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Frank Bond, politician and dedicated falconer, dies at age 70

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Frank Bond

Frank Bond.

Frank M. Bond was a lawyer, fourth-generation New Mexican and a politician whose genuine interest in people gave him an ability to work across the aisle as a Republican in the New Mexico Legislature dominated by Democrats.

But the thing he would most want to be remembered for, said his daughter, Sara Easterson-Bond, was the work he and a handful of friends did starting in the 1970s to save the peregrine falcon.

“Falconry was the nearest and dearest to his heart,” she said.

Bond, 70, a dedicated falconer and partner in the Simons Law Firm, died Christmas Day in Santa Fe of cancer.

Bond was exposed to falconry by a professor while studying Spanish as an undergraduate at Colorado College, Easterson-Bond said, and he continued to pursue that passion throughout his life out of a desire to see the species survive.

He served as president of the International Association for Falconry and Birds of Prey from 2006 to 2012 , but his most significant contribution was working with Cornell University ornithologist Tom Cade to set up and fund The Peregrine Fund.

Bond and a handful of friends helped raise money from corporations, foundations and conservation groups to sustain captive breeding and reintroduction programs long enough for successful recovery.

“When the Endangered Species Act came into existence in 1973, various state and federal agencies also became empowered to help,” Cade said in an interview on The Peregrine Fund website. The four co-founders set up The Peregrine Fund as a nonprofit in 1974.

“At this point it is the only animal to be delisted – to come off the Endangered Species list,” Easterson-Bond said.

Then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt officially announced that the peregrine falcon was recovered in North America in August 1999. The fund today carries out raptor conservation programs around the world.

Frank Bond grew up in the Nambé Valley near Española, a member of a family that moved to New Mexico in the 1880s and established mercantile interests as well as raising sheep and cattle.

After Colorado College, he earned a master’s degree in Spanish at the University of Arizona. He graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 1983.

At the Simons Firm, he represented clients in complex business transactions and before administrative agencies in Washington, D.C., and New Mexico.

He represented Santa Fe’s House District 47 in the Legislature from 1977 to 1980.

He was a member of the “Cowboy Coalition,” in which 11 conservative Democrats joined forces with Republicans to alter the direction of public policy – particularly reducing property tax and shrinking state government.

Gene Samberson of Hobbs, the House speaker at the time, said Bond was “a standup person. Anything he said to me, I could rely on it.” He called Bond intelligent and capable in both the political and legal arenas.

As the minority whip, Samberson recalled, “(Bond) was always instrumental in discussing issues and rounding up votes. He worked well with people.

“Frank could communicate across the aisle. He might disagree with you, but it was just that. It wasn’t disagreeable,” he said.

Bond’s public service efforts were wide-ranging.

Paula Tackett, former director of the Legislative Council Service, said he served on the boards of the School of American Research, the International Folk Art Foundation, Common Cause, New Mexican Citizens for Clean Air and Water and the Sierra Club.

Gov. Garrey Carruthers tapped him to chair the Commission on Higher Education. He resigned in 1990 when he became the Republican nominee for governor. He lost the election to Gov. Bruce King.

He also chaired the New Mexico Boundary Commission and was vice chair of the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute board.

Besides Easterson-Bond, he is survived by his son, Franklin H. Bond, of Santa Fe, and sisters MaryAnn Bunten of Albuquerque and Amy Lynge of San Francisco.

Funeral services are pending under the direction of Berardinelli Mortuary. The family plans a public memorial service at a date to be decided.

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