and Loretta moved Angel from Tucumcari to Portales so they could take care of her.