Edwin L. Mechem, 90, a former New Mexico governor, U.S. senator and federal judge, died of congestive heart failure Nov. 27 at his home here.

Judge Mechem, a Republican, was appointed to the U.S. District Court for New Mexico in 1970 and continued to work until his death. He had been elected to four terms as governor, serving from 1951 to 1954, in 1957 and 1958, and again in 1961 and 1962.

He resigned as governor in November 1962 to complete the U.S. Senate term of Democrat Dennis Chavez, who had died in office. Judge Mechem lost his bid to retain the seat in 1964.

Judge Mechem, a native of Alamogordo, N.M., attended what is now New Mexico State University and was a 1939 graduate of the University of Arkansas law school. During World War II, he was a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In the 1930s, he spent three years as a land surveyor with the U.S. Reclamation Service in Las Cruces, N.M., and he had practiced law in Las Cruces and Albuquerque.

Judge Mechem, who was known as "Big Ed," served in the New Mexico House of Delegates in 1947 and 1948. He won the first of his two-year gubernatorial terms in 1950, upsetting Democrat John Miles to become the state's first Republican governor in 20 years.