Long-time Mayor Farris Bervig dies

At the conclusion of his 24 years of service as Alamosa’s mayor, Farris Bervig was presented with his official city portrait during his final meeting in November 2009. Kathy Rogers, left, who succeeded him in office, called him a great mentor and friend./Courier file photo by Ruth Heide

ALAMOSA — Farris Bervig, who served as Alamosa’s mayor for nearly a quarter of a century, passed away on Saturday a month short of his 83rd birthday.

Bervig served as Alamosa’s mayor from 1985 to 2009 when he chose not to seek re-election and encouraged Kathy Rogers to seek the vacant post. Rogers, the town’s first female mayor, stated on Monday, “I never stopped calling Farris ‘Mr. Mayor.’ I feel honored to have been on City Council, as Mayor Pro Tem, under his leadership. He served our community with dignity, honor and grace. He was an amazing mentor to me and I’ll be forever grateful to him for the lasting impact he’s had on my life.  He’ll be greatly missed.”

Mayor Bervig served his entire 24 years alongside Councilman Charles Griego, who began his more than three decades of service under Mayor Cliff Hartman, who preceded Bervig. Griego served as Mayor Pro Tem under Bervig’s leadership.

“He was a very fair man,” Griego said. “We are going to miss Farris.”

He said even if Bervig did not agree with some of the other councilors on an issue, “he would always say let’s do it the fair way.”

Griego also credited Bervig with unifying the community during his tenure on council. He said when Bervig joined the council, the community was divided between north side and “the other side of the tracks.” He said he and Bervig sat down and discussed the problem, “and we worked hard on it … At the end we had brought this community together, and it was one community.”

Griego said they worked to bring projects and services to all parts of town. He said he told Bervig it seemed that the only projects going into Ward 4 were jails, “and so he supported me on putting that big rec facility out there, and it continues to grow today with a multipurpose pavilion and the rodeo.”

The council worked as a team to bring projects like those to reality. “The bottom line was to move this community forward and to make sure we did our job,” Griego said.

Bervig served as mayor during the planning stages of the new city hall, fire station, police department and library. Also during his tenure, the city added a recreation center, senior citizen center, Boys and Girls Club, city and county landfill, water treatment plant, golf course clubhouse and restaurant.

Griego said that even when Bervig left the council as mayor, he continued to serve the city on the planning commission. “He still wanted to do something for his community. He always believed in his community big time.”

Griego said, “I am going to miss him because not only did I serve with him, but we became great friends. He became one of my best friends.”

In retail business for 57 years, Bervig managed JC Penney stores for 25 years and his own business, Bervig’s True Value, for 32 years before retiring. He and his family moved to Alamosa in 1974, and he and his wife Shirley raised six children and have numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

A service is scheduled on Friday morning, November 2, at the Living Water Bible Fellowship. See his complete obituary on page 2.