By Darrell Todd Maurina
CNJ STAFF WRITER
The name Ola Mae Coonfield might not mean much to younger Clovis residents, but fellow church members said the quiet woman was known to anyone who shopped downtown at Harbey’s Gift Shop on Main Street, or before that at Woolworth’s.
“Everybody liked Mae, that’s just all there was to it, and she was a friend to everybody,” said James Joiner, a pallbearer at her Oct. 30 funeral.
Coonfield lived most of her life in Clovis before she died at the age of 90. A 1929 graduate of Clovis High School, she spent much of her life as a widow, having lost her first husband to death early in life and much later marrying Bill Coonfield. She had no children and lived on her own for about two decades after her husband died.
“She was very independent, but over the last few years she had gotten pretty frail,” Joiner said. “She got so thin I would say she would have to stand twice to make a shadow.”
Having joined First Baptist Church in 1948, Deacon Lynn Martin has been a member longer than almost everyone else. That didn’t include Coonfield, who joined the church in 1927.
“She was always faithful, she was always in Sunday school, she wasn’t someone who stood out, but she was a model to all of us,” Martin said. “She was someone you could count on and she was a willing servant of the Lord.”
Most of Coonfield’s family is now deceased, but for many years, Joiner worked with Coonfield’s brother on what was then the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.
“Her brother was a nice fellow and he was a brakeman-conductor on the railroad; he lived in Belen and the trains ran between Clovis and Belen. We would ride the trains, he would come to Clovis and we would see him,” Joiner said. “If I remember right, her husband owned a wrecking yard on what is now Mabry Drive, but that’s been years ago.”
Martin said church members did what they could to help her, but she didn’t ask for much and just wanted to be quietly faithful in her church and Sunday school attendance. Almost to the end of her life, she drove her own car to church.
“The church was always there for her, and of course she was always a faithful servant to the church,” Martin said. “Every Sunday she’d be in her place. She was just always there.”