David F. Cargo, a maverick Republican who became the youngest governor of New Mexico and served two terms in the turbulent 1960s, died Friday at the age of 84.
Cargo had been in an Albuquerque nursing home for about two years following a stroke, but he had remained active. He suddenly fell ill following a day of Fourth of July activities and died after being taken to an Albuquerque hospital, his son Patrick Cargo of Dallas told The Associated Press.
Cargo's son remembered his father's bigger-than-life personality, his humor and love for helping people.
"He was really one of a kind," the younger Cargo said. "We actually saw him last week. He was doing great, he had good energy and he looked really good. We were very thankful that we got to spend time with him."
Known as "Lonesome Dave," Cargo championed the film industry as economic development and established the first state film commission. He also was an early advocate of a policy for apportioning legislative seats that has altered the political landscape in New Mexico over several decades.