Pioneering journalist Barbara Funkhouser of Fairacres, N.M., near Las Cruces, the only woman to ever hold the title of editor of the El Paso Times, died Friday at her home. She was 84.
A graduate of New Mexico State University, she was an inspiration and role model for generations of journalists in the Southwest. When she joined the Times staff, there were very few women in journalism.
During her 30-year career at the Times, she edited the newspaper’s arts and entertainment section as a one-woman staff, often reviewing theater and arts performances. She later became editorial page editor and was named editor in 1980. She held that position until her retirement in 1990.
After she retired, she taught at NMSU and wrote editorials for the Las Cruces Sun-News.
Funkhouser was widely respected in journalism circles for her straightforward, blunt honesty and her tell-it-like-it-is style. She also was known for her deep concern for journalism ethics, and her dry and witty sense of humor. She befriended and mentored scores of young journalists.
She grew up on a farm in Fairacres and, as an adult, managed the Tatreault Vineyard there with her mother, Lucille Tatreault. After her mother’s death, she continued operating the vineyard, where the annual you-pick-it grapes event was a tradition among generations of people in the Las Cruces and El Paso areas. She managed the vineyard until her death.
Services are pending.