Bobby Mayfield, highly respected for his integrity as a World War II pilot and later in life as a Las Cruces lawyer, died on Nov. 18 from complications stemming from neuropathy. He was 87.
Mayfield had excelled as a military pilot during WWII and afterward until leaving the military in 1953 to return home to pick up his family’s farming tradition. He completed his undergraduate education at New Mexico State University and later earned a master’s in economics, also from NMSU.
Mayfield was overseeing farming operations in the Mesilla Valley and ranching operations in northern New Mexico when he was urged to run for state office. In 1960, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served four terms, through 1968. That year, he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for governor.
After that failed political campaign, he changed direction, and at the age of 45, Mayfield enrolled in the University of New Mexico School of Law, earning his J.D. in 1972.
He returned to his hometown of Las Cruces, where he built a successful law practice, focusing mostly on business law and litigation. The political bug remained: however, and in 1974, he again mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. After that, he turned his focus to his law practice.
Albuquerque Journal article: “Military Pilot Became Star in State Legislature.”