World-class photographer Hial Kenyon Cobean, Jr. passed away Saturday, April 14th, 2007. He was sent off with tremendous love, surrounded by his adoring family and wonderful friends. Kenyon, a Roswell native, was born on May 22, 1927 and was the son of Esther Goyne Cobean and Hial Kenyon Cobean who founded the Cobean Stationary Store with sisters Hattie & Mamie.
Kenyon's education spanned across a myriad of disciplines and schools. He attended UNM, NMMI, the Navy Pacific University and various seminars in New York. His studies ranged from electrical engineering, drafting and advertising to psychology, aeronautics (he was a private pilot, among other things), anthropology and advertising. During his life he worked for the Southwestern Public Service Company in the engineering department, the Record Publishing Company, Humble Oil & Refining and for the Featherstone Development Corporation. His truest love, however, was freelance and fine art photography which he pursued for the majority of his life.
It is in this field that he has shared the most with us. His work has appeared in over 200 American and foreign publications and books, including Time; Life; National Geographic; Newsweek and New Mexico Magazine. He has been awarded numerous awards and is one of the only photographers in history to have received both the bronze and silver medals at the Eastman Kodak "World and Its People" international competition at the World's Fair 1964-65. One of his most impressive photographic adventures took place in the 60's, behind the Iron Curtain of East Berlin. Kenyon smuggled film and camera in and out from under the noses of the fascist Stasi and captured on film the lives of the oppressed East Berliners for all the world to see.
Many students lives changed when they studied under Kenyon who taught at ENMU-R between 1991 and 2001. He shared with them his knowledge of fine art photography, photojournalism and pre-Columbian Mayan anthropology. Some of his students actually changed their majors to photography after having their eyes opened to the secrets of composition and the mysteries of unlocking the limitless beauty this world holds.
Kenyon is survived by his son, Samuel Cobean; sister, Marietta Cobean; step-son, Scott Coll; cousins, Ruth McPhearson & Warren "Buster" Cobean, and ex-wife & friend Florence "Flee" Carr. The family would like to thank the staff at Sunset Villa, especially Kim, Kay, Caroline, "Big Momma" DJ, as well as Doctors Sasidhar, Mark and Newman, friends Herb Avery, Josephine Lovato, Juanita Gavi, Lisa McKenna, Martin Back, Justin Mairot, Norman Fishler and many more people than can be mentioned here for their unswerving love, commitment and compassion towards Kenyon and his family.
Donations to Kenyon's memory should be made to the Assurance Home and/or Johnny Gonzales with the Community Volunteer Program & Prison Door Ministries.
A public interment was held at South Park Cemetery on Wednesday, April 18 at 10:00AM and was followed by a memorial celebration at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church at 11:00AM.
Kenyon reinvented himself continuously through the lens. His essence shines on through the awe-inspiring passion of his art and the intense influence he's had on everyone whose lives he touched.