Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Keith & Letta Wofford

Keith and Letta Wofford


Honored December, 1994

Keith and Letta Wofford

Looking back to the time when she was a young New York City society girl, Letta Wofford recalled that she grew up with a fantasy. “I never wanted to live in the East,” she told an interviewer in the late 1990s. “I thought that if I could do exactly what I wanted, it would be to marry a cowboy, live in the West, have four kids, and have lots of money. And to a certain extent, that’s what I did--all but the money part, of course.”

And the money part was OK, too. Letta’s was a life overflowing with richness, with the richest thing of all being the 59 years of marriage she shared with her husband, Keith Wofford. Together they enriched the lives of their children, their friends, their village, their wider community, Indian art, local history. And together, as a couple, they entered the ranks of Santa Fe Living Treasures.

The story of their union could hardly have been more unlikely, or more colorful. She was a finishing-school graduate with roots in Chicago, Boston and New York. He was a cattleman from Oklahoma. Her first visit to New Mexico came in 1929, when she was a visitor in Pecos, at rodeo promoter Tex Austin’s Forked Lightning Ranch, which later was owned by actress Greer Garson and her oilman husband Buddy Fogelson. His first visit came in 1937, when he sought relief for his rheumatism in the healing waters of the southern town named Hot Springs, later changed to Truth or Consequences.