Distinguished Citizen of Old Town Clovis: Ron Sundquist

Photo by Samantha Golden, Clovis Roundup

Ron Sundquist was presented with the first ever Distinguished Citizen of Old Town Clovis award at the Business Organization of Old Town (BOOT) meeting on Wednesday June 5th.

The award came as a surprise to Sundquist, who introduced himself during the roll call as a longtime historian in Clovis.

“I am the William Saroyan of Clovis,” Sundquist said.

“He is actually the mayor of Old Town,” said Cora Shipley, business owner and BOOT member.

“Unofficially,” said Sundquist.

Sundquist may not have been elected mayor, but he was the first Director and Curator of the Clovis Big Dry Creek Museum, where he painted the three panels above the door, and where he used to stand on the steps in his military uniform to act as a human mannequin.

“He ran the museum for many years,” said Shipley, “He takes photos of everything that we do in Old Town, and he helps anybody that needs it.”

Sundquist is known in the area for much more than his historical work.

“I would say he’s the one person that everybody, if you’re from Clovis, and if you’re ever down here for more than one day, you know who he is.” says Marty Watt, owner of 4th Street Antiques, “I think it was well-deserved recognition that he got from BOOT, because he’s there time and time again to help with things.”

Sundquist is known throughout Old Town as the go-to guy. He was often a narrator or announcer for special events in Old Town, and he is always looking to help out in any way he can.

“He is a stickler for facts and numbers and history. So, he knows those things that nobody else knows,” said Marty, “He has brought me pictures of the three-story Victorian house that was on this corner until 1955, and he knows the people and the story about it.”

“Whatever he’s given for responsibility, he takes it seriously and does it to the best of his ability,” says Marty.

“Cowboy Ron, that’s what I call him,” says Eric Watt, “I see him riding down the street in his hat, I think ‘Cowboy Ron’. As far as old town Clovis goes, he’s like one of the best people down here. He’s been down here forever, ever since I’ve been coming down here.”

Sundquist has lived in Clovis since 1982, and he is known to ride his bicycle around town with a cowboy hat on his head, and his camera around his neck, ready to take photographs of any interesting person or special event.

“He talks to everybody, he is not a stranger,” Shipley said, “anybody that walks the streets of Old Town, he wants to share Old Town with them.”

Sundquist has worked with the Clovis Roundup from the beginning, providing many of the photographs featured in the newspaper.

Marty Watt says Sundquist’s photography is unique, and that he captures things that cannot be replicated, especially animals and still-life images.

Recently, Sundquist retired from his work with the Clovis Roundup newspaper, but he continues to attend his coffee group every morning on Pollasky, by On The Edge coffee shop, and to visit the businesses and regulars of Old Town.

Poetry written by Sundquist, photos taken by or donated by him, and paintings he made, can be found at the Big Dry Creek museum.

If you see him around, with his camera and his cowboy hat, make sure you greet him warmly.