arrived into the world on a bitterly cold Christmas Eve night in Roswell,
New Mexico. It was a night Dr. Rouse, who delivered me, declared to
be one of the coldest ever, particularly out on our family’s
screened- in back porch, where he performed the delivery. On my birth
certificate, my Dad stated his occupation as a cattle rancher and
my mom’s, as a housewife and proud mother.
great-grandfather had been sheriff of Lincoln County shortly after
the heyday of Billy the Kid. Pictures of him with his handlebar mustache,
standing beside various deputies, villains, bullet-pocked walls and
hanging gallows held a place of honor in the Lincoln County Courthouse
for many years.
Dad grew up on a ranch east of Capitan, New Mexico. He became an accomplished
bronc rider, known affectionately as "Blackie Owen." He
won many first prizes in regional rodeos. My mom grew up on a ranch
not far from my father's home. They married, moved to Roswell where
Dad owned the Ever-Ready Motor Company on Second Street.
mother stressed cleanliness. In addition to being protective of her
three children, she pushed them to do their best. She would prepare
meals and welcome young and old friends to join us to eat. She sewed
many tailored shirts for us boys. She was a proud woman, and as she
aged, she tried to maintain a good physical appearance. She worked
in my father's business overseeing availability of parts for auto
repair and keeping books on financial matters. After my Dad closed
the garage and sold the property, Mother went to school to become
a practical nurse. She had great respect for the Catholic sisters
at St. Mary's Hospital, who taught her nursing techniques and she
was gratified during her years of serving and caring for others.
I was born, the United States was recovering from the Great Depression
and Americans were able to have enough food, keep warm and reasonably
clean. The future was brighter than the immediate past. Life for most
Americans was improving.
was one of three brothers and became relatively independent at a young
age. Roswell was a prosperous town during 1941-1945 and after World
War II. The social programs in the schools were expanding, and I had
the opportunity, not only to learn, but also to participate in extracurricular
activities like sports, drama and politics. For some, the band offered
musical opportunities. Social events were frequent and easy to attend.
The spirit of the young people in the community was exuberant. I started
boxing in the 8th grade and was awarded a varsity letter. I continued
boxing through the 12th grade and became a state champion. Thereafter,
I fought in the Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions held in Chicago
in 1953. A champion gives his all every single second in the fight.
Win, lose or draw, the decision for that fight is final.
fortune smiled on me when I was elected to serve as the Senior Class
President. I didn't ask for this honor. The nomination was made from
the floor during an assembly hour. A vote was called and I was elected.
Unexpectedly after the election, I became acutely aware of new responsibilities.
I was expected to lead in a manner that would benefit the welfare
of the entire senior class. I had to rise to the occasion and try
to express attitudes that improved the environment for my classmates.
This leadership role process brought additional meaning to my life.
grown up listening to our friend, the late great Lefty Frizzell playing
his guitar and singing the songs he wrote in our home in Roswell,
left me with an indelible love for country-western music. My Dad's
garage, Ever-Ready Motors, my uncle's boot shop, and the Castle Drugstore,
sponsored Lefty who was known as the Pecos Valley Troubadour, on KGFL
radio to advertise their businesses on weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to
12 noon. His song, "I Love you, I'll Prove it in a Thousand Ways,"
became the Number One country -western recording in America."
July 1947 an unidentified flying object crashed on a ranch outside
of Roswell and immediately drew national attention to the community.
The U.S. government quickly silenced the local population and the
issue was brought to a close.
I not grown up in such a friendly and supportive community, I might
have led a very different life. Some of my luckiest breaks were more
than just luck. They were the result of the hard work and ingenuity
of people who cared, my parents, teachers and friends.
was awarded a Ford Foundation Scholarship which covered my tuition,
room and board at the University of New Mexico. This came to be because
of the tireless efforts of a very special teacher, Mr. Arthur Gaddis.
I felt proud about this and profoundly fortunate.
September 1953, I started at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
as they say,--- the rest is history.
received a medical degree from the University of Colorado School of
Medicine, completed three years of residency training at Johns Hopkins
Hospital, and became a research fellow at the Joslin Research Laboratories
of Harvard Medical School. I continued my academic medical career
as a physician and clinical investigator. I am now retired.
from Oliver’s book, Searching for Medical Truths, published
by Infinity Publishing.com,