Wilma Jean Browning Dugger passed away at home on Saturday, December 22, 2018 at the age of 90.
Wilma was born February 1, 1928, in Silverton, Texas, to Homer Blake Browning and Helen Amelia Hamlin Browning. At the age of six weeks, the family; mom, dad, three brothers and a sister, made the 450 mile trek West in a covered wagon pulled by a team of horses to settle in Rio Arriba County where public land was available for homesteads. A farm was leased where they raised a bumper crop of potatoes to earn enough money to pay the filing fees on a homestead 160 acres north of what later became the village or Regina. Three more brothers joined the family. The family was never blessed with a lot of money but lived off what they farmed and raised; vegetables, fruit, wheat, oats, corn, beans, cattle, horses and hogs, that were traded or sold.
Like many, you never left Mom’s table hungry. She learned her cooking skills from her mom, canning and preserving vegetables and meat. Mom was comfortable outdoors, in the garden or the hayfield, cornfield, potato patch. Did I mention feeding the cows, baling hay, moving irrigation pipe, mowing the lawn, painting the house, fixing the sink, hunting, fishing and camping. Two of her favorite things ever, was taking care of her two grandsons Eddie and Colby rocking them to sleep in that squeaky old rocking chair.
Wilma graduated from Lindrith High School on May 23rd 1947. She received a state-granted teaching certificate in 1945 through 1946. NMEA Certificate No. 3839 to teach in Rio Arriba County Schools at the age of 17 during the war. She taught thirty students first through eighth grade in a one-room school house in Llaves, New Mexico. Her dad drove her to Llaves on their farm tractor and dropped her off. With the money saved from teaching, mom loaned her dad the money to buy his first new truck. She said he was really proud of that truck and she even got to drive it and he did pay her back.
Wilma and Drew met in Lindrith in 1947 when Drew returned to the area after the war to visit with family and friends who had stayed in New Mexico. He was driving by and saw a game of softball taking place in the school yard. He joined the game as a pitcher and mom was playing first base. The batter hit the ball back to the pitcher and without thinking he fired the ball to the first basewoman who caught the throw in the nose. They were married on July 10, 1947, at the Bernalillo County Courthouse, Albuquerque, NM. Both mothers, Dessie Dugger and Helen Browning accompanied their kids to witness the marriage.
Their first child, Leldon, was born 1948; daughter, Glenda followed in 1951; and son, Roy in 1957, all born in Albuquerque. Mom did the penny pinching. Keeping the house together while dad was out making the living. Logging with his brothers, truck driving hauling cattle and crude oil, doing the books for the service stations in Phillips 66 in Cuba and El Paso Dixie in Bloomfield. Mom spent hours quilting in the winters when her favorite garden tool, the hoe, was put away for a few months. Shelling peas, snapping beans, shucking corn, canning venison, crochet, embroidery, filled in when the quilting took a rest.
Mom was preceded in death by her husband Drew 2015, Dad 1977, Mother 1954, brother Dale 2003, brother Orel 1998, brother Ray 1978, sister Vay Chamblee 1994 , brother Blake 1991, brother John 2010 and daughter-in-law Tina 2017. She is survived by her children, Leldon, Glenda and Roy; her grandsons Eddie and his two children Jareith and Astrea and Colby Aragon and his wife Kayla. She treasured her grandsons and great grandchildren. Also surviving, her brother Robert Browning in Tyler, Texas, and 15 nieces and nephews.
We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude and thanks to the hardest working staff at SJRMC Emergency Room and those on the Third and Fourth Floor. The sensitivity and support of your staff helped us through what was a very difficult time, and we will never forget your kindness. And to Pat W for becoming mom’s best friend for those six weeks. God Bless You All.
Wilma’s care is entrusted to Brewer, Lee and Larkin Funeral Home, 103 E. Ute St., in Farmington, NM. (505) 325-8688.