Robert Edward Nichols (9/23/2005)
A native of Durango, Robert Edward Nichols Jr., 59, died Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005, at his home in Tempe, Ariz. The cause of death was a massive heart attack.
He was born in Durango to Robert and Cleo Nichols on Dec. 26, 1945. After attending St. Columba Catholic School, he graduated from Durango High School in 1965. His wife said most people would remember him from drag racing his 1955 Chevy.
Mr. Nichols married Ruth Haley at St. Columba Catholic Church on June 16, 1965. The couple got jobs in Denver that winter, but Wolf Creek Pass was closed when it was time to move. Mr. Nichols suggested they go to Phoenix to see the Winter National Drag Races instead, and the couple decided to settle there.
In Tempe, he created and owned Nichols Precision. The business makes highly technical and precise parts for NASA and the Defense Department. There are Nichols Precision parts on the Mars Landrover, the walkabout backpacks used by astronauts while outside the shuttle or space station and on the ejection chutes.
Astronauts, congressmen and other dignitaries often visited the facility.
Mr. Nichols received numerous awards for his work, including one from the Navajo Codetalkers from World War II.
The one of which he was probably most proud was Businessman of the Year, for which he was selected by the General Dynamics conglomerate.
"He had to be outdoors," said Ruth Nichols about her husband's passions outside of work.
His son Ron remembered his father teaching him and his brother about hunting and fishing.
"He loaded his own ammo so it would be precise to the grain," he said. "He kept a hunting journal and his own maps." Mr. Nichols also enjoyed gold mining and golfing.
He is survived by his wife Ruth Nichols of Tempe, Ariz.; sons Rick Nichols and Ron Nichols, both of Tempe, Ariz.; daughter Robyn Garside of Cottonwood, Ariz.; father Robert Nichols Sr., of Mancos; brother James Nichols of Durango; sisters Carla Nichols of Grand Junction and Pat Palmer and Ann Mason, both of Durango; four grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A graveside service will held at 10 a.m. today at Greenmount Cemetery.
Robert Raymond Carra (9/22/2005)
Robert Raymond Carra, a business owner, died Friday, Sept. 16, 2005, at his home in Durango. He was 61.
Mr. Carra was born May 8, 1944, in New Orleans, the son of Robert and Shirley Carra.
At 17, Mr. Carra joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served in the Vietnam War. Upon his return from the military, he attended college.
On Feb. 2, 1996, he married Barbara "Bobbie" Carra in Bullhead City, Ariz.
Mr. Carra was vice president and in charge of quality control at Creative Concrete in Durango.
He joined the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks Lodge No. 507 in 1996 and served in the officers chairs until he became the Exalted Ruler in 2001-02. He became a trustee of the Lodge when his health interfered with his service.
Mr. Carra was also a Commandant of the Mountain Division of the Marine Corps League.
In addition to his work with the Elks and Marine Corps League, he also worked with Toys for Tots and ABATE.
He collected swords and other items. He was passionate about music, having DJ'ed for many years.
Survivors include his wife, Barbara "Bobbie" Carra, of Durango; mother, Shirley Munch of New Berlin, Wis.; two brothers, Don Munch and Raymond Munch, and two sisters, Donna Surinack and Lisa Munch, all of Wisconsin; two sons in California; four step-children in Iowa and Minnesota; and numerous grandchildren, nieces, nephews and great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was held earlier this week.
Memorial contributions may be sent to Elks Lodge No. 507, 901 E. Second Ave., Durango, CO 81301.
Sylvan Rogers Jack (9/22/2005)
A lifetime resident of the Four Corners, Sylvan Rogers Jack, 89, died at his home in Redmesa on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2005. The cause of death was cancer.
He was born in Mancos to William Jefferson and Clara Ann Rogers Jack on June 10, 1916.
On April 18, 1937, Mr. Jack married Opal Briggs in Allison. At the wedding dance, one of Mrs. Jack's ex-boyfriends was so mad that he came to get even with Mr. Jack for stealing her away. He got hold of the groom's brother, Nelson, thinking he was the groom, and beat the tar out of him. The newlyweds left on their honeymoon the next day, leaving Nelson Jack to recuperate.
The Jacks spent 45 years on the Navajo Reservation, co-owning Jack Brothers Trading Post in Shiprock, N.M., the Piñon Trading Post in Piñon, Ariz., and the Rock Point Trading Post in Rock Point, Ariz. The couple also operated trading posts at Rough Rock, Ariz., and Round Rock, Ariz. Mr. Jack was fluent in Navajo.
He told his family numerous stories about his time on the reservation.
During World War II, when everything was at a premium, Mr. Jack got a new car, one of two that Erickson Pontiac in Farmington received that year. En route back to the trading post, he got stuck in Chinle Wash, and then a flash flood hit. Because there were no parts or replacement cars available, he took the car apart completely, cleaned the parts and refurbished them, and then rebuilt the car.
Mr. Jack served on the school board in Kirtland, N.M. He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"He loved the Gospel and missionary work," said his daughter-in-law Patti Jack. "He served the Lord faithfully all of his life."
Mr. Jack also enjoyed fishing and gardening.
Mr. Jack is survived by his children Ronald Jack of Fruitland, N.M., Oleen Barks of Bakersfield, Calif., Robert Jack of House, N.M., Nancy Knudsen of Holbrook, Ariz., Darel Jack of Redmesa, Pam Adams and Tim Jack, both of Las Vegas, and Joan Clark and Nada McConnell of Farmington; brothers Earl Jack of Allison, Clarence Jack of Farmington and Alden Jack of Glenwood, N.M.; sisters Irene Black of Farmington and Edna Guillory of Kirtland, N.M.; 28 grandchildren; 47 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Opal Briggs Jack, and two grandchildren.
A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Redmesa.
Elidia 'Lee' Lujan (9/22/2005)
A former Durango resident, Elidia "Lee" Lujan, 73, died on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005, at her home in Glendale, Ariz. The cause of death was cancer.
Mrs. Lujan was born in Ignacio to Augustine and Selza Martinez on May 31, 1932. She grew up in Hayward, Calif., and Henderson, Nev. She struggled with kidney problems all of her life.
The Martinez family returned to Durango in 1948, and she married Gilbert Lujan at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in June 1951. She sang in the choir at the church for many years.
Many Durangoans will remember Mrs. Lujan as the short, happy cashier at Woolworth's for 17 years.
"She loved to dance and could sing like a bird," said her sister, Donna Scott. "She was a really good person, a lot of fun and really happy."
She is survived by her children Marlene Lujan of Kona, Hawaii, Patty Lujan and Steve Lujan, both of Glendale, Ariz., Christine Hodges of Sacramento, Calif., Michael Lujan of Claremore, Okla., Phil Lujan and Gabe Lujan, both of Salt Lake City, and Andrea Gillette of Bayfield; sister Donna Scott of Durango; brothers Gus Martinez of La Habra, Calif., and Jim Martinez of Henderson, Nev.; five grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
Mrs. Lujan was preceded in death by her husband, Gilbert Lujan.
Cremation has occurred. A rosary will be said at 7 p.m. Friday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, also at Sacred Heart. The Rev. Antonio Flores will officiate.
Dora Piccoli (9/19/2005)
Dora Piccoli, a former Durangoan who was active in politics, died Sunday, Sept. 18, 2005, of complications from ovarian cancer at Lutheran Medical Center's hospice unit in Arvada. She was 87.
Mrs. Piccoli was born on Dec. 20, 1917, in Deferiat, N.Y., to Frank and Anna Vellutino. She graduated from high school in Albany, N.Y.
She met Joseph A. Piccoli, who was stationed nearby after serving in the U.S. Navy, and they married July 8, 1941.
Their first child was born in Albany. Later, they moved to Mr. Piccoli's home in Durango, where they had their second child.
A working woman who was very active in politics, Mrs. Piccoli served as chairwoman of the Republican Party in Durango. She also served on the Anti-Discrimination Commission for the state of Colorado during the 1960s, and acted as chairwoman when the commission handled many landmark cases.
Her career in Durango began at an attorney's office, Perkins & Cobb, where she worked for many years. She worked for several oil companies, and was a legal land secretary for Getty Oil.
She transferred to Houston after Getty moved its operations there during the late 1960s. However, she stayed for only a short time because she suffered a cerebral brain hemorrhage. After recovering from the resulting surgery, she moved to Denver and worked for Earth Resources, a mining company, until she retired.
Survivors include a sister, Olga Lassonde of Albany; two brothers, Frank Vellutino of Albany, and Renato Vellutino of Westchester, N.Y.; a daughter, Dale Csatlos of Arvada; and a son, Bob Piccoli of Bayfield. She also is survived by five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Mrs. Piccoli was preceded in death by her husband in 1994, and a granddaughter, April Piccoli, in 2003.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Durango. Burial will occur at Greenmount Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to Exempla Lutheran Hospice Care Center, c/o L.M.C. Community Fund, 6870 W. 52nd Ave., Suite 103, Arvada, CO 80002.
Mary Jo Looney Cooper (9/16/2005)
A longtime former Durango resident, Mary Jo Looney Cooper, 78, died on Aug. 31, 2005, in Sun City, Georgetown, Texas. The cause of death was congestive heart failure.
She was born to Everett L. and Mary Riley Looney on March 10, 1927, in Ennis, Texas. After graduating in 1944 from Stephen F. Austin High School in Austin, Texas, she went on to attend the University of Texas. Mrs. Cooper received a bachelor’s of business administration in 1948.
She married Thomas James in Austin. The marriage was later dissolved.
She moved to Durango and married Cecil Cooper in the mid-1970s. While in Durango, she worked as a real-estate broker. She was also a member of the Durango Foursquare Church, which became New Life Chapel.
The couple moved to Texas in 2000 for their retirement.
Mrs. Cooper had many interests, including participation in Right to Life, a variety of church activities, tennis, golf, pool and bridge.
“She was a beautiful person,” said her daughter Louisa Schurig. “She enjoyed the people around her and wanted to help them if she could.” Mrs. Cooper is survived by her husband Cecil Cooper of Sun City, Georgetown, Texas; daughters Mary Ann Wallace of Las Cruces, N.M., Jo Ellen Burnett of Dallas and Louisa Schurig of Topeka, Kan.; son Thomas James of Lubbock, Texas; and numerous grandchildren.
Cissy Marie Wilkinson Germany (9/16/2005)
Cissy Marie Wilkinson Germany passed from this life on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2005, in Farmington, N.M., at the age of 29.
A celebration of Cissy Germany’s life will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005, at Living Word Church in Farmington with Pastor Tony Pacheco officiating. Burial will follow at Memory Gardens of Farmington.
She was born Feb. 11, 1976, to Garland (Kent) and Rose Wilkinson. Cissy was their middle child.
Germany attended Aztec High School, San Juan College and Eastern New Mexico University. She worked at Curves for Women and as a Certified Nurses’ Assistant. She coached her son’s soccer team and did volunteer work at his schools. She always looked forward to watching her son and nephew play sports so she could cheer them on.
Germany was a kind and generous person, always out to help those in need. She touched the lives of everyone she met. She had a passion for arts and crafts and could always be found drawing, painting or sewing. She looked at life as an adventure. She was never one to sit around and always had the need to get out and experi ence all that life had to offer.
Germany loved to visit the Bar D Ranch in Durango, go fishing and camping, or just spend time with family and friends. She leaves behind a husband and son, whom she loved very much.
Germany is survived by her husband, Benjamin Charm Germany; her son, Jesse Joseph Reynolds; parents, Kent and Rose Wilkinson; sister, Kristy Wilkinson, all of Farmington, N.M.; brother, Michael Wilkinson and wife, Tasha, of Utah; grandfather, Charlie Wilkinson; mother-in-law, Tamara Lynn Germany; sister-in-law, Amy Jolene Day of Florida; aunt and uncle, Ken and Nancy Whited, of Cortez; and nephews and nieces, Kason Wilkinson and Wallace Kowalski III, Anastasia and Aleigha Wilkinson, all of Farmington. She also leaves behind numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Jessie and Al Schieber, Rose Heny, Alma Wilkinson, and Beulah Wilkinson.
Germany is in the care of Cope Memorial Chapel, 404 W. Arrington, Farmington, N.M., (505) 327-5142.