Former teacher left gardening legacy

Don McAlavy

A wonderful lady named Jean Scheihing, age 94, of Colorado Springs, Colo., died Dec. 6, 2002, of natural causes at her home.

She was one of the best ladies I have every known when she lived in Portales.

She was born Dec. 4, 1908, in Bonham, Texas, to Jane Read Page and Harry H. Mitchell. She graduated from Texas Women’s University in 1930 and taught in Texas public schools until her marriage to John Burroughs in 1935.

She moved from Dallas to Portales in 1946 to establish a business. She served as president of many organizations, including the Blue Bird and Camp Fire Girls board of directors, Portales Woman’s Club, Portales Garden Club and United Church Women.

She was a member congregation of the First Presbyterian Church in Portales, serving as an elder and member of the Board of Sessions.

She won numerous prizes in horticulture, and served as president of New Mexico State Garden Clubs from 1969-70.

She became First Lady of New Mexico when her husband was elected governor in 1958.

During her tenure in the executive mansion, she transformed the gardens using plantings representing all areas of the state of New Mexico.

She was an artist, historian, and writer, and her children’s stories and articles on gardening were published in national magazines.

Her poetry was included in journals and anthologies. In 1976, her book

“Children of Destiny” won a National Pen Women’s award.

Following the publication of “On the Trail: The Life and Times of ‘Lead Steer’ Potter” by the Museum of New Mexico Press, she was presented the 1982 Zia Award by the New Mexico branch of the National Federation of Press Women.

She published numerous historical accounts of the American Southwest, including “Roosevelt County: History and Heritage” and “Bride of the Santa Fe Trail.”

She was appointed research professor at the Llano Estacado School of Advanced Studies and Research at Easter New Mexico University, and was a 1990 recipient of the New Mexico Heritage Preservation Award.

In 1984, she married Charles Scheihing of Portales. She moved to Colorado Springs in 1992 and enjoyed international travel, gardening and community work.

She was preceded in death by her first husband, John Burroughs, in 1978; her husband, Charles Scheihing, in 1996; and a sister, Catherine Mitchell Morse.

Survivors include four daughters, Jane Downs of Santa Ana, Calif., Nan Burroughs of Boulder, Colo., Karen Marchman of Colorado Springs and Belinda Wilson of Denver, and eight grandchildren and eight great-grand children.

Memorial services were held on Dec. 27 at Grace Presbyterian Church, 2511 N. Logan Ave., in Colorado Springs. Wheeler Mortuary of Portales handled the local arrangements.