Becky Dean was born in Carlsbad, N.M., on Flag Day, June 14, 1955.
Raised in the Guadalupe Mountains on a sheep ranch, she lived her early years in a little two-room house built by her daddy, who hauled water in his truck for not only household use, but also to feed the family’s sheep.
Five children lived in the home, working on a ranch where riding horseback was akin to walking.
“I rode horses all of my life,” Becky related, “and I continue to do so!”
The Dean children were among a dozen pupils who attended school in a one-room school house. Becky and her siblings traveled over 15 miles of dirt road and through nine wire gates to get to school.
“It took one hour to drive because the roads were so rough and steep,” she remembered.
Becky later moved to Dell City with her family, where she graduated from high school in 1973. She worked on cattle and sheep ranches until a forest fire destroyed a large portion of the Sacramento Mountains. Becky volunteered for several months to cook and serve the hundreds of firefighters who responded to the blaze. The volunteers were head-quartered at the Sacramento Methodist Assembly, and when the crisis passed, Becky was hired as a maintenance supervisor. She eventually left the job to care for her grandmother who was dying of cancer in Carlsbad, N.M.
Following her grandmother’s passing, Becky returned to New Mexico to work in the oilfields. When her mother became gravely will and required brain surgery, Becky traveled home to care for her. About six months later, after her mother recuperated, Becky accepted a job with the Otero County Road Department in Pinion, N.M., where she drove a dump truck and did carpentry work.
On March 22, 1978, Becky Dean married Dennis Ray Walker and moved to a ranch near Alamogordo, N.M., where she trapped coyotes and fox.
“I did pretty well, as fur prices were high for a time,” she recalled. Becky also attended college at New Mexico State University until she and her family moved to Fort Hancock, Texas, to partner on a ranch and launch a heavy equipment dirt moving company.
In 1985, Becky trained to be an emergency medical technician and ran with the volunteer ambulance in Fort Hancock for eight years. In November 1986 she was appointed justice of the peace, a position she held for some eight years. She later ran for county judge, becoming the first female judge in Hudspeth County; she recently began her third term. (See accompanying story for Becky’s professional history.)
On Nov. 18, 1986, son Clifton Kyle was born, a mere six weeks before Becky was sworn in as justice of the peace. On June 10, 1994, daughter, Whitney AnnaMae came to live with Becky’s family from Juarez, Mexico. She was 19 months old, and her adoption became final on Oct. 3, 1994.
“On June 10, exactly two years later, we were in line at the INS office and were successful at getting her citizenship pro bono!” Becky recounted.
Dennis Ray and Becky eventually purchased a small ranch near Sierra Blanca, where they still reside today. The family dirt construction business, Eagle Mtn. Gang Inc., “is very successful at this point,” Becky reported. “We have been doing substantial work for the railroad in the last few years.”
The family also owns and operates Sierra Blanca Quarry where they crush ballast for the railroad. Son Kyle, who is now 24, is the manager “and doing a job that makes his parents very proud.” Kyle and his wife, Alicia, live at the ranch near their parents. In fact, Alicia, daughter Whitney, and Becky have started showing horses.
Becky and Dennis Ray have one granddaughter, Haylee Jo, who is now four years old “and the smartest, prettiest, and gutsiest child in the county. She already rides her horse alone.” Another grandchild is on the way.
Despite her limited “formal” education, Becky believes that “the variety of the things I have done, especially being justice of the peace and a business owner/operator, prepared me for the job of county judge. Now I have the training and experience of eight years in the county judge’s office behind me.
“I have a close relationship with God,” she continued. “He has helped me every day and will continue to do so. He has truly blessed me, and is the only reason I can do any of the good that I might do.”