Clifton Taylor Bacon
Clifton Taylor Bacon, 77, who lived in Durango during the 1930’s and 1940’s, died Thursday, Aug. 14, 2003, in Denver. He died of pancreatitis, said his daughter, Jody Bacon-Sanders.
Mr. Bacon was born on Jan. 6, 1926, in Santa Monica, Calif., the son of Maree Taylor Bacon and Clifton B. Bacon. Mrs. Bacon moved to Durango in 1934 with her two children, to live with Mr. Bacon’s grandmother, Cyrena F. Taylor in the Taylor Apartments at the corner of 10th and Main Avenue – today’s Jarvis Suites – which were owned by the family.
Earlier, Mr. Bacon’s grandfather, Jesse Oscar Taylor, having made his money in the Klondike, set up the Gem Theatre, the first silent movie house in the area, in the same building.
Mr. Bacon attended Durango schools, enjoying sports and playing the trumpet in the Durango High School marching band. His lifelong passion for woodworking began in shop class.
He spent his summers fishing and camping at the family’s cabin beside Electra Lake.
In 1943, at the age of 17, Mr. Bacon enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in the South Pacific for two years during World War II as an amphibian tractor crewman with the 3rd Amphibious Battalion, 3rd Division.
Returning to Durango, Mr. Bacon graduated from Durango High School. He rode the rodeo circuit, bought a logging truck and applied for a private pilot’s license.
His first employment was three years spent as a heavy-equipment operator on the Bonny Dam, in eastern Colorado.
In 1952, he joined the Gates Rubber Company. The next year he married Donna Ruth Rauch in Denver. The family moved to Glendale, then Evergreen. Two daughters and a son were born.
The couple divorced in 1980 and Mr. Bacon returned to Denver. The next year he married Cindy Swift, a marriage that lasted for 22 years.
After 37 years with Gates, Mr. Bacon retired in 1989 to continue his woodworking. He made wooden toys for his grandchildren as well as furniture.
Mr. Bacon was a sharp dresser. "It was unusual to see him without his silver-clip watchband, bear-claw necklace and belt buckle, all studded with large pieces of turquoise. He was loved, and will be greatly missed," said his daughter, Jody Bacon-Sanders.
He is survived by his wife, Cindy Bacon, of Denver; his children: Jody Bacon-Sanders of Indian Hills, Sandy Bacon of Sidney, Neb., and Jesse Bacon of Norfolk, Va.; his sister, Joanne Bacon Merrill of Denver; his stepchildren, Karen Alsop of Littleton, Kathie Cannon of Denver and Ron Alsop of Littleton; his seven stepgrandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was held on Aug. 18 at Hillside Baptist Church in Arvada.
Contributions may be made to the Durango Humane Society, P.O. Box 2164, Durango 81302.
Fabian B. Gallegos
Fabian B. Gallegos, 30, died Friday, Sept. 19, 2003, at Mercy Medical Center from wounds suffered in a stabbing.
Mr. Gallegos was born and raised in Durango. He was born Jan. 11, 1973, the son of Ricky Gallegos and Virginia Valencia. He was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and worked for Four Corners Materials.
"Fabian Gallegos was a loving person," said his friend, Chris Campbell. "He had a lot of friends. He was always there for you because he knew taking care of each other was most important. He was one of those special people who had insight, and his intentions were always good. People who knew him loved him for his honesty and pride. He liked to have fun, and knew when things were getting out of hand. Fabian loved fishing, hunting, camping, his car, his family and his friends."
Mr. Gallegos is survived by his children, Giana Gallegos of Bayfield and Kaden Kelly of Durango; his parents, Virginia Valencia of Bayfield and Ricky Gallegos of Phoenix, Ariz.; his stepfather, Jerry Valencia of Bayfield; two brothers, Steve Casias of Farmington and Braulio "Lalo" Gallegos of Denver; a half-sister, Bobbie Jo Gallegos of Farmington; three step-sisters, Felicia Cooper of Canton, Okla., Mandy Valencia of Tulsa, Okla., Briana Gallegos of Albuquerque; a step-brother, Roland Gallegos of Albuquerque; his grandparents, Alice and Braulio Montoya and Trish and Lloyd Valencia, all of Durango; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews
Visitation will be at Hood Mortuary from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday. A rosary will be said there at 6 p.m. Wednesday and a memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at Hood Mortuary. Cremation will take place at Hood Mortuary Crematory.
Memorial contributions may be made to Virginia Valencia for the care of Mr. Gallegos’ daughter, Giana. Send contributions to 132 Southridge Circle, Bayfield, CO 81122.
William McAllister Brady
William McAllister Brady, a Navy veteran and a former actor, died Friday, Sept. 19, 2003, in a car accident in Durango. He was 70.
"My brother’s body had started to become old but his heart never aged, and his death is just as much before its time as if he were 33," said his sister Michaela Brady Dasteel. "He was getting healthier, and I thought he was preparing for something big. I didn’t know it was for heaven."
Mr. Brady was born April 18, 1933, in Sioux City, Iowa. When he was 10, he and his family moved to Los Angeles. After graduating from St. Monica’s High School, Mr. Brady went to Loyola University in Los Angeles.
When he was 20, he joined the U.S. Navy and served in Korea near the demilitarized zone as a medical corpsman. After he finished his service, Mr. Brady attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where he graduated with honors. He won the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, allowing him to attend the Iowa City Writers Workshop in 1961. He spent two years there writing poetry before he returned to Los Angeles to work at various places, including a job with the public health service and as an English instructor at the University of California at Irvine.
Mr. Brady also began acting in small theaters around Los Angeles. In the mid-’70s, he performed off-Broadway in New York City. He also was a founding member of the South Coast Repertoire Theater Group in Costa Mesa, Calif., where he played a lead character in "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
In 1991, Mr. Brady retired in Durango to live near his mother and his sister’s family. He spent his time in Durango reading at St. Columba’s Church and being close to relatives and friends.
Mr. Brady is survived by two sisters, Michaela Brady Dasteel of Durango and Mariana Barrett Klossner; and six nieces and nephews.
A rosary was said at 7 p.m. Monday at St. Columba’s Catholic Church, 1830 East Second Ave., followed by a wake at his sister’s home, 414 East Third Ave. A Mass of Christian burial will be at 10 a.m. today at St. Columba’s Catholic Church.
Gelene Lavonne McDonald
Gelene Lavonne McDonald died Friday, Sept. 19, 2003, of congestive heart failure at Mercy Medical Center in Durango, her family said. She was 78.
Mrs. McDonald was born Dec. 10, 1924, in Weatherby, Mo., to Clarke and Essie (Noll) Dunham. She was educated in Santa Rosa and Maysville, Mo. schools and graduated from Maysville High School in 1941 at age 16.
The young woman found a job in Kansas City, Mo., and later Falls City, Neb., where she worked during World War II. She met Richard F. McDonald at a USO war bond fund-raising dance in Falls City in 1945. The couple married on Jan. 19, 1946, in Pana, Ill.
With savings from her jobs, Mrs. McDonald purchased a used Army jeep and a 20-foot-long Airstream trailer. The couple and their two young children lived in the trailer for four years while her husband attended Colorado A&M (now Colorado State University) in Fort Collins.
A homemaker, Mrs. McDonald lived in Denver, Dove Creek, Monta Vista and Golden before moving to Durango in 1967, where her husband was regional supervisor for the Division of Wildlife.
Mrs. McDonald’s interests included ancient, Biblical and American history, world geography, gardening, astronomy, philosophy, conservation and the environment, and global and local current events and politics.
An activist, she wrote many letters and attended La Plata County commissioner meetings as an advocate for county planning and zoning and the preservation of wildlife habitats and corridors and open space.
Mrs. McDonald was a member of the Sarah Platt Decker chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the Revolution. An essay she wrote about the Lewis woodpecker and Clark nutcracker – birds named for the early-day explorers – was the 2003 Colorado winner in the NSDAR national contest commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Mrs. McDonald was affiliated with the Florida Mesa Presbyterian Church where she served as the pianist for more than 20 years. She also was active in a woman’s Bible study group.
"Mom was a prolific letter writer," said daughter Sally Lorenz. "Both family members and friends were comforted, encouraged and inspired by her many letters and words of wisdom.
"Her observations about the wisdom and healing powers of nature and the universe were reflected often in her writing," Lorenz said.
Mrs. McDonald is survived by her children, Scott Lee McDonald of Durango and Peggy A. Ford and Sally R. Lorenz, both of Greeley. She also is survived by grandchildren, Adam Ford of Grand Junction and Bobbie J. McDonald of Aurora; daughter-in-law Paula Eppich (McDonald) Moody of Windsor; great-grandchildren, Jeffrey and Natalie Ford; and a step-granddaughter, Austin Gordon of Durango. She was preceded in death by a brother, Ronald Dunham, her husband and son, Robert Starr McDonald.
Mrs. McDonald’s children and grandchildren will host an informal tribute to her at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Florida Mesa Presbyterian Church, 1024 Country Road 230.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers a contribution in her name be made to the Florida Mesa Presbyterian Church. Top of Page
Loretta A. Sheppard
Loretta A. Sheppard, 61, of Durango, died at home on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2003, after a battle with cancer.
Mrs. Sheppard was in the fifth generation of her family to live in Colorado.
She was born in Denver on Oct. 10,1942, the daughter of Leona Scarry and Joseph E. Scarry. She was educated at St. Mary's Academy, Littleton High School, Loretto Heights College in Denver, and Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She also studied dyslexia at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and graduated from the New York School of Design.
On March 2, 1963, she married James C. Sheppard at St. Paul's Church in Elko, Nev., and the Sheppards moved to Durango in 1969. Mrs. Sheppard taught preschool at Christ the King Lutheran Church and used her education as a classically-trained musician to direct and sing with local church choirs.
Mrs. Sheppard, better known as Loré, is survived by her husband, James, and their children, Kelly L. Gaughan of Durango and James A. Sheppard of Winfield, Kan.; her granddaughters, Megan L. Gaughan and Sarah N. Gaughan; and several nieces and nephews.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Columba Catholic Church.
Bernice ‘Bernie’ Toonen Cooper
Bernice "Bernie" Toonen Cooper, who worked as a nurse in Durango, died at her ranch east of Bayfield on Monday, Sept. 15, 2003. She died of natural causes at the age of 90, her family said.
She was born over a grocery store in Appleton, Wis., on June 13, 1913, the daughter of Katherine (Sommerhalder) Toonen and Joseph Toonen. After the death of her father when she was 3, the family moved to Long Beach, Calif., where Mrs. Cooper grew up swimming, dancing and working at her aunt’s soda fountain. In 1934, Mrs. Cooper graduated as a registered nurse from Los Angeles County Hospital. Later she carried out postgraduate study in obstetrics and surgical nursing. Mrs. Cooper spent 40 years in nursing. She was head nurse at Durango’s Community Hospital, later the Gable House at the corner of East Fifth Avenue and Eighth Street.
She married Edward Harry Cate in California and they had one daughter, Derylin. The couple divorced in 1940. Mrs. Cooper and her daughter moved to Bayfield in 1942. There she married Charles B. "Mick" Cooper. Mr. Cooper adopted Derylin, and he built a family house east of Bayfield. The Coopers lived there for 52 years until Mr. Cooper’s death in 1994.
When Mrs. Cooper was in nursing, water, laundry and all medical supplies had to be carried to the top of the building, and open fires heated the wards. Dr. Sam Calloway described Mrs. Cooper as the "best nurse in Durango."
She enjoyed dancing, movies and movie stars, politics, crocheting, the study of American Indian culture and shoes. Her greatest passions were her love for her husband and her family.
She is survived by her daughter, Derylin Ludwig of Salt Lake City, Utah; her grandchildren, Katherine Elliott of Bayfield, Julie Kelly of Bayfield and Stephen Ludwig of Salt Lake City; her great grandchildren; and her nephews and nieces.
Visitation will be at Hood Mortuary from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. today, followed by a recitation of the rosary at 7:30 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Bayfield. Burial will be at Pine River Cemetery in Bayfield, on County Road 501.
Cordelia ‘Corky’ Meador
A graveside service will be held for Cordelia "Corky" Meador at 2 p.m. Saturday at Greenmount Cemetery.
Mrs. Meador died of a stroke at the age of 87 on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2003, in Walnut Creek, Calif.
A reception will follow the service at the Veterans of Foreign Wars at 1550 Main Ave. Mrs. Meador was a past president and life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary 4031.
Edith Lydia Vermillion
Edith Lydia Vermillion died Friday, Sept. 12, 2003, at Four Corners Health Care Center in Durango. She was 99.
She died of natural causes, according to Hood Mortuary.
Mrs. Vermillion was born March 23, 1904, in Prescott, Ariz., then a territory. She was the oldest of eight children of Horace and Helen Ellis Yeomans.
Horace Yeomans had more than 100 horses, mules and burros to haul ore from the mountains around Prescott, and his daughter, Edith, often accompanied him.
She married Earl Vermillion, whom she met in Prescott when his family moved from Missouri. Mrs. Vermillion and her husband returned to his home state to farm for six years.
The couple moved to Boulder where Mr. Vermillion ran a gasoline station and later a tire business. The Vermillions’ marriage ended after 62 years when he died in 1989.
Mrs. Vermillion moved to the Durango area in 1994 to be near her family.
As a young woman, Mrs. Vermillion had learned to make drapes.
In Boulder, she opened a business and made drapes for the University of Colorado and the many new homes that were being built.
Later, Mrs. Vermillion learned ceramics and opened her own kiln-equipped studio. She also loved gardening.
Mrs. Vermillion’s daughter-in-law, Dorothy Vermillion, of Ignacio, recalled that her daughter, Julie Sargent, of Thornton, is fond of recalling the family picnics held at her grandmother’s home in a canyon near Boulder.
"She made the best cherry cobbler and dump cake (a combination of whatever ingredients were at hand)," Dorothy Vermillion quoted her daughter as saying.
Mrs. Vermillion is survived by four sons, Richard and David, both of Ignacio, Robert of Boulder and Ted of Cedaredge. She also is survived by 11 grandchildren, Debra Damiana, Julie Sargent, David Vermillion, Gary Vermillion, Brian Vermillion, Samuel Vermillion, Robin Maxfield, Lynn Hoad, Diane Davis, Janet Wilshire and Karen Eisenach.
Twenty-six great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild also survive Mrs. Vermillion.
A funeral is scheduled at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Hood Mortuary. The Rev. Bill Postler, with the First Presbyterian Church, will officiate. A service is scheduled later in Boulder.
In lieu of flowers, a contribution to a charity is suggested.