Joe Bobby Valdez (10/1/2005)
Known as "Cha Cha the Greatest," Joe Bobby Valdez, 66, died in Durango on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2005. The cause of death was not disclosed.
He was born in Durango to Joe and Margaret Valdez on Jan. 31, 1939. Mr. Valdez was a self-employed auto-body man. His family said he loved his job, from fixing cars to painting them.
Mr. Valdez loved music, particularly western music, and he played the guitar. His life was focused on his children. They said he always had a smile on his face and always put smiles on the faces of others with his sense of humor.
Mr. Valdez is survived by his wife, Erma Valdez of Durango; sister, Theresa Velasquez of Durango; brother, Sylvian Valdez of Ignacio; daughters, Roberta Sanders of Cañon City and Anna Medina, Joyce Valdez, Tina Valdez and Vicky Martinez, all of Durango; sons, Stanley Valdez of Colorado Springs, Victor Valdez of Canada, and Chris Valdez and Joseph Gurule, both of Durango; and numerous grandchildren and other family members.
Cremation has occurred. A rosary will be recited at 6 p.m. Sunday and a Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday, both at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Sheri Jeanne Honeycutt Erwin (11/30/2005)
A woman who grew up in Durango, Sheri Jeanne Honeycutt Erwin, 41, died at her home in Taylorsville, Utah, on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2005. The cause of death is undetermined.
She was born in Durango to Donald L. and Betty Ann Arnold Honeycutt on May 16, 1964. She attended schools in Silverton and Durango, including Needham Elementary School and Miller Junior High School, before the family moved to Moab, Utah, in 1979. Her father was district manager for Western Colorado Power Co. and La Plata Electric Association when the family lived in Durango.
Mrs. Erwin graduated from Grand Junction High School in 1982 and from St. Mark’s Hospital School of Radiological Technology in Salt Lake City in 1985.
She married Robert L. Erwin in Salt Lake City on Aug. 11, 1985.
At the time of her death, Mrs. Erwin was employed as a registered mammographer at Intermountain Health Care Cottonwood Women’s Center in Murray, Utah. Her family said she enjoyed her work at the center and doing things with and for her family.
She was an active member of the Wasatch Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church. Her favorite pastimes were reading, crocheting and listening to country music.
Her family said she will be remembered for her unique sense of humor.
Mrs. Erwin is survived by her husband, Robert Erwin of Taylorsville, Utah; sons Robert “Paul” Erwin and Christopher Del Erwin, both of Taylorsville; parents Donald L. and Betty Ann Honeycutt of Grand Junction; sisters Dee Goodsell and Tammy Fitzpatrick, both of Grand Junction; and numerous nieces, nephews and extended family members.
Visitation will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 2, 2005, at Wasatch Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church. The funeral will follow at 11 a.m. at the church. Burial will take place at Elysian Gardens, 1075 E. 4580 S. in Murray, Utah.
Memorial contributions may be made to Salt Lake City Junior Academy, 965 E. 3370 S., Salt Lake City, UT 84106, or Wasatch Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church (Student Education Fund), 2139 S. Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84109.
Duane Wilford Kasal (11/28/2005)
Duane Wilford Kasal, a longtime resident of Southwest Colorado, died Saturday, Nov. 26, 2005, at Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez. He was 76.
Mr. Kasal was born Sept. 9, 1929, to Wayne and Lois McCabe Kasal in Dolores. He graduated from Durango High School in 1947.
A little more than a year later, on Dec. 18, 1948, he married Neoma Greenstreet in Durango. The couple had four children.
Mr. Kasal worked as insurance agent in Durango, until he and Mrs. Kasal moved to Cortez eight years ago. Friends and family remembered him as devoted and said he loved playing with his children and grandchildren.
An avid landscaper, he enjoyed gardening and yard work.
He is survived by his wife, Neoma; son, Lyle Wayne Kasal of Aiea, Hawaii; daughters, Duanne Lynn Ostrander of Cortez, Cleo Lea Gregg of Durango and Lois Marie Miller of Murfreesboro, Tenn.; sisters, Agnes "Sissy" Foster and Terry Carmon both of Durango; and seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Cremation will take place, and a private memorial service will be scheduled for a later date.
Vera Lee Ludwig (11/27/2005)
Vera Lee Ludgwig, 74, of Durango died Friday, Nov. 25, 2005, at Mercy Medical Center. The cause of death had not been determined.
Mrs. Ludwig was born May 1, 1931, in Cement, Okla., the daughter of Horace and Zella Spragins.
She graduated from high school in San Diego and worked there as a medical assistant.
She last worked with an acupuncturist at Kaiser-Permanente in San Diego.
She married Robert Benjamin Ludwig on Feb. 19, 1949, in San Diego. Upon retiring, they moved to Ruidoso, N.M., where Mrs. Ludwig worked for The Village Bookie, a local bookshop.
The Ludwigs moved to the Durango area 12 years ago, where Mrs. Ludwig became involved in the Red Hat Society, Bible Study Fellowship and First Presbyterian Church.
"She was one of the best people I've ever known," said her husband, Robert Ludwig. "I lived with her for 56 years, and she didn't kill me."
Mrs. Ludwig is survived by her husband, Robert Ludwig of Durango; daughter, Becky Swartzman of Durango; son, Bob Ludwig of Costa Mesa, Calif.; and five grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her brother, Wayne Spragins.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 28, 2005, at New Life Chapel. Her daughter, Becky Swartzman, will officiate. Cremation will occur at Hood Mortuary Crematory.
Frances Ellen Denton (11/25/2005)
Longtime Cortez resident Frances Ellen Denton, 88, died at her daughter's home in Cortez on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2005. The cause of death was cardiac arrest.
She was born to Jacob E. and Ellen (Erickson) Jacobson on May 4, 1917, in Dunton, where her father was a gold miner. Both of her parents were Swedish and emigrated from Finland.
Mrs. Denton attended Fort Lewis College at the old Hesperus campus and finished her teaching degree at the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley. After graduation, she taught first grade in Cortez.
"Everybody wanted their children to be in her class," said daughter Marsha Cummins. "Her classes would be through the first-grade material by Christmas and would start the second-grade material after New Year's."
On Dec. 27, 1945, she married David Marshall Denton in Aztec. They were married for 58 years before he died in August 2004.
Mr. Denton was active in the Cortez community, serving as mayor for several years during the 1960s and as president of the chamber of commerce. Mrs. Denton supported him in his civic endeavors, even though she most enjoyed being a homemaker and spending time with her family, her daughter said.
She was known for her farm cooking, like pot roast with mashed potatoes and brown gravy, chicken and noodles and chicken and dumplings. Mrs. Denton also enjoyed needlework and painting in watercolors and acrylics.
She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma and the Cortez First United Methodist Church.
Mrs. Denton was preceded in death by grandson Brian Maness and her husband.
Mrs. Denton is survived by her son, Kenneth Denton of Phoenix; daughters Marsha Louise Cummins of Cortez and Denise Marie Maness of Farmington; five grandchildren; and a sister, Leona Jacobson of Farmington.
A memorial service will be held at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27, 2005, at the Cortez First United Methodist Church. The Rev. Lynn Evans will officiate.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hope's Kitchen, c/o Cortez First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 1016, Cortez, CO 81321.
Susan Ann (Potter) Miesel-Schaeffer (11/24/2005)
A former resident of Durango, Susan Ann (Potter) Miesel-Schaeffer, 65, died at her home in Glendale, Ariz., on Monday, Nov. 7, 2005. The cause of death was cancer.
Mrs. Miesel-Schaeffer lived in Durango from 1992 to 2002. She worked as a psychologist and built two homes at Vallecito Lake and one in Durango while living here. In 2002, she moved to Glendale, Ariz.
In Arizona, her advocacy for children earned her the nickname "Dr. Seuss" at Sandra Day O'Connor High School, where she worked as the school psychologist. Mrs. Miesel-Schaeffer also served on the Arizona Governor's Council for head injuries.
She married Thomas Schaeffer in Glendale on Oct. 15, 2005.
She was born to Mary Euzefa and Byron Potter in Lowell, Mich., on Feb. 25, 1940. From 1958 to 1992, Mrs. Miesel-Schaeffer lived in Waterford, Mich. During this time, she developed Waterford Family Counseling with her first husband, Jack Miesel, and raised six children.
Her family said that in addition to her professional accomplishments, Mrs. Meisel-Schaeffer was a talented pianist and vocalist, an accomplished skier, a United States Tennis Association-ranked tennis player and a tournament golfer. She was a licensed pilot, real-estate broker and building contractor. She was a world traveler who loved experiencing other cultures.
According to her family, Mrs. Miesel-Schaeffer willingly shared her talents with others, she had a positive outlook on life and she had boundless energy. She requested that her tombstone read: "I did it all!"
Mrs. Miesel-Schaeffer is survived by her husband, Thomas Schaeffer of Glendale, Ariz.; children, Jiah Miesel of San Diego, Lauren Alessi of Harbor Springs, Mich., Danny Miesel of Pontiac, Mich., Dr. Todd Miesel of Seattle, Katy Scott of Tucson, Ariz., and Mark Miesel of Colorado Springs; brothers, Bill Potter of Iron Mountain, Mich., Dave Potter of Lowell, Mich., and Joe Potter of Charlevoix, Mich.; sisters, Kitty Brenk of Tawas City, Mich., and Jerry Frances and Sharon Miles, both of Lowell, Mich.; former husband, Jack Miesel of Waterford, Mich.; and numerous friends and relatives.
A memorial celebration will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27, 2005, at Deer Lake Racquet Club in Clarkston, Mich. The telephone number is (248) 625-8686.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to West Valley Child Crisis Center, P.O. Box 850, Glendale, AZ 85311; or Development Office, Arizona Cancer Center, P.O. Box 245013, Tucson, AZ 85724.
Virginia Walter (11/22/2005)
A woman whose family roots go back to the founding of Durango, Virginia Walter, 75, died here Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005. The cause of death was complications from heart disease.
She was born to Thomas and Lucille Brett in San Fernando, Calif., on Jan. 6, 1930. Mrs. Walter grew up in Aztec and graduated from Aztec High School. After she married Theodore C. Walter on Jan. 1, 1949, the couple moved to Durango.
Mrs. Walter's family heritage in this area dates back to her grandfather, Thomas Hudson Wigglesworth. He was a civil engineer who surveyed much of this region for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad.
Her family said Mrs. Walter's legacy will be her family and the joy she left in memories of family picnics in the mountains, bridge games with her friends and her strong involvement in Rebekah Lodge No. 134.
Mrs. Walter was preceded in death by her husband, Theodore Walter.
She is survived by her daughters, Marilyn Dunagan of Hesperus, Kathleen Goddard of Rio Rancho, N.M., and Patricia Walter of Palmer, Alaska; son, Charles Bret Walter of Albuquerque; brothers, Roy Brett of Albuquerque and Jack Brett of Plano, Texas; sister, Lorraine Whitlow of Brazoria, Texas; and eight grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at Hood Mortuary at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25, 2005. The Rev. Myron Darmour will officiate.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Mercy, 375 E. Park Ave., Durango, CO 81301.
Holly Lynn Smith Olsonand Anette Sue Olson (11/22/2005)
A Fort Lewis College graduate, Holly Lynn Smith Olson, 32, along with her newborn daughter, Anette Sue Olson, died on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005, at Swedish Trauma Emergency Center in Littleton.
Mrs. Olson graduated from Fort Lewis College with a degree in English and communications in 1995. At Fort Lewis, she was a resident advisor for three years and resident director of her dormitory for one year. While she was in college, Mrs. Olson interned at Channel 7-KMGH news, working on the assignment desk, helping in news gathering and working with the investigative-reporting department.
She was born to Donald and Sue Lenihan Smith at St. Joseph's Hospital in Denver on Feb. 2, 1973. After attending school there, she graduated from East High School in 1991.
Following college, she worked in mortgage banking for nine years, advancing to the position of mortgage specialist.
Mrs. Olson met Jeff A. Olson in Durango in 1998. The couple moved to Denver and married on July 13, 2003. Together, they tackled major home-remodeling projects and enjoyed traveling. In addition to destinations in Europe and the Caribbean, the family cabin in Berthoud Falls was a favorite getaway.
Her family said Mrs. Olsonwas a talented woman who attended dance school for 13 years, was active in soccer and competed on the swim team in high school.
She began volunteering young, working with the Red Cross in junior and senior high school. The organization honored her as youth volunteer of the year in 1990. She was also one of the first altar girls for Cure D'Ars Catholic Church. In recent years, she had volunteered for the American Cancer Society's Walk for the Cure.
Anette Sue Olson and her mother, Holly Lynn Smith Olson, are survived by Mrs. Olson's husband, Jeff Olson; her mother, Sue Smith; her brother, Kevin Lenihan Smith; and numerous aunts, uncles, in-laws and cousins.
Visitation will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. today, Nov. 22, 2005, at Horan & McConaty Family Chapel, 3101 S. Wadsworth Blvd., in Lakewood. The funeral will take place at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2005, at St. Andrews United Methodist Church, 3350 White Bay Drive in Highlands Ranch.
Memorial donations may be made to Lifeline Puppy Rescue, 15171 Riverdale Road, Brighton, CO 80602; Cure d'Ars Catholic Church, 3201 Dahlia St., Denver, CO 80207; or Children's Hospital, 1245 East Colfax Ave., Suite 400, Denver, CO 80218.
Nevens Harper (11/21/2005)
Nevens Harper, a longtime resident of Durango, died Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2005, of complications from Parkinson's disease. She was 86.
She was born to Frank and Martha Carpenter on July 28, 1919, in Spring, Texas. Mrs. Harper grew up in Houston.
An avid traveler and reader, Mrs. Harper also enjoyed playing bingo and the slot machines at local casinos. She sewed, crocheted and displayed a fondness for American Indian jewelry and art.
Mrs. Harper was a longtime volunteer at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Friends recalled Mrs. Harper's sweet tooth, which often led her to bake pies and homemade candy.
After moving to Durango in 1986, Mrs. Harper was an employee for many years of Skip Wells at the Diamond Circle Gift Store.
Mrs. Harper was preceded in death by her husband, Sam Haden Harper, and son Haden Kirk Harper.
She is survived by daughter Kay Harper Roberts of Durango, son Kent Wilson of Durango, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Cremation has occurred and a celebration of life service will be announced at a later date.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, (800) 708-7644.