Edward Hinson 'Loug' Lougee
A lifelong outdoorsman, Edward Hinson "Loug" Lougee died at his home in Durango on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2004, after suffering from Alzheimer's disease and lung cancer. He was 73.
Mr. Lougee was born Dec. 1, 1930, in Laconia, N.H., the son of Leota and Floyd Lougee.
During the Korean War, he was stationed in Germany. Mr. Lougee served four years in the U.S. Army and 20 years in the National Guard. While in Germany, he skied extensively at Garmisch.
Mr. Lougee married Pat Lougee on June 16, 1979, in Plymouth, N.H. They moved to Durango in July 1994. In Durango, Mr. Lougee worked at Durango Mountain Resort and Flexers Gym. He was a volunteer, supporting Trails 2000 and the San Juan Mountains Association. He was an active member of St. Columba Catholic Church.
Mr. Lougee enjoyed skiing, golfing, hiking, biking and canoeing. In the early 1960s, he competed in "The Last Inferno Race," a giant slalom ski race. This race began at the top of the headwall at Tuckerman Ravine in Mount Washington, N.H. He helped cut the trails at Waterville Valley, N.H. He was head of the ski patrol and later was promoted to mountain manager.
His family said that all through his illness, Mr. Lougee maintained a great sense of humor, and he always had a smile on his face and a handshake for all he met.
Mr. Lougee is survived by his wife, Pat Lougee of Durango; his son, Eric E. Lougee of Bethlehem, N.H.; his daughter, Linda S. Lougee of Windsor, Conn.; his son, Ryan E. Lougee of Aspen; his stepdaughter, Stacy Crawford of Newbury, N.H.; his stepson, Michael Giehl of Trophy Club, Texas; two grandchildren; and several sisters, nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Columba Catholic Church. The Rev. Jim Koeningsfeld will officiate. Interment will follow at Greenmount Cemetery. After interment, a celebration of his life will be held at St. Columba Parish Center. All are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, people may make contributions to the Alzheimer's Association or Mercy Medical Center Home Health & Hospice.
Vivian Ruth Johnson
A wonderful grandmother, Vivian Ruth Johnson, 84, died Thursday, Nov. 25, 2004, at The Valley Inn in Mancos. The cause of death was undetermined.
She was born Oct. 4, 1920, in Parsons, Kan. Her parents were Orlan and Sadie Carter. Mrs. Johnson worked at a Beech aircraft factory building B-29s during World War II. (The company was a subcontractor for Boeing Co.)
She married Dan Hopper in 1939 in Kansas and the marriage was dissolved in 1942. In 1943 or '44, she married Ralph Johnson, also in Kansas. Throughout her life, she most valued her occupation as a wife and mother.
After her husband died in 1979, she spent a year in Durango before moving to Everett, Wash., where she lived for 20 years. She was very active at the Methodist Church there.
When she returned to Durango in 2000, she became a member of the First Presbyterian Church.
Mrs. Johnson was a talented seamstress.
"She was very compassionate," said her son, Dan Hopper. "She wasn't very outgoing, but she was very friendly. She had a great many very close friends that she literally kept in contact with for more than 60 years. But it was her family that was most important to her."
"She was a wonderful grandmother," said granddaughter Laurel Schaffer.
Mrs. Johnson is survived by her son, Dan Hopper of Durango; her daughter, Nancy Clark of Everett, Wash.; five grandchildren, including Laurel Schaffer and Daniel Hopper, both of Durango; brother Charles Carter of Phoenix; and sisters Joanna Hoy of Wichita, Kan., and Jan Froebe of Florence, Ariz.
Services will be held at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church, 1260 East Third Ave., Durango CO 81301.
Delbert Howard Kimsey
Hesperus native Delbert Howard Kimsey, 73, died on Monday, Nov. 22, 2004, at the Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County, Wyo., shortly after being admitted.
Mr. Kimsey was born on April 7, 1931, in Hesperus, to Hoke and Josephine Montoya Kimsey. He rode horseback to the country school there and also attended school in Durango.
He married Joanna Zimmerman Griffin in Aztec, N.M., and they later divorced. Mr. Kimsey married Jeanette Pardonnet Barker in Riverton, Wyo., on April 26, 1965.
Mr. Kimsey was employed as a miner in both uranium and coal mines. He worked for Bridger Coal Co. for 11 years and retired in August 1991. During his career, he worked in Moab, Utah; Lander, Wyo.; and Glenrock, Wyo., before ending up in Rock Springs, Wyo.
His interests included hunting, fishing, attending garage sales, playing poker and spending time with his family.
He was preceded in death by his daughter Carla Kimsey, his son Howard Kimsey and his grandson Anthony Kerr.
Mr. Kimsey is survived by his wife, Jeanette Kimsey of Rock Springs, Wyo.; his mother, Josephine Kimsey of Farmington, N.M.; sons Clint Kimsey of Rock Springs, Wyo., Jim Kimsey of Lander, Wyo., Calvin Kimsey of North Pole, Alaska, Robert Barker of Gillette, Wyo., and Lee Barker of Longmont; brother Doug Kimsey of Thermopolis, Wyo.; sisters Rita Dennison of Farmington, N.M. and Alice Kennedy of Marvel; 20 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. today at the Vase Funeral Chapel, 154 Elk St., Rock Springs, Wyo. Friends may call at the chapel from noon until the funeral. Cremation will follow at the Vase White Mountain Crematory.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Sweetwater County Diabetes Chapter, P.O. Box 1781, Rock Springs WY 82901.
Condolences may be sent to the family at 1002 Quincy Drive, Rock Springs WY 82901.
Sherrel Evans 'Jerry' Rees
Respected rancher and farmer Sherrel Evans "Jerry" Rees, 78, died Thursday, Nov. 25, 2004, at his home in Bayfield. The cause of death was lung cancer, which he had battled for more than a year.
Mr. Rees was born Oct. 3, 1926, in Wenatchee, Wash., to Daniel and Margaret Rees. He grew up in Southern California, and as a young man farmed in Washington state near the Canadian border.
He married Helen McMillan in Colville, Wash., in 1951. The marriage was later dissolved.
Mr. Rees spent 22 years in Washington, D.C., working as a lobbyist and fund-raiser for the National Association of Wheat Growers. He also spent many years as a meeting planner.
He married Joan Cocuzzi in Silver Spring, Md., on March 18, 1977.
"He planned everything," Joan Rees said. "He was very good at organizing and planning. He was very forward looking and tried to accommodate everybody."
After his retirement in 1990, he and his wife moved to La Plata County, where he spent five years as the executive director of the Durango Foundation for Educational Excellence. The couple bought a 40-acre ranch in Bayfield and farmed for eight years.
Mr. Rees was a board member of the La Plata/Archuleta Cattlemen's Association. In 1999, he was named both Cattleman of the Year and Volunteer of the Year by the organization. In 2001, he received the Western Heritage Service Award, which was presented by the Durango Pro Rodeo Co.
He loved gardening and agriculture, football and other sports. Mr. Rees also liked to read Western books and watch Western movies.
"He encouraged me to try new things," his wife said. "I had never farmed before, although he had, but I learned how to do it. He made my life more exciting and fuller."
Mr. Rees was preceded in death by his son Michael Rees.
He is survived by his wife, Joan, of Bayfield; son Daniel Rees of Medical Lake, Wash.; daughters Sherrel Rhys of Clancy, Mont., and Susan Lee of Slagle, Idaho; stepsons John Cocuzzi of Accokeek, Md., and Michael Cocuzzi of Gainesville, Va.; stepdaughter Cathy Garcia of Bayfield; 13 grandchildren, including Carlos Vaun Garcia; and brother James Rees of Modesto, Calif.
Visitation will be held at Hood Mortuary from noon to 4 p.m. Monday. A Rosary will be recited at 6 p.m. Monday and a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday, both at St. Bartholomew's Catholic Church in Bayfield. Monsignor Daniel Huber will officiate at both. Burial will follow at Pine River Cemetery in Bayfield. Friends are invited to join the family for lunch in St. Bartholomew's Parish Hall after burial.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Bartholomew's Building Fund, 1749 County Road 526, Bayfield CO 81122; or to the Durango Foundation for Educational Excellence, 201 E. 12th St., Durango CO 81301.
William Paul Spitzer Jr.
Longtime Cortez resident and former judge William Paul Spitzer Jr., 75, died Thursday, Nov. 25, 2004, at the Vista Grande Nursing Home in Cortez. The cause of death was cancer.
He was born on June 14, 1929, to William Paul and Mary Rose Burr Spitzer in Quinwood, W.Va. Mr. Spitzer was educated in both West Virginia and Colorado.
As a young man, he played on the semi-pro baseball team of the U.S. Navy. He married Dorothy Ann Lepley on June 14, 1951, in Clifton Ford, W. Va.
He was the Dolores County judge for more than 20 years, where he had performed countless weddings beginning in 1961.
"He married people everywhere," said his daughter Donna Suckla. "Not just at the courthouse, but on the river, in airplanes and all kinds of places."
Mr. Spitzer was a member of the Rico Masonic Lodge, the Ute Mountain American Legion and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks in Cortez. He was an avid sportsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing and playing golf, tennis, pool and other sports.
"He loved his grandkids and kids," said his daughter Paulette Barlow. "He also enjoyed anything outside and spending time with his friends."
Mr. Spitzer is survived by his wife, Dorothy, of Cortez; daughters Donna Suckla and Paulette Barlow, both of Mancos; son Billy Spitzer of Dove Creek; and eight grandchildren, including Larry Don Suckla, Rowdy Suckla and Brooke Barlow, all of Cortez, and Rikki Knuckles and T.J. Spitzer of Dove Creek.
Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the B.P.O.E. Elks Lodge in Cortez. Military services will be conducted by the Ute Mountain American Legion Post No. 75.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Elks Scholarship Fund, 2100 N. Dolores Road, Cortez CO 81321.
Faye Marie (Baird) Daniel
Faye Marie (Baird) Daniel died on Friday, Nov. 19, 2004, in Mesa, Ariz.
Mrs. Daniel was born in Durango on Jan. 4, 1939.
She is survived by her husband, Carrol, of Mesa, Ariz.; her children Tim of Pagosa Springs, Jerry of Tolleson, Ariz., Robin of Mesa, Ariz., and Craig of Peoria, Ariz.; her brother Bob Baird of Durango; nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Valle Del Oro Resort Ballroom in Mesa, Ariz.
Burial will be at Mariposa Gardens in Mesa, Ariz.
Robert Eugene Benson Jr.
Robert Eugene Benson Jr., an accountant who loved the written word, died on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2004, at a family cabin on Vallecito Lake.
He was born on June 10, 1955, to Robert E. Benson and Mary Jo Benson in Springfield, Ill.
Although Mr. Benson graduated from Fort Lewis College with a degree in accounting, his passion was literature.
He had a number of hobbies, including hiking, cycling, rollerblading, playing pool and staining glass.
He was a member of the board of directors at Child Haven in Farmington, N.M. Mr. Benson volunteered many hours of his time to serve the community's underprivileged children.
His family said Mr. Benson was complex, and he created a legacy with his words. To his children he was a hero because of his compassion, intellect and devotion to the art of the written word.
He will be remembered for his profound wit and contagious sense of humor.
He is survived by his three children, Robert Eugene Benson III (Trey) of Durango, Jessica Kane Benson of Durango and Erin Nicole Benson of Farmington; his brothers, Ed Benson of South Carolina, Mark Benson of Phoenix, and Matt Benson of Phoenix; his sisters, Ellen Benson of Dolores, Gigi Benson-Smith of San Francisco, Trisha Ronsley of Phoenix, and Bridget Benson of Phoenix; and his mother, Mary Joe Benson of Dolores.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Hood Mortuary.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Child Haven, 807 W. Apache, Farmington, NM 87401.
Stella May Drott
Stella May Drott died Friday, Sept. 24, at Mercy Medical Center in Durango. She was 91.
Mrs. Drott was born Mary Mihelich on Dec. 29, 1912, in Pueblo, the daughter of George Mihelich (Miklic) and Anna Medved Mihelich.
In 1918, when she was 6 years old, her father died from complications caused by the Spanish influenza.
In February 1919, the state of Colorado removed Mrs. Drott and two of her siblings from their impoverished home and the care of their mother, and placed them in the Colorado State Home for Dependent Children in Denver.
She never saw her mother again.
Eventually, she was adopted by Fanny Huntley Foster, who lived in Nucla. "Aunt Fanny" renamed her Stella May, "after the stars."
Mrs. Drott married Charles Joseph Drott in 1929 and moved to Fullerton, Calif. She remained there until 1972, when she returned to Colorado in order to be near her daughter Joanne and her family in Durango.
During her latter years, Mrs. Drott divided her time between Durango and Scottsdale, Ariz., where another of her daughters lived.
Mrs. Drott's family will remember her as a happy, loving lady who always enjoyed hearing about the interests and activities of family members. She especially enjoyed the young great-grandchildren.
She enjoyed cooking, especially baking, and she was well-known for her cinnamon rolls.
Mrs. Drott also enjoyed crocheting, watching sports on television, crossword puzzles and visiting her family. She was an animal lover.
Mrs. Drott was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Joseph Drott, and her daughter, Rose May Drott.
She is survived by her son, John C. Drott of Chino Valley, Ariz.; daughter Joanne Drott Wilson of Durango; daughter Catherine Drott Uddo of Scottsdale, Ariz.; sister Louise Kubin of Salem, Ore.; two nephews; 9 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and one cousin, Allison Raish of Durango.
A graveside celebration of her life occurred at Lorna Vista Memorial Park in Brea, Calif., on Sept. 29, 2004. She was buried beside her husband, Charles, who died on Nov. 5, 1961.
Memorial contributions may be made to your favorite humane society.