Santa Fe Living Treasures ‚Äď Elder Stories

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Bob Storey

Bob Storey


Honored January, 1991

Robert 'Bob' Storey

The Santa Fe Community Farm is probably one of the oldest farms in the United States," said its founder, John Stephenson. Located on forty acres of some of the last undeveloped land in Santa Fe, "it was farmed by the Indians before the Spanish came, so it goes back a long way." The land belongs to John; the farm's entire harvest is donated to the homeless, hungry, and disabled of Santa Fe. In 1995, the Community Farm distributed almost $24,000 worth of fresh produce. Raised with the help of nearly 575 volunteers, the crops benefited more than twenty-five Santa Fe agencies.

A native Santa Fean, John was born at home to Clyde and Clara Stephenson in 1914, at 232 Paseo. "My family was from southern Iowa. They came to New Mexico for my father's health. He had tuberculosis and died when I was two."

Although he was on the small side, John played football and basketball at Santa Fe High School; there were twenty-six students in his graduating class in 1931 or 1932."

An Eagle Scout, John collaborated with Uncle Benny Hyde, the naturalist and educator whose family donated 350 acres in Little Tesuque Canyon for the creation of Hyde State Park. "We worked up there most of a summer collecting animals. We caught two porcupines and a ground squirrel. It wasn't very successful."

John attended college in California and at New Mexico State University but transferred to Colorado State University to study forestry. His first job was in Deadwood, South Dakota. In 1936 he was paid $2 per day as a member of a field crew for the Rocky Mountain Equipment Station. "Out of our graduating class, only six of us got jobs." John returned to Santa Fe when he was offered a job as a range examiner.

John met his wife, Katherine, at a school carnival. A math teacher, Katherine was from Albuquerque. They were married in Albuquerque in 1940 and raised three sons. After serving in Europe in World War II, John returned home and bought the farm in 1945. "When we bought it, it was just an idle piece of land. We built the house, drilled the wells, put up fences, and planted the orchard in about 1947," he recalled.

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes