Richard Joseph Kneedy
Richard Joseph Kneedy died Saturday, Oct. 16, 2004, at his home. He was 39.
Mr. Kneedy was born on Dec. 15, 1964, in Driggs, Idaho, to Jim and Lois Hatch Kneedy. He spent all of his life in the Teton Valley except for a 10-year stint in Durango.
He was an active member of the Teton Valley Community Bible Church and worked as a mason. He loved to fish and hunt. Mr. Kneedy also invented and built things, and he was an artist.
Mr. Kneedy is survived by his parents, Jim and Lois Kneedy of Tetonia; his sister, Bobbie Kneedy of Tetonia; five step-children, Lori, Tyree, Aros, Noela and Tony; and three nieces.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Nikki Tonks.
Graveside services were held at the Cache-Clawson Cemetery in Tetonia on Oct. 20.
Joanna Augusta Lewis
After a 21-year struggle with ovarian cancer, Joanna Augusta Lewis died Thursday, Nov. 4, 2004, at her home while surrounded by family and friends. She was 51.
Mrs. Lewis was born in Oxford, England, on Jan. 11, 1953. She moved to the United States with her family in 1965, and they settled in Rochester, N.Y. She graduated from Brockport University in upstate New York with a degree in nursing and worked at Mercy Medical Center when she moved to Durango. On Sept. 12, 1992, she married Michael J. Schultz. She devoted the rest of her life to her daughter, Zoe Xiao Schultz, and the fiber arts.
Mrs. Lewis was preceded in death by her father, Charles L. Lewis.
She is survived by her husband, Michael J. Schultz; and her daughter, Zoe Xiao Schultz, both of Durango; her mother, Evelyn R. Lewis of Wenatchee, Wash.; her sister, Alexandra Lewis-Lorentz of Wenatchee, Wash.; her sister, Erika A. Lewis of Boise, Idaho; her brother, Nicholas J. Lewis of Tacoma, Wash.
Kathy Curran, a close friend, will host a special, free yoga class in honor of Mrs. Lewis from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the La Plata Room at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.
A memorial "finger food potluck" will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Ridgewood Event Center, 16919 Colorado Highway 140, Hesperus (take Wildcat Canyon Road to the intersection with Colorado Highway 140, then right three-tenths of a mile to the Event Center driveway).
Memorial contributions may be made in Mrs. Lewis' honor to Durango Nature Studies.
Scot Evan Vaillancourt
An avid bicyclist, Scot Evan Vaillancourt died on Oct. 26, 2004, in the presence of his family as a result of traumatic brain injury caused by a cycling accident. He was 46.
Mr. Vaillancourt was born Feb. 8, 1956, in Richfield, Minn., to Kathryn (Peggy) Vaillancourt and Marshall Vaillancourt.
During the past several years, he lived in the Southwest and considered his home base to be Durango.
Mr. Vaillancourt held a master's degree in special education, and was employed by John F. Kennedy Middle School in Gallup, N.M., at the time of his accident.
He is survived by his brothers, Jim Luse of Rescue, Calif., and Dale Vaillancourt of Burnsville, Minn.; his sister, Judy Vaillancourt-Yerhot of Richfield, Minn.; and two nephews.
A celebration of life will be held at noon Saturday at the St. James Lutheran Church, 3650 Williams Drive, Burnsville, Minn. It is requested that no flowers be sent, however, information regarding donations and the memorial service can be found at www.caring bridge.org/mn/scot.
Taka X. GoodTracks
Taka X. GoodTracks, an active member of the Native American Church as a drummer, cedarman and fireman, died Thursday, Nov. 4, 2004, in Las Cruces, N.M. The cause of death was not disclosed. He was 42.
Mr. GoodTracks was born in Durango on Nov. 26, 1961. He is survived by his mother, Shirley Williams GoodTracks of Ignacio; his adoptive father, Jimm GoodTracks of Kansas; six children, Juniper, Sebastian, Gabriella, Isabella, Alexandra and Clayton; a granddaughter, Tierra; two sisters, Pathimi, Jennifer and cousin Corliss Taylor, all of Ignacio; and three brothers, Robb, Lark and Waukeen, all of Ignacio. Mr. GoodTracks' maternal grandparents were the late John Spencer Williams and Cora Allen Burch. His paternal grandparents were the late William Cloud Monte and Ruth Chavez Archuleta. Mr. GoodTracks is also survived by numerous aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces and cousins.
Evening wake services will be held at 7 p.m. today at the home of Waukeen GoodTracks, 164 Howe Drive, County Road 517, Ignacio. Native American Church songs will be sung in memory of Mr. GoodTracks.
A sunrise ceremony will be conducted by Terry Knight on Wednesday, as Mr. GoodTracks had participated in the Sundance for many years.
A mass of Christian Burial will be held at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Saint Ignatius Church in Ignacio, where Mr. GoodTracks was baptized and attended church as a young boy. Interment will take place at the Ouray Memorial Cemetery. Dinner will be served at the Sky Ute Casino's Rolling Thunder Hall after burial services.
Marianne Meister died on Monday, Nov. 1, 2004, of natural causes at the Valley Inn Nursing Home in Mancos.
Mrs. Meister was born Jan. 14, 1917, in Pawhuska, Okla., the daughter of Hattie Mae and John Hunter. She lived in Pawhuska through high school, and, following her father's death, moved with her mother to Norman, Okla. where they ran a boarding home for college students.
Mrs. Meister attended business school and was educated as a secretary. She helped support her mother while working for the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office. While working there she met and married Mark Meister of Oklahoma City. They were married for 40 years until his death in 1980. In 1965, she returned to the state Capitol as a secretary for several state representatives and senators.
Mrs. Meister was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City, where she served as an elder, deacon, Sunday school teacher, member of the Priscilla Circle of Presbyterian Women, and a Bible study leader. She received a Lifetime Service Award from Presbyterian Women in 2001. She also served on the Board of Directors of Shepard Manor for several years.
Mrs. Meister was a watercolor artist. She painted birds and landscapes. She was a member of the Oklahoma Art Guild and the Oklahoma Watercolor Association. She took numerous art-study trips in the United States and abroad. She shared her artistic talent - especially with her grandchildren.
Mrs. Meister is survived by her son Stuart Meister of Darnestown, Md., and her daughters Susanne Kern of Durango, and Nancy Slade of Houston. She is also survived by 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, in the chapel of the First Presbyterian Church, 1001 N.W. 25th, Oklahoma City.
Memorial contributions may be made in her honor to the First Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City or to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Cecelia Rose Mary Garnand 'Babe' Gensheer
A lifelong resident of the community, Cecelia Rose Mary Garnand "Babe" Gensheer died on Oct. 31, 2004, of natural causes. She was 78.
She was born in Telluride on Jan. 30, 1926, to Helen and John Garand. On June 1, 1946, she married Victor Gensheer.
Mrs. Gensheer was a dedicated employee of F.W. Woolworth for many years.
Mrs. Gensheer is survived by her husband, Victor Gensheer; her son James Gensheer of Augusta, Ga.; her daughter Vicki Kirkpatrick of Durango; her granddaughter Rikki Gensheer; her grandson Christopher Gensheer; her sister Agnes Dunn of Grand Junction; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of her life will be held in the spring of 2005.
Mrs. Gensheer requested that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the La Plata County Humane Society or to the Durango Public Library.
Paul Russell Coutlee
Durango resident, Paul Russell Coutlee, died at his home on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2004, after a three-year struggle with colon cancer. He was 71.
Mr. Coutlee was born in Panama on Feb. 14, 1933, the son of Col. M. John "Cout" Coutlee and Mary Jane Gordon. He married Ren�e J. Coutlee on Sept. 4, 1954, in San Rafael, Calif. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1955, and was a veteran of the Korean War.
Mr. Coutlee also was the West Coast manager and associate publisher forHoliday Magazineand theSaturday Evening Post. He had been a member of the Colorado Mounted Rangers and had been both a member and past president of both The Four Corners Opera and San Juan Symphony.
He enjoyed riding all-terrain vehicles with his friends, family time and stained glass.
There was nothing he couldn't fix or create, said his family.
He is survived by his wife, Ren�e J. Coutlee, of Durango; his daughter Michele R. Coutlee of Murrieta, Calif.; his son Craig J. Coutlee of Durango; and his grandson Jake Owen Coutlee of Durango.
No services are planned.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions go to the American Cancer Society, the Jan Roshong Memorial Scholarship Fund at Fort Lewis College or to a charity of the donor's choice.
Al H. Haas
Senior District Judge Al Haas died Saturday, Oct. 30 at his home. He was 80.
Visitation will be held at Hood Mortuary from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Columba Catholic Church. The Rev. James Koenigsfeld of St. Columba Church will officiate. Burial will occur at Greenmount Cemetery in Durango.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 1701 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA 22311; or to the Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 3434, Durango, CO 81302.
Wallace R. 'Bubs' Heizer
Wallace R. "Bubs" W.R. Heizer, 94, passed away Sunday, Oct. 31, 2004, at his home in Durango.
Mr. Heizer was born May 24, 1910, in Pueblo to Wallace D. and Mary Catherine (Flaherty) Heizer. His family moved to Riverside, N.M., when he was 4, where he was raised on a fruit farm and ranch.
In 1932, Mr. Heizer came to Durango and worked as the head automotive mechanic at the Independent Repair Shop, and eventually worked at several other garages in town.
Six years later, on Oct. 23, 1938, he married Clara Belle Barlow, a Durango native, in Aztec, and later that evening, returned her to Mercy Hospital, where she was a nurse, so she could work her shift.
During World War II, he worked for the government on a railroad boxcar from Elk Creek (near Silverton) to Durango removing railroad ties from the river to use in the war effort. Later, in Colorado Springs, he built an airstrip landing for P-38 bombers for the Department of Defense, and after that returned to Durango to build parts for bombers.
He established Heizer Auto Repair in 1948, and in 1952 started Heizer Auto Salvage and Wrecker Service, which he operated until 1986, on a 16-acre tract of land. In addition, Mr. Heizer built and sponsored stock cars at Aztec Speedway for more than 40 years.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Heizer joined the Foursquare Church in Durango, currently known as New Life Chapel, in 1939.
In recent years, Mr. Heizer enjoyed traveling with his family around the Four Corners area and the county, especially on rural roads.
Mr. Heizer was inventive, sharp-witted and had an incredible memory, his family said. He enjoyed playing the banjo and ukulele, and he could repair and design anything. He loved the elk, deer, and eagles that live in the area.
He is survived by his wife, Clara Heizer of Durango; his son, Wallace E. Heizer of Durango; his daughter, Rebecca L. Heizer of Durango; and three grandchildren, including granddaughter Hayley M. Heizer of Durango.
He was preceded in death by his daughter Marlene Heizer.
Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Hood Mortuary. A visitation with the family will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday. A funeral service will be 1 p.m. Friday also at Hood Mortuary. Burial will occur at Greenmount Cemetery.
Memorial Contributions may be made to First National Bank to be used for park improvements and wildlife preservation.
Norma Lorene Wilson
Norma Lorene Wilson, 59, died Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2004, at her home in Durango. The cause of death was cancer.
Mrs. Wilson was born May 20, 1945, in Texas, the daughter of Norman Sr. and Olga Kelley.
She grew up in Texas and graduated from high school in Coleman, Texas. In 1999, she moved to Durango.
Mrs. Wilson worked as a security guard at Tamarron resort.
She was an artist and painted scenery on feathers, designs on eggs, and made jewelry boxes. She enjoyed reading, particularly Dean Koontz novels. She enjoyed being a grandmother.
"She was a very wonderful woman. A lot of people will miss her," said her daughter, Fawn Miller.
She is survived by her mother, Olga Kelley of Brownwood, Texas; her father, Norman Kelley Sr. of Fort Collins; her daughter, Fawn Miller of Durango; her grandson, Angelo Miller of Durango; and her brother, Norman Kelley Jr. of Texas.
Cremation will occur at Hood Mortuary Crematory in Durango. No services are planned at this time.
Memorial contributions may be made in her memory to the Patrick W. Luter Cancer Center, 3801 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301.