Good lawyers never escape memory

By Don McAlavy: CNJ columnist

I have known a lot of lawyers in Clovis and mingled with many of them. Here are some of the lawyers that have helped me:

A great friend, Wesley Quinn, was a Republican, as was my father. I’d asked Quinn if he could help me with my father’s will after he had died.

One of my father’s bankers said he was going to be the administrator of the will, and that’s when Quinn had the power to step in and made me the administrator. His son, Stephen (Steve), practiced law with his father and later Steve became one of the best district judges in Clovis.

Fred Tharp Jr. became a good friend when I needed help. He saved me from being sued when I did a column on a “madam” in Clovis. Fred and I graduated from Clovis High in 1950.

Now we come to Dan B. Buzzard, who I found to be a good lawyer who set me straight when I wanted to write a column on some of the bootleggers and name names. I would come in his office at 704 Mitchell and a take up his time in what I could or couldn’t say about the bootleggers. Some of the bootleggers got to be my friends, but I can’t name them.

Many lawyers had offices in that 700 block on Mitchell.

I did a painting for Buzzard one time. It illustrated a man on his horse under a tree with a rope around his neck, hands tied, and sitting on a horse. A man with his Bible out asked the man to be hung if he needed a preacher. “Preacher! . . . #!**, what I need is a da#! good lawyer!”

When Buzzard moved from Clovis, I guess he gave the painting to Morris Stagner. When I was in Clovis two years ago someone told me there was a painting with my name on it in a lawyer’s office at 712 Mitchell. I was puzzled until I went and saw my painting hanging on the wall. I sure hope Stagner gets some comfort from it. I’d love having it back.

I had a phone call from attorney Harold O. Gore in 1969 asking if I wanted to adopt three kids a dad in California didn’t want to take care of. I said, “Why sure, I’d be glad to adopt those three kids.” They were ages 4 to 8. I gave them my last name.

Later my youngest daughter, being in the army in Texas, went to visit her real father near Houston. After that visit, she called me on the phone and said, “You’re my real father, Daddy!”

Michael T. Garrett at 920 North Main was a good friend, too.

His oldest brother, Gene, was a student with me in the old Claud School north of Clovis in the late 30s and early 40s. Mike helped me straighten out the oil drilling business of the late 20s in Curry County so my column could be correct. He even told me of George W. Bush’s visit with Mike in his lawyer office in Clovis in the early 1990s. George Bush (our current president) was in the oil business in Texas with his father and looking for oil lands to explore.


Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at:

dmcalavy@telescopelab.com