Our people: Call of the wild


Name: Tony Gennaro

Birthday: March 18, 1934

Hometown: Raton

Profession: Desert biologist, writer

Tony Gennaro had two ambitions as a young college student. He said he wanted to become a professional baseball player or a commissioned Air Force officer. He said what he fell into ended up to be what he was destined to do.

Tell us about your job: The two great dreams of mine didn’t work out. I found out I was destined to get a Ph.D. That gave me the opportunity to be associated with the university (Eastern New Mexico University), teach, research, promote and write about conservation of wildlife. Wildlife is so important. I want to maintain nature as it is without disturbance by humans. I like the status quo when it comes to nature. As a desert biologist, I’ve studied wildlife from Mexico City north to central New Mexico and what is known as the Chihuahuan Desert. My main ambition is to work with the university to establish a Natural History Museum exhibit so students and Portales residents can become familiar with the wildlife of the llano. I also want to tell the truth about wildlife. There are so many spouses’ tales out there.

What do you think of Portales? I moved to Portales in 1966. I like it because it’s New Mexico. I enjoy the people. Mostly what I enjoy is the low population. This area still has grasslands and sandhills. We still have nature in the status quo. People in this area are still nature conscious. I enjoy the rural nature of the area.

Who is your hero? My father Paul. I respected everything he did. He was a mechanic and one of the best. It was just the way he went about it. There was skill in everything he did. People had respect for him. He died in the late 1970s. My other hero is my wife, Marjorie. She is my editor, manager, and best friend. She keeps everything in line for me.

What is your favorite smell? I love the odor of flowers in the spring. I love spring and I love long, warm days with plenty of sunshine.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? I would want the ability to write so that readers understand my full intentions. I think that is a super power. I think writing is one of the most difficult tasks there is. The best writers get closest to readers understanding their full intentions.

Tell us about a happy time in your life: The happiest times of my life are when Marjorie and I go on trailer trips. We relate to each other and nature. There are no phone calls, no mail. We usually go to Raton and Ruidoso. We have traveled throughout the west. We don’t go too far anymore. I enjoy those trips because it brings forth reflection and appreciation. You can’t reflect at work. You can only reflect in quiet and solitude.

— Compiled by Freedom staff writer Liliana Castillo