Alvina Box Spencer
Alvina Box Spencer, 62, of Boise, Idaho, died Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2003, in St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. The cause of death was meningitis and pneumonia with complications from diabetes and renal failure, said a representative of Summers Funeral Homes in Meridian, Idaho.
Mrs. Spencer, who was also known as "Butterfly" or "Nanasich," was born on February 13, 1941, in Towaoc, the daughter of Pearl Posey Box and Fritz Bent Box. She was a member of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.
She worked at the Idaho Hunger Action Council in Boise, where she helped to establish the Child Care Food Program. She was also a member of the Native American Indian Coalition and the Painted Horse War Dance Society, both in Boise.
In Ignacio, Mrs. Spencer helped develop the Shining Mountain Diabetes Program, which included broadcasting diabetes health-awareness issues in Ute on radio station KSUT, and working with former tribal chairman, John E. Baker Jr.
She enjoyed speaking the Ute language, bear dancing, attending powwows, playing pinochle, gambling, camping, reading, traveling, and family get-togethers, which were highlighted by the time she spent spoiling her grandchildren.
"My grandmother has taught me many lessons. I would never be the person I am today without her guidelines," said Mrs. Spencer’s granddaughter, Chelsey Shira.
Mrs. Spencer was preceded in death by her husband, Jack Clayton Spencer.
She is survived by her children, Axle Joseph of Bayfield, Sue Joseph of Boise, Buff Joseph of Ignacio, and Winnie Spencer-Dealy of Boise; her sisters, Shirley Esparza of Ignacio, June Box-Tibbets of Portland, Ore., Ernie Watts, Joyce Frost, and Karen Box, all of Ignacio; her brother, Greg Box of Ignacio; her six grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Mrs. Spencer’s family would like to thank the staff of Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise; the staff of San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington; the staff of Mercy Medical Center in Durango; and the staff of the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque for the care they gave Mrs. Spencer.
The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Monday at the Rolling Thunder Hall in Ignacio, and the burial will be at the Ouray Memorial Cemetery. The family welcomes everyone for lunch at Rolling Thunder Hall after the burial.
Jerrie Lynn Dolen
Jerrie Lynn Dolen, 49, who lived in Durango from 1964 to 1972, died unexpectedly at her home in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2003. The cause of death was not disclosed
Ms. Dolen was born June 4, 1954, in Colorado City, Texas, the daughter of Marilyn Mace and Isaac Stuart Dolen, Jr. She grew up in Durango, graduating from Durango High School in 1972. Then she attended Texas Tech University and the University of Houston, graduating with a degree in art history in 1976.
Ms. Dolen was a goldsmith and jewelry designer. She owned two galleries, one in Santa Fe and one in Couer d’Alene, Idaho. She later earned her certification as a real-estate appraiser in West Palm Beach, Fla. Overseas travel was a passion. She was especially fond of the Caribbean island of Aruba and visiting the Taj Mahal.
"Jerrie enjoyed spoiling her niece, Shannon, to the extreme. Theirs was a very close relationship, and she will be greatly missed." said her sister Molly’o Dolen Hoover.
Karen Marcea, another sister, said, "One of Jerrie’s greatest joys was surprising her grandmother, Beatrice, with cookies and other treats. Ms. Dolen’s third sister, Anita Dolen, said their telephone conversations were so long that her ears would literally go to sleep.
Ms. Dolen is survived by her grandmother, Beatrice L. Gilmore of Mancos; her sisters: Karen J. Marcea of Mancos, Anita A. Dolen of Green Mountain Falls and Molly’o Dolen Hoover of Bayfield; her special friend, Renee Dolen; and her nieces and nephew.
Ms. Dolen will be cremated. Plans for a memorial service will be announced.
Susan V. Ptolemy
Susan V. Ptolemy, 56, a Durango native and longtime resident, died in Peoria, Ariz., on Friday, Sept. 26, 2003. She died at home from mullerian cancer, her family said.
Ms. Ptolemy was born Sept. 28, 1946, the daughter of Margaret C. and Roger A. Ptolemy. She grew up in Durango and attended Fort Lewis College. She later earned certification as a licensed practical nurse and worked at Community Hospital for many years.
In 1984, she moved to Peoria, Ariz., to work for the Royal Oaks and Sun Health medical organizations in the Sun City area.
"Susan was known as a sincere and caring individual. She never forgot a birthday or a special occasion, and maintained many relationships through correspondence, taking full advantage of e-mail," said her brother Roger Ptolemy.
She enjoyed travel in Europe and America.
Ms. Ptolemy is survived by her mother, Margaret C. Ptolemy of Peoria and Durango; two brothers, Roger K. Ptolemy and Robert W. Ptolemy, both of Durango; three sisters, Mary C. Patterson and Cathy A. Holingsworth, both of Durango, and Peggy C. Roth of Parker; a nephew and two nieces.
She was cremated. A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the First United Methodist Church. Memorial contributions may be made to the La Plata County Historical Society, 3065 West Second Ave., Durango, CO 81301.
Owen Kempton Tribou
Owen Kempton Tribou, 81, died Friday, Sept. 26, 2003, at his home in Durango. He died of natural causes, his family said. Mr. Tribou had moved to Durango to be near his family within the last month.
He was born on Sept. 21, 1922, in Gray, Maine, the son of Robertine (Lizzotte) Tribou and Charles Tribou. He served in the U.S. Army for 30 years, including World War II, and retired as a master sergeant in 1969 in El Paso, Texas.
"The greatest loves of his life were his grandchildren and golf. That’s all he lived for. That was my Pappy," granddaughter Billie Jo Rapoza said.
He is survived by his grandchildren, Billie Jo Rapoza of Durango, Charles Rapoza of Texarkana, Texas, Vicki Deaton of Gray, Ky., Roxanne Tracey of New York, N.Y., and Joshua Trible of El Paso; and five great-grandchildren.
A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado in Grand Junction.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 4031, 1550 Main Ave., Durango, or to Billie Jo Rapoza to offset funeral costs, 21134 U.S. Highway 160 West, Durango.
Blanche Marie ‘Tootsie’ English
Blanche Marie "Tootsie" English, 87, who once lived in Ignacio, died Friday, Sept. 26, 2003, in Albuquerque. She died of complications of a fractured hip, her son Robert English said.
Mrs. English was born Nov. 24, 1915, in Belcourt, N.D., where she was a member of the Turtle Mountain Band. She was the daughter of Francis and Margaret Delorme.
She graduated from the the Nursing School at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan., then worked as a registered nurse for the Indian Health Services and St. Joseph Hospital in Albuquerque. She was a member of the Indian Haskell Club, and a volunteer for the senior program of RSVP.
She was married for 62 years to Samuel Elliot English, who died in October 2002. The family moved to Ignacio in the early 1950s and lived there until 1964.
"She took everyone into her home and treated them like they were her children," said Roni Anderson. "She had a marvelous sense of humor and a flair for style with her love of purple and her purple hair. That’s why we call her ‘our purple-winged butterfly.’"
"She was a grandma to all the kids," added her son Robert English.
Mrs. English is survived by two sisters, Estella Garcia and Rhea Kness; her children, Samuel F. English, Ronald R. English, Robert G. English, Donna M. English and Thomas E. English; 13 grandchildren, Sam English Jr., Valerie Herrera, Michelle Aguilar, Haley English, Kai English, Kalub English, Sky English, Fawn Pahcoddy, Ronay English, David Astor, Feather Astor, Ace Astor and Quiana English; and 18 great-grandchildren.
The funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. today at the Gate of Heaven Mausoleum Chapel, 7999 Wyoming Blvd. NE in Albuquerque. Top of Page
Rosendo ‘Ross’ Christifer Silva
Ross Christifer Silva died Friday, Sept. 26, 2003, at Mercy Medical Center after a short bout with cancer, according to family members. He was 76.
Mr. Silva was born Nov. 27, 1926, in Ignacio, the son of Joe and Irene Silva. Mr. Silva lived in Durango most of his life. He loved his job as a hard-rock miner at the Dixeylyn and Idarado mines. He also worked for the Farmington School District and Durango School District 9-R.
Mr. Silva married Josephine C. Barry on July 3, 1953, in Aztec. He served in the Army during the Korean War.
"My Dad loved life and he loved to laugh," said daughter Charlene Cordova.
Mr. Silva was happy raising, cattle, sheep and hogs, she said.
Mr. Silva is survived by his wife, Josephine; daughter, Charlene Cordova of Bayfield; and sons, Matthew Silva of El Paso, Texas, Barry Ross Silva of Durango and Louis Silva of Fayetteville, N.C.
Also surviving Mr. Silva are a brother, Delfido Silva of Ignacio; a sister Pauline Sanchez of Bayfield and seven grandchildren, Jonathan Cordova of Colorado Springs, Kristina Gomez of Las Vegas, Nev., Ashley Silva, Samantha Silva and Sunie Silva, all of Durango, and Teresa Silva and Rhonda Sue Silva, both of El Paso, Texas. A great-granddaughter, Peyton Gomez of Las Vegas, Nev., also survives her.
Mr. Silva was preceded in death by eight brothers and sisters.
A memorial Mass is scheduled at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, with the Rev. Eddy Andary officiating. Cremation will be at Hood Mortuary.
Helen Gordon Bechtel
Helen Gordon Bechtel, a 27-year resident of Durango, died on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2003, at her home in Grants, N.M. She was 94. She died of natural causes, according to the family.
Margaret Helen Gordon was born in La Junta on Sept. 3, 1909, the daughter of Rush Alexander and Florence Gillum Gordon. The family moved to Trinidad, where she graduated from Trinidad High School.
After receiving a degree in music education at the College of Emporia (Kansas), Mrs. Bechtel taught fifth- and sixth-grade music in Hoehne, Colo.
In 1935, she married the Rev. J. David Bechtel in Trinidad. He died in 1993.
Mrs. Bechtel moved to Grants in 1967 after living in Bethel, Kan., Alamosa and Durango. She taught piano lessons, directed church choirs and played the organ. In Durango, she directed a multi-choir church music program that involved 150 singers.
Mrs. Bechtel’s son, David, recalled an 11 p.m. Christmas Eve music program at the First Presbyterian Church in Durango in the late 1950s. David Bechtel was a member of one of three choirs there directed by his mother.
"It was a moment that was more than music, more than religion," David Bechtel said. "It was a moment of spiritual alchemy created by music."
Mr. Bechtel also recalled his mother in another vein.
"We were hiking once when she was in her late 70s," Mr. Bechtel said. "While we were resting, she sat on a rock and taught us how to whistle through our fingers."
Mrs. Bechtel also was the pianist at the First Presbyterian Church in Grants for 16 years.
In Durango, Mrs. Bechtel was a member and officer of Chapter CS of the women’s group, P.E.O. In Grants, she was president of the Pilot Club and a member of Chapter U, P.E.O. In 1997, the New Mexico P.E.O. recognized Mrs. Bechtel as a "Golden Girl" for 50 years of service.
Mrs. Bechtel was a member of Presbyterian Women and served as presbyterial and synodical officer in Colorado. She was an elder in the First Presbyterian Church in Grants and also served on the Committee on Ministry of Santa Fe Presbytery.
In addition to her son David Rush Bechtel of Fort Collins, Mrs. Bechtel is survived by another son, the Rev. Doctor J. Gordon Bechtel of Emporia, Kan. She also is survived by two grandsons, Craig S. Bechtel of Park Ridge, Ill., and Rian R. Bechtel of Fort Collins; and one great-grandson, Lucas Alexander Bechtel of Park Ridge, Ill. Also surviving her are 14 nieces and nephews.
Two sisters, Harriet Tatum of Colorado Springs and Mary Loofboro of Jamesville, Wis.; and a brother, Donald Gordon of Waynesboro, Va., preceded her in death.
Grants Mortuary handled arrangements. Cremation has occurred. An evening of sharing memories of Helen Bechtel is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 10 at the First Presbyterian Church in Grants. At 2 p.m. Oct. 11, a memorial service will be held at the same church.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the First Presbyterian Church, Helen G. Bechtel Memorial Fund.
Barbara Sylvia Klein
Barbara Sylvia Klein, 69, died Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2003, at her home in Bayfield.
Ms. Klein was born May 21, 1934, in Fredericksburg, Texas, the daughter of Chester and Irene (Palmer) Schuch. She grew up in Fredericksburg, Texas, and came to Bayfield 12 years ago. She was an active member of the Pine Valley Church of the Foursquare Gospel. She enjoyed supporting charities, her church, reminiscing about the past, old photos and traveling.
"She was an awesome woman, and very loving," said Morgin Klein, her granddaughter.
She is survived by two sons, Darin Klein, of Bayfield, and Byron Klein, of Milwaukee, Wis.; and two grandchildren, Morgin Klein, of Bayfield, and Laylon Klein, of San Antonio, Texas; and a sister, Merlyn Klinksick, of Fredericksburg, Texas.
A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 29, 2003, at Pine Valley Church of the Foursquare Gospel. Cremation will occur at Hood Mortuary Crematory in Durango.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to offset the funeral costs may be sent to: 39720 U.S. Highway 160, Bayfield, CO 81122.
Judy and Fred Smith
A memorial service will be held for Judy and Fred Smith, who lived in Durango since the 1970s, at 3 p.m., Saturday. The service will be at the American Legion Post, 872 East Second Avenue.
All of the Smiths’ friends are invited.
Judy Smith died on Nov. 15, 2001, and Fred Smith died on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2003, in Farmington.
Fred Warren Smith Jr.
Fred Warren Smith Jr. died Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2003, at Cedar Ridge Inn in Farmington. He was 67.
Mr. Smith was born March 7, 1936, in Colorado Springs to Fred and Christine Smith Sr.
Mr. Smith was raised in Colorado Springs. He entered the Navy during the Korean War. After he left the service, he met and married his wife, Judy. They moved to Leadville, where he became a sheriff’s deputy. They then moved to Avon, where he went to work for the Colorado Department of Transportation. He transferred to the Durango division of CDOT in 1977, and worked there until his retirement in 1986.
Mr. Smith started raising horses and cattle after he retired. He enjoyed hunting and fishing.
He is survived his son, Jody L. Smith of Hesperus; his granddaughter, Shantell Smith of Hesperus; his grandson, Casey Smith of Hesperus; and one aunt.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Judith.
No services are planned at this time. Cremation will occur at Hood Mortuary Crematory in Durango.