JoAnn K. Dingel
JoAnn K. Dingel died Sunday, June 22, 2003, of natural causes in Durango, where she had lived for the past three years. She was 85.
Mrs. Dingel was born on March 19, 1918, in Winnemac, Ind. She moved to Elgin, Ill., where she lived for more than 50 years. She graduated valedictorian at Elgin High School in 1936.
She and her husband, David E. Dingel, shared many interests, including Indian folklore and traveling the western United States. She enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren.
She is survived by her daughter, Karren Little of Durango; her son, David R. Dingel of Pagosa Springs; and her two granddaughters, Keri and Amy Dingel, of Elgin.
She was preceded in death by her husband.
Services will be held Tuesday in Elgin.
Martha Ruth Wells
Bayfield resident Martha Ruth Wells died Friday, June 27, 2003, in Durango. She was 80.
Mrs. Wells died of natural causes, according to Hood Mortuary.
Mrs. Wells was born November 4, 1922, in Clay Center, Kan. She married Jess J. Wells on December 12, 1958. She worked at AT&T for 26 years, then moved to Bayfield after she retired.
"Horsefeathers," that was Mrs. Wells’ catchphrase, according to her daughter, Lisa Cribbs, who stressed what a loving wife and mother Mrs. Wells was.
Mrs. Wells hunted big game in Colorado and Wyoming for many years and was a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. She also enjoyed oil painting, crocheting and sewing.
She is survived by her daughter, Lisa Wells Cribbs of Ignacio; her son, Forest K. Wells of Piedmont, Okla,; her grandson, Travis Cribbs of Ignacio; and her sister, Louise Spelling of Texas.
She was preceded in death by her husband Jess J. Wells, who died on April 25, 1995.
Visitation will be Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. at Hood Mortuary, and a funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Monday at Calvary Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Dan Straw will officiate. Burial will follow the service at the Oxford Cemetery.
Ruth Hendricks Greffenius
Ruth Hendricks Greffenius, a former Durangoan and ballroom dancer, died Tuesday, June 10, 2003, at her home in Beaverton, Ore. She was 87.
Mrs. Greffenius was born on Jan. 17, 1916, in Mount Harris, Colo. She grew up dancing, singing and acting.
Her daughter, Susan Butruille, calls her "Bonne Vivante," meaning she who enjoys life. Mrs. Greffenius wrote a book, I Hope I Get to Dance, in 2001. Mrs. Greffenius described herself in the book as "a coal miner's daughter" like Loretta Lynn.
She married R.J. Greffenius, a forest ranger, in 1936. Their life in the U.S. Forest Service took them to places throughout Colorado, including Bayfield, Dolores and Durango. They were known for their ballroom dancing.
Mrs. Greffenius worked as a teacher, later earning her bachelor's degree from Fort Lewis College.
She taught in one-room schools in Lebanon, near Dolores, and near Steamboat Springs. She also taught grade school and junior high school in Hayden and Durango.
She acted in community theater and presented one-woman shows based on Broadway productions. In Durango, Mrs. Greffenius produced and directed Women of the San Juan, featuring women from Durango's history.
After Mr. Greffenius retired, the couple toured the world. They later lived in Michigan and California before returning to Durango.
Mrs. Greffenius continued to travel and dance after her husband's death in 1991.
Mrs. Greffenius is survived by her son, Richard E. Greffenius, of Grand Junction; her daughter, Susan Butruille of Portland, Ore.; seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was held on June 14 in Beaverton, Ore. Her family will return her ashes to the mountains of Colorado, with a memorial service on Aug. 2 in Grand Junction.
Contributions may be sent to the Friends of Ruth Greffenius Fund, at the Actors Rep, c/o Anna Price and Dennis Johnson, 713 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301.
Jeffery "Two Dogs" Price
Jeffery "Two Dogs" Price, a longtime Ignacio resident, died Saturday, June 21, 2003, at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque of cancer. He was 41.
Mr. Price was born March 12, 1962, in Cortez. He graduated from the Intermountain Indian School, in Brigham City, Utah, in 1980 and joined the U.S. Navy the same year. He served until 1984. After he left the service, Mr. Price moved to Ignacio, where he lived the rest of his life. He worked for the Southern Ute Tribe.
"Now he's stronger than ever and finally free and probably running over mountains barefoot with only a couple of Pecan Sandies in his pocket," said Edward Esparza, Jr., Mr. Price's longtime friend.
Mr. Price played basketball and volleyball and ran marathons. A few months before his death he ran a marathon in Tucson, Ariz.
He enjoyed hunting, fishing and pow wows, and he participated in American Indian dances.
Mr. Price spent his last month with caregivers Tina and Gus Velasquez.
He is survived by his mother, Violet Weaver of Ignacio; his father, James Price Sr., of Cortez; his grandfather, George Serafin of Pagosa Springs; his brother, James Price Jr., of Ignacio; and his three sisters: Marlene Carel, Yvonne Price and Georgeanne Price, all of Ignacio; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
A memorial service will be held 5 p.m. Friday at Ute Park, behind the Sky Ute Casino, in Ignacio. Cremation will take place at Hood Mortuary Crematory in Durango.
Contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 3801 Main Ave., Durango.
A memorial service for Anna Kelley, a former Durango school teacher, will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday the Durango Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Mrs. Kelley died Oct. 23, 2002, in Caldwell, Idaho, at the age of 85.
She moved to Durango from her home in Kansas in 1941 to teach. She married Raymond Kelley on Dec. 27, 1941.
After Mr. Kelleys tour of duty in World War II, the couple returned to the family farm in Durango, where they raised four sons. The Kelleys lived in Durango until 1980.
Patricia Ann Barnes died Friday, June 20, 2003, at her home in Ignacio. She was 53.
The cause of death was cancer, according to Hood Mortuary.
Mrs. Barnes was born Feb. 3, 1950, in Durango, the daughter of LeRoy F. and Ruth McCaw. She graduated from Ignacio High School in 1968 and received a degree in nursing from Mesa State College.
She married Perry R. Barnes on July 25, 1970, in Ignacio.
In addition to being a mother, homemaker and wife, Mrs. Barnes worked for the Ignacio School District from 1979 to 2001.
"She loved working in her garden," her husband said. "She also collected old iron wheels she must have had 30 that she used to decorate the yard."
Mrs. Barnes is survived by her husband, Perry Barnes of Ignacio; her mother, Ruth McCaw of Ignacio; two sons, Darin Barnes of Monte Vista and Jeffrey Barnes of Ignacio; a brother, Jerry McCaw, of Ignacio; and grandchildren Connar, Alanna and Brenna Barnes and Vincent Conroy, all of Monte Vista.
Visitation is scheduled at Hood Mortuary today from 2 to 5 p.m. A funeral will be at 10 a.m. Monday at the mortuary, with the Rev. David McCaw officiating. Burial will be at Florida Cemetery in Durango.
Memorial contributions in Mrs. Barnes name may be made to the American Cancer Society, 3801 Main Ave., Durango 81301.
Robert W. Pearce, a summertime resident of Vallecito, died Sunday, June 15, 2003, at Vallecito Lake. He was 64.
He was born in Tomahawk, Wis., on July 10, 1938.
Mr. Pearce played college basketball at Marquette University and Northern Michigan University. He was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.
Before he retired, Mr. Pearce lived in Aurora, where he owned Pearce Woodcraft, with branches in Denver and Pueblo. He worked as an assistant basketball coach at Regis University, Denver, during the 1970s.
Mr. Pearce and his wife, Virginia Jackson Pearce, lived in Wickenburg, Ariz., in the winters and spent summers at Vallecito Reservoir. Mr. Pearce was an avid sports fan, and he liked to go fishing with his bassett hounds, Senator and Buffington, who family members say made him look good by never catching any fish.
In 2002, he bet on 16 games in the NBA playoffs and won 15, said his wife.
"He read that sports page constantly, and he knew everything," she said.
He is survived by Mrs. Pearce, the founder of Virginias Steakhouse and Lodge in Vallecito; his daughter, Sue Patterson of Venice, Calif.; two sons, Rob Pearce and Doug Pearce, both of Denver; his stepdaughter, Marilyn Zauberis of Bayfield; granddaughters Sophie and Emily, both of Venice, Calif.; and grandsons Tanner and Brandon, both of Denver.
All three of his children attended Fort Lewis College.
Mr. Pearces ashes will be scattered at his favorite fishing spot at Vallecito Lake. Plans for a memorial are pending.
Mr. Pearce died when his pickup truck plunged into Vallecito Reservoir.
Barbara Lee Gustafson
Former Durango resident Barbara Lee Gustafson died of pancreatic cancer on June 3, 2003 after fighting the disease for seven months .
Mrs. Gustafson was born in Moline, Ill., to Leonore and Cal Johnson on July 25, 1924.
She attended Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and graduated in 1946 from Monmouth College, Monmouth, Ill.
She was named an Associate in Religious Science in 1981.
She also attended classes at Fort Lewis College, Adams State College, Alaska Pacific University, Brigham Young University, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Marycrest College and Dizie College, Utah.
Besides her primary occupation as wife and mother, Mrs. Gustafson taught Spanish and English in elementary, junior and senior high schools.
She lived in four Illinois locations: Moline, Chicago, Sterling and Monmouth. She also lived in Iowa City, Durango, Casper, Wyo., and Littleton.
She spent summers at her cabin near Como, and winters in Texas with her longtime friend and travelling companion, Ed Thompson.
Her interests included reading, crafts, needlework, bead design, choral work, politics, painting, genealogy, metaphysical studies, bridge, writing family biographies, astrology and cooking.
She also enjoyed correspondence, swimming, rug making, traveling, driving her motorhome and caring for her dogs.
She was a member of the Methodist Church and the Church of Religious Science.
Her other groups included: the Topper Group of which she was a founding member and leader, the Columbine Genealogy and Historical Society, Kappa Kappa Gamma and the Neighborhood Lunch Bunch.
She also belonged to the Durango Choral Society where she sang alto, the Madrigal Group and the choirs for the Methodist and Catholic churches and the Church of Religious Science choirs.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Velmar Oscar Gustafson.
She is survived by three children: Paul of Vancouver, Canada, Mark of Anchorage, Alaska, and Ellen "Ricka" of Lakewood; and a brother, Dr. Bruce Johnson of Key Biscayne, Fla.
Memorial donations can be made to the Denver Dumb Friends League, 2080 S. Quebec, Denver 80231, or to the Hospice of Metro Denver, 425 S. Cherry Street, Suite 700, Denver 80130.