Sisler donations make better places to live

Charlyne Sisler loved the arts and education. And she put her money where her mouth was.

She set up the Sisler Foundation to ensure eastern New Mexico would benefit culturally when she was gone.

She didn’t want the world to know how much she and her husband Joe — he died in 1994 — were worth, but we know they donated well over $1 million to terrific causes around the region.

The long-neglected Youth Recreational Building, unused for 25 years, is receiving a new life, thanks to $500,000 the Sislers donated to the Clovis’ Parks and Recreation Department.

That’s been in the news this week.

Other Sisler gifts — they’ve all been distributed — have benefited Clovis Community College and its Mesa Theater renovation downtown, Eastern New Mexico University’s music students, the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, multiple churches, a Kiwanis Club and a nursing home.

It even produced a grand piano for Clovis High School a few months after Charlyne Sisler’s death in 2009 at age 91.

We enjoyed multiple chats through the years with one of Clovis’ classiest ladies (she dressed up to go to the mailbox), our topics ranging from politics to local history.

Our favorite story involved Charlyne as a little girl running up and down the aisles of a passenger train, telling everyone she encountered, “I’m from Clovis, New Mexico.”

When her mother asked why she wanted strangers to have this information, she declared, “I wouldn’t want them to think I’m from Texas.”

We’re not surprised her community pride inspired her to create the Sisler Foundation.

We know she’d be pleased to see her final gifts are making Clovis and Portales better places to live.

What a great legacy.