The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Jolly man rejoiced with gossip group


PNT Staff Writer

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He was a high-spirited man who liked nothing better than to hang out on the porch for a good conversation with his friends.

“He was a jolly man who used to slap his knee when he talked to his friends,” Cecil Faye Watkins, friend and neighbor, said. “He lived an interesting life. He loved to go to dinner with his friends. He wanted to be a part of us. (Golden Acres Retirement residents).”

Raymond Dodson of Portales died on Nov. 21 at his home. Dodson grew up in Dickens, Texas where he was born in 1912.

“He was a great father,” said Jerry Campbell, Dodson’s daughter. “We traveled a lot because of his work, but he was always there for us. We were raised all over. We moved to New Orleans, Mississippi and Texas. It wasn’t that bad.”

Campbell and Ladonna Dodson, who past away, were the two daughters of Raymond Dodson and Faye Laverne Dyer.

Dodson spent the last years of his life living in the Golden Acres Retirement Apartments in Portales, where he made a lot of friends, according to his friend and neighbor Cecil Fay Watkins.

“We had to move him to Golden Acres about six years ago,” Campbell said. “It took him about six months to get comfortable but after that he became real good friends with everybody.”

The Southeast Gossip Corner was what Watkins, Dodson and their neighbors were known as, Watkins and Campbell said. It was a group of neighbors located in the southeastern part of the Golden Acres. A group in which Campbell said she was kept out of the loop.

“It was their own bunch,” Campbell said. “It was like a group of kids that didn’t want their parents involved.”

Watkins said Dodson used to come over and visit in her front porch and others would sit in lawn chairs to talk about everything.

“He had the time of his life with all of us,” Watkins said. “He sat on the porch on almost every night. My porch has been a gathering place. He loved to be around his friends and he loved us as if we were family.”

Dodson enjoyed when Campbell used to bring Duke, a black miniature poodle that was named after John Wayne, over to play.

“He loved to see Duke when we came over,” Campbell said. “He lived for that dog. He adored it and bought sweaters and camouflage vests and hunting vests for it. They were the best of friends.”

Dodson married his wife Vada Rae Deese on Nov. 2, 1965, in Monterey, Mexico. They lived in Lexington, Minn., until 1997 when they moved to Portales.

Vada died in September of 2002 in North Carolina.

“She was in a nursing home in North Carolina and he used to call her every Friday,” Watkins said. “He called her as regular as night and day. He would send her a bouquet of flowers. She was very special to him.”

Dodson worked as rancher and for 35 years he was employed by O. L. Olsen Engineers, Inc. He traveled the world in the job of helping build gasoline refineries. Campbell said she remembers him going to South America to help build plants.


Name: Raymond Dodson

Born: May 27, 1912 in Dickens, Dickens County, Texas.

Died: Friday, Nov. 21, 2003 in Portales in his home.

Family: Jerry Campbell (and husband, Clyde) of Portales; two grandchildren, Clark C. Campbell and Lisa Erven; seven great grandchildren, Anthony Tiffany, Christopher, Brian and Samantha Campbell, Nicholas Ray Erven and Jessica Erven; a brother, Bill Bell of Silver City; and a sister, Dorothy Haskell of Dalhart, Texas.


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