BOSQUE FARMS—It wasn’t supposed to last this long.
“I thought I’d be mayor for four years and quit,” said Wayne Ake.
He pauses and chuckles. “That didn’t work.”
After 20 years in office — two terms as a councilor and three as mayor — Ake is leaving the village of Bosque Farms governing body with a sense of accomplishment and a bit of relief.
Ake decided to not run for mayor again as he completed his third nonconsecutive term as mayor.
“Twenty years later, on advice of my lovely wife — she and my doctor decided I needed to quit,” Ake said at his final meeting last Thursday, March 19.
Not a native of Bosque Farms, Ake and his wife, Lodi, moved to the rural village 40 years ago, when there was still a cattle guard across Bosque Farms Boulevard.
Born and raised in Datoyna Beach, Fla., Ake took a job with U.S. Fidelity and Guaranty Company after graduating from college. He was transferred to Albuquerque in 1965 and admits the state didn’t suit him.
“I just didn’t like it,” he said matter of factly.
He worked for USF&G for two decades and, during that time, ended up in Des Moines, Iowa, where he met Lodi. Ake was ironically transferred back to Albuquerque, but said after living in New Mexico and then leaving, “it kind of grows on you.”
However, living in Albuquerque just didn’t feel right. Ake spent a lot of time on his grandparents farm growing up and always preferred the rural setting to being “in town.”
He and Lodi bought property in the village and built a home, as well as their own businesses — Bosque Equipment and Lodi’s Beads, respectively.
As a local business owner, Ake connected with residents quickly and, eventually, the conversation turned to politics and helping his community.
“People encouraged me to become involved and run for village council,” he said. “I did that and got on the council. Then they convinced me to run for mayor.”
When Ake was elected to his first term as mayor, the village was without a clerk. That was remedied in March 2005 when clerk/Administrator Gayle Jones was hired.
“When I started, (Ake) was retired, he’d sold the rental business, so he was coming in about six hours a day,” Jones recalled. “He had office hours. If people came in to complain or called, he was there. Basically, all I had do was my job. He spoiled me.”
Ake eventually went back to work for KL House Construction, cutting back his office hours to about an hour a day.
Ake served two consecutive terms as mayor before taking a step back to run for council. He served on the council for four years, before running for and being elected mayor one last time in 2016.
During his final meeting last week, Ake thanked Jones for her dedication to the village and for working along side him.
“We’ve been almost like husband and wife,” he said. “We’ve fussed and fought, laughed and cried.”
Jones called Ake a “wonderful boss,” who approached things “in a godly way. He did not make knee-jerk decisions. He took time to think and ponder and pray about it, and I appreciated that.”
Bosque Farms Police Chief Paul Linson thanked the outgoing mayor for his unwavering support of both himself and the department.
“You are definitely a man of your word,” Linson said. “You are a true professional, and I am amazed at your zealous dedication to our community.”
Ake said the village had an “excellent, excellent mayor” in Mayor-elect Russell Walkup, who will be stepping down from his council position to take the new position.
“My advice is you have to be accessible. Some calls you don’t want to take, but that’s part of it,” he said. “You can’t wear your feelings on your sleeve.”
Despite advising to keep feelings in check, when asked what accomplishment he was proudest of during his 20 years of public service, Ake didn’t name any of the usual items, such as new buildings or paving streets.
Instead, he cited a time the village’s heart was on display for all to see.
“I would say I am proudest of being allowed to help the people who put together the fundraiser for Mike Malarsie,” he said.
In January 2010, Bosque Farms native Senior Airman Michael J. Malarsie was crossing a bridge with 12 fellow airmen near the southern village of Ashoque in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device was detonated. He suffered neck and head injuries, ultimately losing his sight.
“That’s the thing I’m proudest of,” Ake said. “To see this village come together like that. I don’t know of a person in this village that was not involved, and it was all positive.”
Ake said he was going to miss working with the residents and helping them with their problems where he could.
“I’m sure there are some other great places in New Mexico, but this place is so unique,” he said. “This was a lot of fun. This is just a great place to be.”