Services are private.
Peter William 'Pete' Madsen
Peter William "Pete" Madsen, 62, who had lived in Durango for 18 years, died in his home on Friday, April 30, 2004.
Mr. Madsen was born Dec. 11, 1941, during a blackout in Pasadena, Calif., at the beginning of World War II.
He was a well-educated man who held several degrees, including one in engineering. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a crash team member and a medic.
For more than 150 years, custom cabinetry has been part of the Madsen family. Mr. Madsen, with his wife, Charlee Madsen, built cabinets for businesses and homes in Arizona, Pagosa Springs and Durango. Their company name was Home and Hearth Mill.
Mr. Madsen is survived by his wife of 24 years, of Durango; and his children Kelley Nutt of Durango and Michael Madsen of Denver.
Mr. Madsen died by suicide, according to La Plata County Coroner Dr. Carol Huser.
Celeste LuReen Christian
Celeste LuReen Christian, a former Durango resident, died of cancer Wednesday, May 12, 2004, in San Diego. She was 67.
Mrs. Christian was born Dec. 5, 1936, in Los Angeles to Fred and Marguerite Furtsch.
She boated during her childhood along the California coast.
She and her husband, John, moved to Durango where they lived from 1988 to 2002. The couple played golf at Hillcrest.
In 2002, the couple returned to California, living in Oceanside to be near the ocean. She was a lifelong member of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach. In retirement the couple took a dozen trips on cruise ships.
Mrs. Christian is survived by her husband, of Oceanside; a daughter, Cherie Morris of Durango; a son, Robert Buell of Blue Springs, Mo.; a stepson, John Christian Jr., of Edmond, Okla.; and five grandchildren.
Mrs. Christian's ashes will be scattered at sea, courtesy of the U.S. Navy.
Memorial donations may be made to the San Diego Hospice Foundation, 4311 Third Ave., San Diego CA 92103.
David Lane Bird
David Lane Bird, 21, a business student at Fort Lewis College, died Wednesday, May 12, 2004, in an automobile accident eight miles northeast of Durango.
Mr. Bird was born on March 5, 1983, in Hobbs, N.M., the son of Shanna and Scott Bird. His family moved to Spokane, Wash., when he was 5, where he came to enjoy playing ice hockey. After moving back to Farmington in 1992 and finding no ice, he switched to roller hockey. He also started to snowboard and play golf.
In 2001, he graduated from Piedra Vista High School in Farmington, where he loved his classmates and golf teammates, as well as his many other friends, said Scott Bird. He was with Matt Wood, a high school teammate, at the time of his death.
He had completed three years of his business major at Fort Lewis College.
Mr. Bird enjoyed working in the pro shop of the San Juan Country Club during the summers.
In 1999, he was injured so badly in an all-terrain vehicle accident that doctors feared for his life. Despite the hardship his injuries created, he moved on with determination, embracing and enjoying his life and his family.
"We will all remember David's sense of humor and that smile that got him a lot of places in his life. He loved and enjoyed all of us," Scott Bird said.
"David, we know you have found your eternal country club with great golf holes and as many wonderful relationships there as you had here," he added.
Mr. Bird is survived by his parents, Shanna and Scott Bird, of Farmington; his sister, Allison Bird of Farmington; his grandmothers, Joyce Headrick and Bette Bird, both of Farmington; and his aunt, uncles and cousins.
A celebration of Mr. Bird's life will be held at 1 p.m. today at the First Methodist Church in Farmington.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the FHS/PV Golf Booster Club, to the attention of Christie Elledge, 204 26th St., Farmington NM87401.
Beverly Murphy Young
Beverly Murphy Young, 90, died Monday, May 10, 2004, at Four Corners Health Care Center in Durango. She died of natural causes, said her daughter, Jane Morehart.
Mrs. Young was born July 1, 1913, in Jeanerette, La., the daughter of Sophie and Thomas Murphy. Mrs. Young spent much of her childhood in Colorado Springs. She attended Louisiana State University, the University of Texas, Colorado College and the Traphagen School of Fashion.
She married William Witkind in 1939 in Colorado Springs. The couple lived in Santa Fe until her husband's call to active duty led the family to a military life for several years.
In 1952, she married Harvey Young, a childhood friend. The family lived on a sheep ranch in Dry Creek Basin, near Norwood.
The Youngs moved to the Dolores area in 1973 where they were active in the community. Mrs. Young belonged to many agricultural, civic and political organizations including the Farm Bureau and the Anasazi Heritage Center. She lived in Southwest Colorado until her death.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Harvey Young, in February 2001.
Mrs. Young is survived by her children: Beverly Baril of Roanoke, Va., Max Witkind of Tuscon, Ariz., Jane Morehart of Durango, and Clemence Overhalt of Phoenix; her grandchildren: Ilan Baril of Denver, David Baril of Newburyport, Mass., Travis Witkind of Littleton, Jeffe Morehart and Jaimie Wienk, both of Durango, Jeremie Morehart of Summit County and Tom Overholt of Phoenix; and his great-grandchild, Katherine, of Littleton.
A celebration of Mrs. Young's life is planned for early summer. Cremation will take place at Hood Mortuary Crematory in Durango.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Mercy, 375 East Park Ave., Durango 81301.
Francis Warren Boyle
Francis Warren Boyle, who lived in Durango for 84 years, died Wednesday, May 12, 2004, in Durango. He died peacefully of double pneumonia at the age of 90 after praying with his family, said his son, Don Boyle.
Mr. Boyle was born at home on May 31, 1913, in Animas City in what is now north Durango. He was born only a block from where he would build his own house years later. The doctor who delivered him worried about whether he would survive because of the cold. So his father put him in the oven of an old coal stove to warm him.
Mr. Boyle's parents, Bridget Conway and Billy Boyle, were Durango pioneers, part owners of the Neglected Mine. The lifelong love of the mountains and prospecting that Mr. Boyle inherited from them found him prospecting at his own mining property near Silverton until he was 87.
He married Mary Blanche Washington, his wife of 63 years, who is from a pioneer farming family in Farmington.
Mr. Boyle worked as a machinist for the Durango & Rio Grande Railroad in Denver during World War II. He also sang in a quartet that serenaded the troops in Salt Lake City and Denver.
He and his family returned to Durango in 1947 to help out his disabled family members and to open a Jeep dealership with his brother John Boyle. He then turned to real estate, and opened Boyle Real Estate in 1966. Mr. Boyle ran his business successfully until 1984.
Don Boyle said his father's true loves were his wife and helping his family, his community and his church. He concerned himself especially with helping troubled alcoholics.
Mr. Boyle enjoyed flying airplanes in the company of his family and friends. He loved to sing, even at 90, and could remember many verses of Irish and Christian songs.
"He used to sing in churches and in the Diamond Belle," Don Boyle said. "Before he stopped drinking so much, anyone who frequented bars around here would remember him singing."
Mr. Boyle is survived by his wife, Blanche Boyle of Durango; his children: Bill Boyle of Gallup, N.M., Dr. John Boyle of Price, Utah, Teresa Dillon Lundgren of Erie and Don Boyle of Durango; his grandchildren: Christopher, Jason, Jonathan, Sarah, Isaiah and Jacob Boyle, Edward and Patrick Dillon, and Terri Broody; and many other relatives including great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
A rosary will be said at 6 p.m. today in St. Columba Catholic Church. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, also at St. Columba, with the Rev. Jim Koenigsfeld officiating. Burial will follow at Greenmount Cemetery. A reception will take place at the St. Columba Parish Center after the burial. All are invited to attend.
Catherine L. Parcell
Catherine L. Parcell, 86, of Montrose, died Monday, May 10, 2004, at Valley Manor Care Center in Montrose. The cause of death was old age and dementia, said Mrs. Parcell's daughter Kathy Burns.
Mrs. Parcell was born April 13, 1918, in Silverton, the daughter of Maggie (Reiva) Giacomelli and Fiore Giacomelli. She spent her childhood in Bloomfield, N.M., and then returned to Silverton where she graduated from Silverton High School in 1934.
She completed a course at Barnes Business College in Denver. Then she worked as a bookkeeper for Charles Chase at the Shenandoah Mill, along with other jobs in Silverton.
She married Wallace Parcell in Silverton on July 21, 1945. They shared almost 59 years of marriage.
The Parcells moved to Denver in 1963, then to Golden where they lived for 33 years. They returned to Montrose in 2000 to be near their family.
Mrs. Parcell enjoyed the social life in Silverton.
Her family was the joy of her life, Burns said. Mrs. Parcell attended all of her grandchildren's basketball and football games. She loved cooking and entertaining as well as doing crossword puzzles.
After they retired, Mr. and Mrs. Parcell traveled through Canada and the western United States for 10 years. They belonged to the Good Sams Club, the Family Motor Club, Blue Mesa Camp and the Twin Lakes Travel Co.
Mrs. Parcell is survived by her husband of Montrose; her children: Kathy Burns of Durango, Debbie Elm of Montrose and Robert L. Parcell of Durango; her grandchildren: Taylor and Maggie Elm and Elyse Parcell.
Visitation will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the Crippin Funeral Home, 802 Main St., Montrose. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the Crippin Funeral Home Chapel. The Rev. Ronnie Hanna will officiate. Burial will follow in Grand View Cemetery, west of Montrose.
Billie Jean Garretson
Billie Jean Garretson, 79, who lived in Durango from 1954 to 1969, died Saturday, May 8, 2004, in Tucson, Ariz. The cause of death was not disclosed.
Mrs. Garretson was born Dec. 1, 1921, in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, the daughter of Naomi and George Atkins. She served as country treasurer of Rio Grande County for three terms.
She was described by her granddaughter Dawn Howell as an accomplished quilter, painter and seamstress. She was preceded in death by her husband, Guy J. Garretson, and her son George Donald Garretson.
Mrs. Garretson is survived by her children: Jean Weatherwax of Brighton, Larry Garretson, of Minnesota, Guy L. Garretson of Farmington, and Jeff Garretson of Guthrie, Okla.; her brother, Scott Atkins; 14 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service celebrating Mrs. Garretson's life will be held at 3 p.m. Monday at the Ed Sharp Chapel, 205 Broadway, Monte Vista.
George William Walters
George William Walters, who built the Durango development called The Ranch and who had a second home in Durango, died Friday, March 19, 2004, at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albuquerque. He died at 80 of complications from Parkinson's disease.
Mr. Walters was born June 16, 1923, in New Britain, Conn. He was the sixth of seven children. His father abandoned the family when Mr. Walters was 5.
At 16, he became the youngest person in the state to earn a private pilot's license. By the age of 19, he was a Marine Corps pilot in the South Pacific. His fighter was shot down and crashed on a Japanese-occupied island. He was found two days later by American forces. He lost a kidney and spent 14 months recuperating.
He married Val Walters in Albuquerque 52 years ago. First he started Horizon Corp., a building company, and then George W. Walters Construction.
Mr. Walters built houses in places including Albuquerque, Farmington and Cheyenne, Wyo. He won Gold Nugget Awards for The Ranch in 1986. The awards were for the best design and land use in 14 western states.
He helped found Republic Bank in 1972.
He volunteered to build five Lutheran churches and build additions onto two others.
Mr. Walters' son, Dave Walters, wrote in his eulogy that his father was "A people person who respected and admired a good ditch digger over a mediocre doctor, lawyer, banker or business owner. I think he was most comfortable at a construction site having a beer after work with the men who worked for him."
Mr. Walters is survived by his wife, Val Walters of Albuquerque and Durango; his children: Dave Walters of Albuquerque, Deborah Stephenson of San Francisco, Calif., and Lisa Walters of Albuquerque.
Mr. Walters' memorial service took place March 23 at French Mortuary in Albuquerque. He was buried at Santa Fe National Cemetery.
His family asked that people do random acts of kindness in his memory. Or memorial contributions may be made to the New Mexico Chapter of the American Parkinson's Disease Association, care of Bob Dunagan, 10817 Griffith Park Drive NE, Albuquerque 87123 or Redeemer Lutheran Church, 210 Alvarado Drive SE, Albuquerque NM 87108.
Dessa Lee Merz
Dessa Lee Merz, a longtime resident of Durango who worked as a hostess at Christina's Grill & Bar, died Saturday May 1, 2004, at Mercy Medical Center. She died at the age of 44, among family and friends, after a determined struggle against leukemia, said her friend Michelle Lupton.
Ms. Merz was born on Easter Sunday, April 17, 1960, in Flagstaff, Ariz.
She worked for many years as a nurse's aide at Four Corners Health Care Center. She loved her work and the residents, Lupton said.
Ms. Merz enjoyed camping and fishing, especially at McPhee Reservoir. She was also known as a talented pool player.
"Dessa was a devoted friend, and she touched many lives," Lupton said. "She greeted everyone with a smile and a hug."
She is survived by her father, Robert Merz of Cahone; her brothers: Bobby, Mitch and Johnny; her daughters: Brenda and Christina; her granddaughter, Jacqueline Rosalee; her mother, Shirley Wilson of Laytonville, Calif. and her loving companion, Mike Sanchez of Durango.
A celebration of Ms. Merz's life will begin at 4 p.m. Friday at Christina's Grill & Bar, 21382 U.S. Highway 160 in Durango.
A graveside service will be held at the family plot in Cahone County at 2 p.m. Saturday. Start from the post office on the edge of Cahone. Drive out of town, and then turn right. Take the next left going north, and then turn east. The cemetery is past the church.