A tribute to the late historian and preservationist Ward Alan Minge was held at the Old Church Sunday, November 28. A plaque honoring his decades-long effort to save the Historic San Ysidro Church was revealed during the Corrales Historical Society program featuring talks by his neighbor, Michelle Frechette, and long-time society official Alice Glover. For many years, he and his wife, Shirley, lived in the old Gutierrez house they bought in 1953 across from the Old Church. While they devoted years to restoring the historic home and transforming it into what is now Casa San Ysidro Museum, they also worked tirelessly to preserve the Old Church.
They transferred ownership of the home and antique collection to the City of Albuquerque in 1997 for use as a branch of the Albuquerque Museum, and they collaborated with other villagers beginning in 1974 to buy the church from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. The Old Church is now owned by the Village of Corrales and managed by the Corrales Historical Society, for which Minge was a co-founder. He died at his Waterville, Kansas home May 6 of this year, having moved to his native Kansas in 1998. He was 97. Shirley Jolly Minge died in 2004.
For 30 years, Minge served as chief historian for Kirtland Air Force Base, chronicling the research activities of the Air Force Special Weapons Center and the Air Force Weapons Laboratory. He was also a contract historian for several Pueblo governments documenting their land and water rights claims.
Minge was co-founder and first director of the N.M. State Records Center and Archives in Santa Fe. He wrote the draft legislation creating the State’s 1959 Public Records Act that established the Records Center and Archives. He was honored with the State’s Distinguished Public Service Award in 1969.