Area couples tapped as pioneers

By Mickey Winfield: PNT staff writer

The Roosevelt County Pioneers welcomed four new members, and countless stories, as Buster and Joann Blakey were honored, along with Elton and Ruby Parkinson at the Jake Lopez building at the Roosevelt County fairgrounds Thursday morning.

“What it meant to me is to reminisce and go back through their lives and see everything that they have accomplished and kind of reflect on that a little bit,” Judy Reed said.

Reed, one of six children of Buster, 81, and Joann Blakey, 77, introduced her parents at the annual lunch.

“It was very easy to conjure up lots of memories,” Reed said. “It doesn’t seem like they should be this old.”

Except for a stint in the Navy, Buster lived in Causey his whole life, homesteading and raising a family.

“Those were the good ‘ole days,” Buster said. “But things have changed a lot.”

Joann lived in Dora and Floyd before meeting Buster on a blind date. They were married in 1951. Added together, the two have spent close to 160 years in Roosevelt County.

“I didn’t do nothing great,” Buster said. “These old pioneers, the ones that originally came here, they ought to be honored more than us.”

“(Roosevelt County has) changed, but there are still good people,” Joann said. “There always has been, and we’re part of it.”

Longtime Roosevelt County couple Elton and Ruby Parkinson were also honored Thursday, and their daughter Barbara Teel introduced her parents.

“It wasn’t difficult for me,” Teel said. “It was emotional because I felt like it was well overdue. I could stand for hours and say the good things about my parents, I’m very proud of them. I usually end up tearing up and getting emotional but I’m very proud of them.”

“I loved every minute of raising my children,” Ruby said. “And I’ve got two good kids.”

Elton and Ruby will be celebrating their 68th wedding anniversary Sept. 3.

“I know whenever my mom and dad were first married and they lived in Bledsoe, Texas, they lived in a storeroom,” Teel said. “I think my mom said they paid 25 cents for a barrel of water and 25 cents was a lot of money to them and they could really make that water go a long, long way.”

Elton was born in 1920 and homesteaded in Milnesand, while Ruby moved to Milnesand at a very young age.

Ruby never graduated from high school, but earned her GED at the age of 50 before attending cosmetology school.

“My folks were pioneers here and I’m following in their footsteps,” Elton said.