I was a young Texas Highway Patrolman and later a U.S. Border Patrol Agent stationed at Sierra Blanca, Texas from 1968 to 1977. I had the pleasure and distinct honor of working with Ranger Jim Nance. He took me, as a young DPS Patrolman, under his wing and mentored me, as I became a man. I used to go over in the evenings to sit and talk with him.
Sadie usually served his dinner on a TV tray, while he watched TV in the front room of their adobe house. He loved French fries. He would take a knife with butter and run it along each French fry as he ate them. I can still smell them; yum. Jim traded weapons with me some times. I still have a Remington model 722 he traded me for a single shot 30-30 and a single shot .410, a matched pair. He was a horse trader and always got the better end of the deal, but I needed a varmint rifle and he fixed me up. He always carried a model 1911 .45 with the hammer cocked. I was with him when a man asked if that wasn't dangerous. Jim said "hell yes or I wouldn't carry it". Jim Told me "never hesitate when your faced with a life or death decision, as it is better to be tried by 12 than carried by six". Jim helped me honor my father by taking my dad's military 1911 .45 ( he brought home from the war) to his favorite gunsmith in Cd. Juarez, Mexico. When finished he handed it to me and I couldn't believe my eyes. It had been copper coated, then nickel plated and had new custom made (one of a kind) grips made of real gold and silver. A real treasure. Jim refused to allow me to pay him just saying pass on his regards to my Dad. I did. I still treasure this handgun and remember Jim each time I see it. While I have other stories I had better stop now, as I tend to get a little windy at times. Let me just say, Jim Nance was one of the finest law enforcement officers I ever met in my 36 years of service. He was a man of integrity, who lead by example and was respected by everyone, even the bad guys . I saw him back down a Hell's Angels Leader in Van Horn, Texas, with just his fixed stare. One long look and the rider wanted no part of Jim as he could clearly see Jim was the real thing, not to be tested. I loved Jim like a son loves a father.
Deputy Regional Director (retired),
U.S. Department of Homeland Security,