By Darrell Todd Maurina
A pastor who served more than 50 years in six local Southern Baptist churches will be honored with a special reception by the Clovis City Commission on March 11.
Clovis city commissioner Kevin Duncan said he wanted to honor the Rev. Herbert Bergstrom due to his years of service not only in active ministry but also in retirement. As a funeral director at Muffley Funeral Home, Duncan continues to see Bergstrom on a regular basis — even though Bergstrom has lived in Lubbock since 1995, he still comes back regularly to conduct funerals.
“I’ve had dealings with him over the years and I think it is long overdue to do something to honor him; there are lots of people in the community who appreciate him,” Duncan said. “He will do a funeral for most anyone who asks him. He’s a very personable person, very spiritually minded and has done a lot for this community. It’s time to kind of repay him for what he’s done for Clovis.”
Bergstrom said he was surprised by the honor.
“I have never been that prominent, but I have had a lot of funerals over there,” Bergstrom said. “I’ve conducted over 1,000 funerals in eastern New Mexico and west Texas within 100 miles of Clovis.”
Bergstrom, now 87, remained in pastoral ministry long past the typical retirement age and continued as associate pastor of Sandia Baptist Church in Clovis until 1995 when he moved to Lubbock to be closer to medical facilities. He began his ministry in the early 1940s, preaching at the now-disbanded Mt. Zion Baptist Church near Dora, and was then called to Ranchvale Baptist Church where he served from 1943 to 1946 and again from 1950 to 1953. In the interim period he received his master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and later completed a doctoral degree at the same school.
Bergstrom then taught full-time at Eastern New Mexico University from 1953 to 1960 before taking a call to pastor First Baptist Church of Clovis in 1960. He was then called to Parkland Baptist Church of Clovis in 1966 and First Baptist Church of Portales in 1974 before moving to Sandia Baptist Church of Clovis in 1983. For most of his pastoral ministry, Bergstrom also served as a part-time professor at Eastern New Mexico University, Chapman College, Clovis Community College or Wayland Baptist University and finally gave up teaching at Wayland only three years ago.
“I came to New Mexico for my health and the climate agreed with me and the people liked me so I didn’t feel any need to leave,” Bergstrom said. “When I was on the campus and adjacent to the campus at Eastern I was a counselor for a number of younger ministerial students and I have been a mentor to a number of younger ministers.
“All of that put together made it a very enjoyable time and I had some very dear friends,” he said.
Bergstrom credited God with his long life and good health, and said he still preaches from time to time, plus working as a volunteer hospital chaplain in Lubbock.
“I’m still fairly active but I take more naps than I used to,” Bergstrom said. “It’s the Lord Himself who I give the credit for my age. I really think He wants me to be serving Him and that’s what I try to do.”