Name: Theron Goynes
School: Prairie View A&M University BA, Master of Arts in Educationational Administration at Arizona State College at Flagstaff (now named Northern Arizona University)
Major: Business Administration and minoring in secondary education.
Around these parts, former North Las Vegas City Councilman Theron Goynes is the closest thing to a living legend the city might have. After all, one doesn't garner the distinction of having both a park and elementary school named for you without good reason.
The honors came to Goynes in the late 1990s. Now 81, he was made the namesake for the Theron H. Goynes Park, 3909 W. Washburn Road, in 1998. Goynes in 2005 shared with his wife the honor of seeing the Clark County School District open the Theron H. & Naomi D. Goynes Elementary School, 3409 W. Deer Springs Way.
City Planner Michelle Menart said the City Council chose Goynes as honoree when it came time to name a new park as the 20th century drew toward a close.
"The suggestion was made that Goynes had contributed so much to the community it should be named after him," she said. "That was what everyone decided was the best thing."
Born in 1929 in Texarkana, Texas, Goynes graduated high school in 1947 and went on to attend Prairie View A&M University in south Texas, majoring in business administration and minoring in secondary education.
"I graduated in 1952 and went on to start my life," he said.
Later that year, Goynes joined the U.S. Air Force and served four years. He earned a Master of Arts degree in educational administration in 1963 at the Arizona State College at Flagstaff, which was later renamed Northern Arizona University.
Goynes said he met the love of his life when he took a teaching job in Nashville, Ark., and it was love at first sight.
"It was during our first faculty meeting," he said. "We dated a year before marrying. But I knew it was right long before then."
Goynes has been married to the same woman for 52 years, a feat he credits God with making possible.
"I think the first thing that will make a relationship work is to have a strong belief in your personal savior, Jesus Christ," he said. "Then you have to treat her as you would like to be treated by others."
Goynes and his family came to Nevada in 1964, recruited by the Clark County School District.
Goynes worked as an elementary school principal and teacher in the district until 1992. Naomi Goynes also taught school in the district.
"Those were some great years," he said. "I look back on those times and smile."
Goynes served 20 years on the North Las Vegas City Council, with his tenure ending in 2001. He worked tirelessly to promote education and growth in the valley.
"I was mayor pro tem for 12 of those years," he said. "I feel like we got a lot done, and I'm proud of my work there."
Goynes said he's now at an age when he can enjoy the fruits of his labor.
"I have three children and five grandchildren," he said. "Now I'm just trying to do the grandfather thing."
Goynes said he has always felt honored to have these facilities named for him, and he said he feels he deserves the recognition.
"I see it as a sign that someone cares about the work that I've done," he said. "I'm very happy about it."