Socorro historian dies

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On Friday, Feb. 15, historian and former Socorro resident Spencer Wilson passed away. Wilson was a professor of history at New Mexico Tech for many years. He was a life member of the Socorro County Historical Society, for which he served as president for years.

He was instrumental in getting the Hammel Brewery building transferred to the historical society, as well as its initial preservation. He authored many articles on New Mexico history, including the “Civil War in New Mexico” and the “Ocean-to-Ocean Highway.”

He also wrote several chapters of the books published for New Mexico’s Centennial. Wilson retired in the late 1980s from New Mexico Tech and moved to Albuquerque, where he was instrumental in forming the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad into a major excursion railroad, documenting the history of the railroad, and authoring several books on the Cumbres that are the bible for the historic railroad and still in print.

He was well-known throughout the state, not just in Socorro.

“I remember Spencer for his incredible sense of humor — he was a very witty gentleman who had this marvelous laugh — and he employed it frequently.” — Valerie Kimble, New Mexico Tech.