By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer
Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Capt. Richard “Rick” N. Short was a jokester and an avid golfer with a big heart, the people who knew him say.
A Portales native, Short, 49, died Tuesday of a heart attack while off duty.
“He was a very loving, caring, honest man; a great husband, father, son, uncle, friend,” said Linda Short, his wife of 22 years.
Linda said her husband loved to play golf and watch sporting events in which their three children — Dennis, Kassandra and Stephanie — played.
“He had a very green thumb,” she continued. “He could grow anything.”
Rick revived dying plants belonging to friends and relatives, and bought a pickup-truck load of flowers every year at the Kiwanis flower sale, his wife said.
Linda said her husband was the family cook with a specialty in green chile chicken enchiladas. He was happy to cook all of the food for their annual Christmas gathering as long as he could take a nap after they ate.
“He was my rock,” Linda said.
Sheriff Darren Hooker said he had worked with Rick since 1999 and knew him earlier.
“His loyalty is immeasurable,” Hooker said.
Hooker and Chief Deputy Malin Parker said everyone in the office brought their questions to Rick because of his vast knowledge. He had worked in law enforcement for 25 years and was known across the state, the sheriff said.
“As far as Rick personally, his friendship to everyone in the office is also something that’s immeasurable,” Hooker said.
At work, Rick was always laughing, joking and pulling pranks on people, Hooker and Parker agreed.
“In my time of knowing Rick, I’ve only seen him yell one time. He was so good-natured, he just didn’t do it,” Hooker said.
That patience spilled over onto the golf course, he said, as Rick was teaching him to golf.
“The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office is just deeply saddened at his passing, and it will be very hard for us to fill the void that he has left,” Hooker said.
Parker said no one could find fault with Rick’s character.
Parker remembered handling stressful calls when everyone was excited and obviously afraid — except Rick.
“I never saw a guy that was able to remain as calm as him all the time,” Parker said.
He called the captain a “very nice guy with a very big heart.”
“He was one of the best guys I knew,” Parker said.