June R. Simmonds (12/29/2005)
A resident of Durango for nearly 30 years, June R. Simmonds, 83, died at Four Corners Health Care Center on Friday, Dec. 23, 2005. The cause of death was a stroke.
Mrs. Simmonds was born to Elmer and Essie Romans in Dallas on June 6, 1922. After a stroke left her disabled, she moved to Durango in 1979.
"Everybody at Tamarin Square and Four Corners Health Care Center called her a little firecracker," her son Michael Simmonds said. "She was very witty and very independent."
Mrs. Simmonds is survived by her children Norris Simmonds and Michael Simmonds, both of Durango, Denise Lewis of Cortez, James Glover of Austin, Texas, and Cheryl Mullenix of Wyoming.
A private service is planned.
The family asks that donations be made to a local charity in lieu of flowers.
Gertrude Jewel Wenzel (12/29/2005)
Longtime Durango resident Gertrude Jewel Wenzel died at her home on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2005. The cause of death was emphysema. She was 79.
On July 25, 1926, she was born to Clayton and Lillian Gertrude (Wilson) Barnhisel in Parko, Wyo.
The Wenzel family moved to Durango in 1950, where Mrs. Wenzel was a homemaker.
When asked about her life, she said, "It was a great ride."
Mrs. Wenzel was preceded in death by her husband, Raymond Carl Wenzel, in 1987.
She is survived by her son Rodney Carl Wenzel of Durango; daughter Trudy Lee Rydalch of Camp Verde, Ariz.; brother Cal Barnhisel of Willow Creek, Calif.; four grandchildren; and six great-grandnieces and nephews.
At her wish, there will be no services.
The family requests contributions be made to Hospice of Mercy, 3801 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301.
Robert Edward Nichols Sr. (12/28/2005)
A man who lived an adventurous life, Robert Edward Nichols Sr., 89, died at The Valley Inn in Mancos on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2005.
He was born in Los Angeles to John and Marie Antoinette Nichols on Jan. 31, 1916. Mr. Nichols spent part of his youth on the Hopi Reservation, where they called him Patuna, which means nickel. He began working on the Navajo Reservation as an American Indian trader when he was 14, learning the Navajo language and customs.
While working near Chinle, Ariz., Mr. Nichols met Cleo Bowers, a member of the Oklahoma Choctaw Tribe. They married in March 1938 and together built a trading post at Hunters Point, Ariz. The Nicholses ran the business until World War II, when they sold it and went to Texas to build fighter planes for the armed forces.
After the war, Mr. and Mrs. Nichols moved to Mancos, where they built and operated the Riverside Grocery Store and Motel. They ran this business until they moved to Durango, when Mr. Nichols went to work as a machinist for The Vanadium Corporation of America mill. The couple bought and operated the Vista Motel in north Durango for many years.
During the early 1960s, Mr. Nichols and Henry Hotter set up a uranium mine on the Navajo Reservation. The two of them worked the mine for a couple of years until the price of uranium dropped.
Even after selling the motel, Mr. Nichols didn't retire. He worked for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Oliger Sheet Metal and Purgatory Ski Area. His family said he was a man of many talents and could repair just about anything.
They said his biggest virtue was doing good things for others. "He never wanted to know what you could do for him, but what he could do for you," his daughter Ann Mason said. "He just about wore out his vehicles plowing snow out of the parking lot at St. Columba Catholic Church, as well as for his neighbors and friends."
Mr. Nichols enjoyed hunting and fishing. He also spent his free time with family, gardening, doing crafts, panning for gold, mining, jeeping and doing anything outdoors. His family said he was a good story teller, and no one was a stranger to him.
Mr. Nichols was preceded in death by his wife of 48 years, Cleo Nichols, and his son Robert E. Nichols Jr., who died earlier this year.
He is survived by his children James Nichols and Ann Mason, both of Durango, and Carla Nichols and Pat Palmer, both of Grand Junction; brother Ray Nichols of Farmington; sister Virginia Jones of Redding, Calif.; 15 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A rosary will be recited at St. Columba Catholic Church at 6:30 p.m. today, Dec. 28, 2005. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005, also at St. Columba. The Rev. James Koenigsfeld will officiate. Burial will follow at Greenmount Cemetery.
Muriel E. (Batho) Nash Melson (12/27/2005)
A memorial service for Muriel E. (Batho) Nash Melson, who died on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2005, will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005. It will take place at Christ the King Lutheran Church.
Dorthy L. Riegel (12/27/2005)
A Durango resident for more than 30 years, Dorthy L. Riegel, 83, died at Mercy Medical Center on Monday, Dec. 19, 2005. The cause of death was congestive heart failure.
Mr. and Mrs. Riegel moved to Durango in 1972 when his construction work brought them here. They purchased a home near Hermosa, and she lived there until earlier this year, when she moved to the home of her daughter Veloria "Vicki" Hose.
In mid-November, Mrs. Riegel broke a bone in her leg and was cared for at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center in Pagosa Springs.
While in Durango, she was active in bowling leagues for several years.
Mrs. Riegel was born to Elijah H. and Ines Gray in Tiffin, Ohio, on May 24, 1922. Mrs. Riegel graduated from high school in Clyde, Ohio.
She married Floyd A. Riegel on Feb. 12, 1941. Her identical twin sister, Doris, married Mr. Riegel's brother.
Until Mr. and Mrs. Riegel moved to Durango in 1972, the couple lived in Toledo, Ohio. She was a homemaker.
Mrs. Riegel loved all animals, but especially horses. While living in Ohio, she was active with the Ohio Pony of the Americas Club. She raised POAs and was an inspector for the organization, traveling throughout the state.
"She was very family-oriented," said her daughter Veloria Hose. "People described her as warm and friendly, and she loved people."
Mrs. Riegel was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Floyd Riegel.
She is survived by her daughters Veloria "Vicki" Hose of Durango and Joyce Monger of Drain, Ore.; son Gary Riegel of Redmesa; sister Doris Riegel of Toledo, Ohio; eight grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren.
Cremation has occurred. A memorial service will be held at Christ the King Lutheran Church at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005. The Rev. John Knutson will officiate.
Memorial contributions may be made to the La Plata County Humane Society, 1111 S. Camino del Rio, Durango, CO 81301.
Larry Cecil Wright (12/27/2005)
Longtime Cortez resident Larry Cecil Wright, 66, died at the Vista Grande Nursing Home on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2005. The cause of death was cancer.
He was born to Clarence and Louise (Hopper) Wright in Hiawatha, Kan., on May 30, 1939.
On June 9, 1962, Mr. Wright married Charlotte Nadine Rummel in Durango.
He worked as a truck driver and diesel mechanic. A few of his favorite pastimes were riding four wheelers in the mountains and football. But above all, his family said, he loved spending time with family and friends. He enjoyed going to the coffee shop with those friends.
Mr. Wright was preceded in death by his wife of 40 years, Nadine Wright.
He is survived by his children Lisa Lowe of Denver, Larry Dean Wright of Farmington, Tina Kimmel of Cortez and Jennifer Fitzgerald of Tucson, Ariz.; siblings Jerry Wright of Cortez, Don Wright of Payette, Ind., and Charles Wright and Charlene Kennedy, both of Bloomfield, N.M.; 10 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. today, Dec. 27, 2005, at Ertel Memorial Chapel in Cortez. A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005, also at the Ertel Chapel. Burial will follow at the Cortez Cemetery.
Irene M. Lucero Griego (12/27/2005)
Lifelong Durango resident Irene M. Lucero Griego, 50, died at Mercy Medical Center on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2005. The cause of death was cancer.
She was born to Ross and Berlinda Lucero in Durango on July 2, 1955.
Her family said cooking was her passion and she excelled in homemaking skills. To make a living, Mrs. Griego worked cleaning houses and motels.
"She wouldn't let guests leave until they were fed. She had a great sense of humor, just like her mother, and she will be missed," said her sister Shirley Casper.
Her family said that Mrs. Griego was always willing to help family and friends in need.
Mrs. Griego is survived by her daughters Tracy Albo of Durango and Susan Topete of Tucson, Ariz.; sisters Shirley Casper of Bayfield, Viola Medina of Albuquerque, Betty Lucero of Greeley and Linda Lucero of Phoenix; brothers Al Albo of Bayfield and Frank Lucero, Ross Lucero Jr., and Mario Lucero, all of Albuquerque; eight grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A rosary will be recited at Sacred Heart Catholic Church at 6 p.m. today, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2005. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005, also at Sacred Heart. The Rev. Antonio Flores will officiate.
Lena Gurule (12/25/2005)
Durango resident Lena Gurule, 69, died at University Hospital in Denver on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2005. The cause of death was kidney failure.
She was born to Ruben and Marina Sanchez in Lone Tree on April 1, 1936. Mrs. Gurule was raised on the family ranch in the Dyke and Pagosa Junction area.
On Oct. 29, 1969, she married Arthur Gurule in Aztec. They settled in Durango after their marriage.
Mrs. Gurule did laundry at the Strater Hotel for many years.
Her family said Mrs. Gurule was an excellent cook who never hesitated to spend time with family. She and her aunts would play baseball in the street with her children and family. She helped raise many of her nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Gurule also was known to ride motorcycles now and then. She was an active member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
"She really loved her family and wanted us all together as often as possible," said her son, Robert "Archie" Archuleta.
Mrs. Gurule was preceded in death by her grandsons Artie Gurule and Paul Atencio.
She is survived by her husband, Arthur Gurule, of Durango; son Robert Archuleta of Farmington; stepdaughters Eleaner Griego of Littleton, Jane Talamante of Phoenix, Patricia Wood of Kiowa and Virginia Baker of Ramah; stepson Art Gurule of DeBeque; sister Rafalita Olguin of Durango; brother Ernest Sanchez of Layton, Utah; 15 grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren.
A rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 26, 2005, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2005, also at Sacred Heart. The Rev. Antonio Flores will officiate and burial will occur at Greenmount Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice.
Olin 'Olie' Wade (12/23/2005)
Ignacio native Olin "Olie" Wade, 77, died on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2005 at the Homelake Veterans Center near Monte Vista. The cause of death was Parkinson's disease.
He was born to Vern and Beulah Wade in Ignacio on July 4, 1928. After finishing the eighth grade, he enlisted in the Army and was stationed in Juneau, Alaska.
When he returned home, Mr. Wade worked for Don Gosney Sr. as a mechanic at the John Deere dealership. He later moved to Alamosa, where he also worked as a mechanic at the John Deere dealership until his retirement.
"He was always kind of mischievous," said his sister, Evelyn Semler. "He loved to joke and tell stories - he was always telling some good one."
Mr. Wade is survived by his wife, Joan Wade, of Alamosa; daughters Cindy Smith of La Jara, Tanya McBride of Juneau, Alaska, and Hilda Hunter and Zena Horton, both of Alamosa; sister Evelyn Semler of Ignacio; six grandsons; and two great-grandchildren.
A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2005, at Rogers Family Mortuary at 205 State St. in Alamosa.