My family has been in New Mexico for five generations, with ancestors coming to the Southwest in the late 1800s. We have contributed to building up the communities where we have lived.
I married Rebecca Gwynn from Grand Prairie, TX, in 1974, while we were both students at Brigham Young University (BYU). We looked forward to a family, and were delighted with each of our children as they joined our family. These children have brought us much happiness and we delight to associate with them. They are all talented and accomplished adults, making a difference in their communities.
My mother, Marjorie Pope, was a energetic woman of rare intelligence. She was born in Taos, off the Plaza, and grew up in Carson, NM.
My father, Alden Reid Stradling, was from Farmington NM. When he returned from WWII, where he piloted B-29 bombers in the Pacific Theater, he started farming in Belen New Mexico.
My early years were spent on that farm with two brothers and three sisters. I learned to enjoy family, to work, to ride a horse, and appreciate clear blue skies, and mountains to the east. However, elementary schools and teachers in Belen at that time were difficult. Later experiences made me appreciate how important good schooling can be.
Dad had construction experience and a quality ethic and so was asked to be construction supervisor for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel building program. We moved away from New Mexico for a while. My teens were spent in the Midwest: Ponca City OK, Cedar Rapids IA, and Duluth MN, where Dad built chapels.
Dad returned to his great love of flying and we spent two years in Albuquerque as he regained his flying certification (I attended McKinley Jr High and Highland HS). We then moved to Wichita, KS and then Cedar Rapids, IA again has he worked his way up into that business. My mother (the girl who grew up on the dry flats of Carson, NM!) loved it that water regularly fell from the skies and plants grew on their own in Iowa! I graduated high school from Washington HS in Cedar Rapids, knowing that I enjoyed science and mathematics.
I went on the Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, were I received BS and MS degrees in Physics. I later received MS and PhD degrees in Physics/Applied Science from University of California-Davis, where I worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
My ancestors did not have opportunities for education and worked with their hands. My grandfathers – William Alfred Pope and Biness Harvey Stradling – worked to support their families. Most people had to figure out how to make a living on the frontier.
– Will Pope, from Mineral Wells, TX, tried a number of things, including farming in Colorado, running an early Sinclair petroleum distribution business in Santa Fe, owning a tourist curio business, and running a motel in Romeroville, NM, near Las Vegas, NM. During WWII, he took his family to farm in Carson, NM
– Biness Stradling, from St. Johns AZ, was a builder, and worked wherever there was opportunity: Los Alamos Labs, Albuquerque, Los Angeles. Eventually he had a motel in Snowflake, AZ.
My great grandfathers were early settlers in NM. William ‘Kyle’ Shupe came from Virginia, taught school in Buleuh, near Abiquiu, NM at the turn of the century, and then organized a community in Carson, NM, on the mesa across the Rio Grande Gorge from Taos, NM. The school house and post office he and his sons built are still there. They blasted the road from Carson down to Taos Junction bridge over the Rio Grande. He wrote his life story, an epic of the time.
My great grandfather, Cornelius Jasper Stover, came to the West from Pickens, Georgia to Manassa, Colorado, where he was a farmer. He worked as a cook in the logging camps of Northern New Mexico.
Paid for by Stradling4Council, Ken Shelley, Treasurer