Arra Burton Fite to Bernice Mabel Fite

Arra Burton Fite (William, Thomas, David, Leonard, Johannes) Arra Burton Fite Son of William Monroe Fite and Lucy Jane Elgar, was born Nov. 28, 1886, near Cloudcroft, N. Mex., in what is now Otero County. His parents soon moved to Hope, N. Mex., where Burton lived on the farm until about a year after his mother's death, when he was seven years old. He then lived in the Sacramento Mountains with friends of the family for about six years, when he "went on his own", spending some of the winters in La Luz where he lived with his brother Flennoy, and went to school. Most of the time he worked as cowboy until the fall of 1907 when he left the ranch and entered school at the New Mexico A & M College. He graduated with a B. S. degree, majoring in Agriculture in 1915 and took his Masters degree in 1924.
   In spite of the fact that he worked his entire way through college, Burton was most active in student activities. Among other things he was Vice-President of the Agricultural Club, a member of the Student Commission for four years, President of the Columbian Literary Society, President of the Y. M. C. A., member of the Debating Team, Business Manager of the Athletic Association, President of the Alpha Pi Alpha Fraternity, President of the Senior Class and Class Orator.
Burton was married Dec. 27, 1917, in Lawton, Okla., to Mabel H. Harper. After graduating from college Burton followed a professional career until his retirement in 1947. His professional career was quite well summarized by the Editor of "The New Mexico Stockman", a state Livestock magazine, from which we quote:
   "A. B. Fite", since 1940 was Director of the Extension Service at New Mexico A. & M College, retired from active educational work after forty years of connection with New Mexico A. & M. as student, teacher and executive, during which he has performed outstanding service to agricultural education and to the cause of practical advancement of junior and senior agriculture throughout New Mexico.
   Under his direction the New Mexico Extension Service has been brought to its highest state of efficiency since its establishment.
   Fite is a native son of New Mexico. He was born in Cloudcroft, N. Mex., in Otero County, in 1886; was reared on a farm and ranch and left a cattle ranch in the upper Jornada in the fall of 1907 to enter the then struggling New Mexico A.& M. College to secure his education. He has been with the college in some capacity ever since. At his entrance, the college maintained a preparatory or High School division so that both Fite's preparatory and college work were done there. Finding it necessary to work his way through college, he was given a job in 1912 as student assistant in horticulture, work he continued until his graduation in 1915. After graduation Mr. Fite continued his work in horticulture for 20 years, doing teaching and research work in fruits and vegetables. During those years he was author of 20 experiment station bulletins on various phases of horticulture and insect control. Among his contributions was the major part he had in the development of both the yellow and white Grano onion, which has become famous throughout the west and in demand in all national market stands which has been worth many millions of dollars to growers in the southwestern area.
   Fite left the experiment station in 1935 to become extension horticulturist which gave him an opportunity to carry to the farmers of the state the results of his extensive research work, an opportunity of which he made good use. He gave up his work in horticulture in 1937 to become County Agent Leader and in 1940 became Director of Extension. In the Director's position, Mr. Fite has extended close and efficient cooperation to all branches of the state's livestock industry and building a stronger livestock program in the extension service. He has seldom missed a convention of either the cattle or wool growers association and has worked closely with livestock leadership throughout the state.
  Mr. Fite has taken particular interest in expanding the 4-h club program in New Mexico and has been a major force in bringing about the large and active membership now existing. Mr. Fite has been in declining health for several years past, which led to his retirement from active educational work.
   During World War II , in addition to his regular work as Director of the State Agricultural Extension Service, with its extra assignments, Burton served as Vice Chairman of the State War Board, Chairman of the State Agricultural Planning Board, Member of the State Conservation Committee, Vice Chairman of the State Rural Rehabilitation Committee, Associate member of the Dona Ana County Draft Board, and at the end of the  war he received a nice Certificate of Service Award signed by the Adjutant General, the Governor of New Mexico and Harry Truman, President of the United States.
   On retirement from the position of Director of the Extension Service, Burton received several presents and awards among which was a fine Gruen watch, presented by a farm organization; a bronze plaque citation, for outstanding service to 4-H Clubs, presented by the State 4-H Leaders; a large easy chair from the state office force; and a very attractive Distinguished Service Award Certificate, presented by the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, which read as follows: "This is to certify that A. B. Fite is hereby awarded this certificate in recognition of outstanding service beyond ordinary duties and normal responsibilities to New Mexico Agriculture. This service having been performed as a result of an unselfish desire to advance the wellbeing of farm people", signed by the secretary and president of the Bureau.
   Burton and Mabel retired to their 30 acre irrigated farm, three miles from the College which is devoted to the growing of fruit and cotton.

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Mabel Harper Fite Wife of Arra Burton Fite Mabel Harper Fite , was born Nov. 21, 1895, at Darlington, Okla.. She is the daughter of Rev. Richard H. Harper, D.D., and his wife Ella May Boggs. Mabel comes from a family of ministers. Her parents spent their lives as Indian Missionaries in New Mexico and Okla.. Her Grandfather Harper and his three sons were all ministers. They came from Plymouth, England in 1882. Her Grandfather Harper was a pioneer missionary in Kansas and Colorado, and built the first Congregational Church in Wichita, Kansas. He died in Cortez, Colorado in 1892, and is buried there. Her Grandfather Boggs was also a pioneer missionary in Kansas and built the first church in Wichita of which he was pastor. He hauled lumber by ox team, from Topeka, to build the first frame house in Wichita, Kansas. At the Centennial celebration of the First Presbyterian Church of Wichita, a few years ago, a monument was erected to his memory. Her Great grandfather Boggs was pastor of one Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania for fifty years. Her Great-Great Grandfather Boggs was also a minister. Mabel attended New Mexico A. & M. College and taught school in New Mexico and Oklahoma until she and Burton were married.
Arra Burton Fite and Mabel Harper had the following children:   The present address of Burton and Mabel is:
  Route 2, Box 216
  Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Wilber Lewis Fite (Burton, William, Thomas, David, Leonard, Johannes) Wilbur Fite Oldest son of Burton Fite and Mabel Harper, was born Feb. 3, 1919 in El Paso, Texas, while his parents were living at State College, N. Mex. Wilber graduated from Las Cruces Union High School; and from New Mexico A. & M. College with an A. B. degree in Business Administration in 1940. He also received his Commission as 2nd Lt. in the Reserve Officers Training Corps. Wilber paid much of his expenses in College by working all vacant periods in the Lookadoo filling station at Mesilla Park. He opened the station at 6 a. m. and closed it at 8 p. m. He was a member of the Phi Beta Theta Fraternity. Wilbur worked for the L. E. Fite Realty and Insurance Co. of San Antonio until Apr. 12, 1942, when he reported for active duty in the Army at Fort Benning, Ga. He was assigned to the 382nd Infantry Regiment, 96th Infantry Division at Camp Adair, Oregon, under Col. Macey Dill. He was promoted to 1st Lt. Sept. 22, 1942 and to Capt. April. 3, 1943;   received special training in amphibious operations in command of Co. K , ; 382nd Infantry, landed on Leyte on Oct. 20, 1944 in the first wave of amphibious landing, and his company was credited with placing the first American flag on Philippine soil in the Philippine Liberation Campaign. Wilber was wounded Oct. 27, 1944, in the Leyte Campaign and was awarded the Purple Heart Medal and received the Bronze Star "For Heroic Service in the Leyte Campaign"'. He was hospitalized in New Guinea for sometime but returned to the command of his company in time for the initial landing on Okinawa, Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945. He received a serious head wound Apr. 14, 1945 and was taken to Guam for hospitalization, then to Hawaii and later to the States. For his part in the Okinawa Campaign he received the Purple Heart and Oak Leaf Cluster and Silver Star for gallantry in action. He was promoted to the rank of Major, May 24, 1945, and received his discharge Dec. 12, 1945. After resting for a few months Wilber resumed his work with his uncle, L. E. Fite of San Antonio and is at present engaged in the Real Estate and Insurance business in San Antonio, Texas. He was married Dec. 25, 1940 to Alma Grace Beauchamp, in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Alma was born Sept. 26, 1921 in Lovington, N. Mex. She is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Beauchamp. Alma was a Home Economics major in her Junior year at New Mexico A. & M. College when she and Wilber were married. Wilber and Alma have three children:   The present address of Wilber and Alma is:
  2606 W. Gramercy Pl.
  San Antonio, Texas.

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Albert William Fite (Burton, William, Thomas, David, Leonard, Johannes) Albert Fite Son ofArra Burton Fite and Mabel Harper, was born at State College, April 1, 1920. He graduated from New Mexico A & M College in Electrical Engineering in 1942, and worked, during World War II for the Philco Co. of Philadelphia, in war research work; assisted in the development of some of the first radar units used by the Allied Forces in World War II. He worked for the New Mexico School of Mines in research from 1945-1947, and has been employed at the Sandia Base, in Albuquerque, N. Mex. in research and administration for the War Dept. since 1947. With the exception of his board and room, Albert paid practically all of his expenses in both high school and college by delivering the morning and evening newspapers to both the College and Mesilla Park communities. He got up at 5 a. m. and rode his bicycle about 25 miles a day. From the time he entered high school Albert spent his spare time working with radios and in his junior year of college he built an exceptionally good public address system with the strongest amplifier at the College. This P.A. system proved very profitable, especially with the College orchestra in playing for dances, etc. Albert was married Aug. 15, 1946 in Albuquerque, N. M., to Jean Warburton Stokes. Jean was born in Escondido, Calif., May 12, 1925. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Morris Stokes of Albuquerque, where Mr. Stokes is employed as engineer for the Soil Conservation Service. Jean graduated from the University of N. Mex., in 1948. Albert and Jean have one child: The present address of Jean and Albert is:
  5810 Aspen Drive
  Albuquerque , N.M.
Burta Raye Fite(Burton, William, Thomas, David, Leonard, Johannes) Burta Rae Fite Daughter of Arra Burton Fite and Mabel Harper, was born June 15, 1922, at State College, N. Mex.. Burta graduated from the Las Cruces Union High School and New Mexico A & M College. She was a leader in student activities, and was Junior Prom Queen in High School. In her senior year of college she was President of the Inter-Church Student Council; Secretary of the International Relations Club; Member of Home Economics Club, Pep club, church choir and pledge in the Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority. While in her senior year she married Robert W. Gray, a former student at New Mexico A & M College who took C.A.A. training; was aircraft inspector and received his wings and commission as 2nd Lt. in the Army Air Corps in July 1942. Robert Gray, son of Rev. and Mrs. W. F. Gray of Las Cruces, N. Mex., was born Sept. 29, 1920 in Hot Springs, N. Mexico. He and Burta were married July 5, 1942 in Las Cruces. Robert flew across the Atlantic in his B-26 bomber, landing in Africa, where he took part in the battle for North Africa. He was shot down over the Sicilian Straits and he and his crew lost their lives Mar. 22, 1943. Robert was cited by his commanding officer, Maj. Robert R. McCord, as follows: Lt. Gray displayed utmost courage and determination, flying at mast level in the face of an intense anti-aircraft fire; his plane was severely damaged by a succession of direct hits. Resolutely maintaining formation, he continued on over the convoy in a bomb run which destroyed a light cruiser and a merchantman, and damaged several other vessels before his plane was shot down into the sea. After Robert was lost, Maj. Robert Darling of Kirtland Field presented Burta with the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal, in recognition of Robert's service.
After Robert went overseas Burta returned home and completed her College work, receiving her degree in Home Economics. She taught in Albuquerque for a year, then worked as Assistant County Home Agent for a year. While working as Home Agent she met Edwin M. Kilian, a Navy student in the University of New Mexico." Ed" received his Ensign commission Feb.,1 945 and he and Burta, were married March 26, 1945, in Oakland, Calif., just before Ed sailed for the Pacific Islands. Edwin McVay Kilian, husband of Burta Fite was born Dec. 1, 1924 in Greensboro, N. C.. He is the son of Ed and May Kilian of Albuquerque, N. Mex.. Edwin graduated from the University of N. Mex. soon after returning from overseas. He served in the Navy from Sept. 1942 to March 1946; assigned to the U.S.S. Mt. Olympus and in the Pacific Campaign, served under Capt. Dillon and Vice Admiral Wilkinson, Commander of the 3rd Amphibious Forces. When Ed arrived in Hawaii he met, for the first time, his brother-in-law, Maj. Wilber L. Fite who was hospitalized there for a while on his return journey to the States. Ed is at present engaged in the Real Estate and Insurance Business with his father in Albuquerque, N. Mex.. Burta and Ed have two children:  The present address of Burta and Ed is:
  1043 N. Vassar
  Albuquerque, N. M.
Bernice Mabel Fite (Burton, William, Thomas, David, Leonard, Johannes) Bernice Fite Daughter of Arra Burton Fite and Mabel Harper was born Feb. 2,1925 at State College, N. Mex. Bernice finished Las Cruces High School during the War and worked for a time as secretary for the Army in Oregon and Washington. She returned for a term of school at New Mexico A. & M. College, then worked for the Soil Conservation Service for a summer, and enrolled in the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. She was Senior Prom Queen in High School; pledge president of her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, at the University and a member of the newspaper staff at N. M. U.. While in school at the University she met Henry McDonald Willis Jr., a Navy student at the University, and roommate of Ed Kilian. Bernice and "Hank" were married in Albuquerque Oct. 21, 1945. Henry McDonald Willis, .Jr., was born in Fayetville, Tennessee, Apr. 19, 1925. He joined the Navy in July 1943 and after receiving his commission as Ensign at the N. M. U.was assigned to the Ship U.S.S. PC 1243, under Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander of the Marianas, Pacific War theatre. Hank was discharged July 19,1946, and graduated from New Mexico A.& M. College in 1947 in Business Administration. While attending the University, Hank was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity, President of the Student Senate and Business Manager of the school paper. After his graduation from College Hank worked as manager of a Sporting Goods Store in Las Cruces until 1949, when he was employed at Sandia Base in Test Operations, Field Test Dept., Sandia Corporation. Bernice and Hank have two children:    Their present address is :
   237 N. Cardenas Drive
   Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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