Ruth Ann Leaird (12/9/2005)
The last survivor from a family of nine children, Ruth Ann Leaird, 91, died at Four Corners Health Care Center of Parkinson's disease on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2005.
She moved to Durango 13 years ago to live near her daughter and son-in-law, Marti and Neil Bourjaily. Mrs. Leaird entertained people with her piano playing. She enjoyed knitting and produced beautiful Irish-knit sweaters and afghans.
Mrs. Leaird took writing classes through San Juan College and enjoyed writing short stories and nonfiction. An avid reader herself, she received great satisfaction in teaching adults to read.
She was born to Irving and Blanche Smith in Booton, N.J., on Nov. 8, 1914. After graduating from Booton High School, she lived and worked in New York City. In 1943, she married Edward Raymond Leaird of Maine.
Mrs. Leaird worked as a secretary at the State House in Augusta, Maine. She was the organist at the Episcopal Church in Augusta for many years.
In 1961, the family moved to San Diego, Calif. While there, Mrs. Leaird worked for the San Diego Health Department tuberculosis clinic as a stenographer until her retirement in 1977.
Mrs. Leaird was preceded in death by her husband, Edward Leaird, in 1979.
She is survived by her daughters Marti Bourjaily of Durango, Elizabeth Leaird of Meridian, Miss., and Joanne Baldwin of La Vern, Calif.; and two granddaughters.
No services are planned.
Guy E. Loether (12/8/2005)
Local construction-company owner Guy E. Loether, 93, died at Mercy Medical Center on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2005. The cause of death was a heart attack.
He moved to Durango in 1952, where he owned Loether Construction. Mr. Loether designed and built many homes and commercial buildings in the area. After his retirement in 1976, he and his wife traveled the nation.
Mr. Loether was born to Otto and Gertrude Ward Loether in Fredonia, Kan., on Aug. 26, 1912. He grew up on a farm where, his family said, he learned the value of a dollar and the meaning of a good day's work.
He met Novella M. Thompson in 1932, and the couple saved for seven years to get married, at a time when their collective income was 41 cents a day. They married in Fredonia on May 20, 1939.
Mr. Loether attended Wichita State University. After leaving college, he and his brother owned and operated Loether Brothers Electric in Fredonia. During World War II, Mr. Loether was employed by Boeing Aircraft in Wichita, Kans.
He loved the outdoors. In his early years he owned horses and served as race commissioner for a time. He particularly loved and enjoyed his grandchildren. His family will remember his sense of humor and practical jokes.
"He will be missed by family and friends alike," said his daughter, Linda Johnston.
Mr. Loether was preceded in death by his wife, Novella Loether, and granddaughter Julia Johnston.
He is survived by his daughter, Linda Johnston of Scottsdale, Ariz.; son, Rick Loether of Durango; sister Twila McCarty of Wichita, Kan.; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
A funeral will be held at Hood Mortuary Chapel at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, 2005. The Rev. Ken Downey of Mercy Medical Center will officiate. Burial will occur at Greenmount Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Mercy, 3801 N. Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301.
William F. 'Pete' Black (12/8/2005)
Longtime Durango resident William F. "Pete" Black, 83, died at Mercy Medical Center on Monday, Dec. 5, 2005. The cause of death was congestive heart failure.
He was born Jan. 11, 1922, in Spearman, Texas, to James W. and Minnie Black. In 1931 his family moved to Durango. He met Deliliah Jane Jackson in 1936, and the couple married in Aztec on Jan. 14, 1941.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Mr. Black enlisted in the U.S. Navy in March 1942. He served in the South Pacific from August of that year until August 1945. In addition to transporting officers on a PT boat, he would do reconnaissance on Japanese-controlled islands to identify landing zones.
After his discharge, he and his wife purchased 80 acres from Mr. Pastorius on the Florida Mesa. Through most of the 1950s, he farmed and worked in the oil fields. Mr. Black worked on the Navajo Dam project and later as a truck mechanic for Montezuma Truck Lines during the 1960s. He was the service manager for Pete Honnen Equipment and, for a number of years, for Sellard Implement.
Mr. Black enjoyed hunting, fishing and being surrounded by family. His family said he will be remembered for the twinkle in his eye, warm smile and readiness to help.
Deliliah Black died in January 1983. Mr. Black married Ginny Ostwald in 1984 and she died in 1987. His companion of 17 years, Velma West, died in November.
Mr. Black is survived by his children William J. Black, Kelly Black, Linda Knipp and Richard Black, all of Durango; brother Jerrel Black of Higgins, Texas; eight grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A funeral will be held at Hood Mortuary at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 9, 2005. The Rev. Dan Straw of Florida Presbyterian Church will officiate. Burial will occur at Greenmount Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Mercy, 3801 N. Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301.
Irene Mary Tafoya (12/7/2005)
Longtime Bayfield resident Irene Mary Tafoya, 88, died Monday, Nov. 28, 2005, at Sun Grove Village Care Center in Peoria, Ariz. The cause of death was a stroke.
Mrs. Tafoya was born May 24, 1917, in Center to Antonio and Curcita Manzanares. She was raised in Bayfield.
She married Mehl Tafoya in the mid-1930s. The couple owned a sawmill in Bayfield, so in addition to caring for her family, Mrs. Tafoya helped deliver lumber and logs around the Bayfield area. Later, she worked as a caregiver for several elderly people.
In 2003, she moved to Arizona to live with her daughter Marge Bleau.
Mrs. Tafoya enjoyed gardening, crocheting, cooking, being with her family and watching sports on television.
She was a member of St. Bartholomew's Catholic Church in Bayfield.
Her daughter Marge Bleau described her as "a lovely, great-hearted person."
She was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, Mehl Tafoya; and her sons Samuel Tafoya and Mehl Tafoya Jr.
Mrs. Tafoya is survived by her daughters Mary Kusack of Mesa, Ariz., Tille Cook of Albuquerque and Marge Bleau of Sun City, Ariz.; sons Ernest Tafoya of Grand Junction, Michael Tafoya of Farmington and Leroy Tafoya of Bloomfield, N.M.; brother Richard Manzanares of Salt Lake City; sisters Cordy Garcia of Center and Carmen Archuleta of Salt Lake City; and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other extended family members.
A Mass of Christian burial was held Saturday.
Dayna Ann Illg (12/7/2005)
Longtime Durango resident Dayna Ann Illg, 47, died at her home here on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2005. Mrs. Illg suffered from a variety of diseases that, combined, led to her death.
Mrs. Illg moved to Durango on May 15, 1990. She started working as a teller at Burns Bank, which became the Bank of Colorado during her time there. She held the position of account services department manager before her illnesses prohibited her from continuing. In 1997, she was named the employee of the year.
She was a member of the First Baptist Church of Durango.
Mrs. Illg was born on Oct. 12, 1958, in Bermuda to William and Janice Belvel.
She graduated from Reno Valley High School in California, where she was an accomplished clarinet player. She took great pride in having been in Junior Air Force ROTC for four years, where she was the first female cadet at her school.
After graduation, Mrs. Illg lived in Iowa for a few years before moving to Colorado in 1984.
She met her husband, Todd Arthur Illg, in 1988 in Grand County, and the couple married in Fraser on Feb. 14, 1989.
She enjoyed sewing, cooking, baking and doing crafts. Mrs. Illg also loved pets and enjoyed being with people.
Her husband described her as caring, loving, energetic and feisty. "She was big-hearted," he said. "She'd do things for other people that she wouldn't even do for herself."
Mrs. Illg is survived by her husband Todd Illg of Durango; son Daniel Illg of Durango; mother Janice Ross of Leon, Iowa; brothers Billy Belvel and Mario Torres, both of Moreno Valley, Calif., Steve Belvel of Scottsdale, Ariz., Hugh Holton of Des Moines, Iowa, and Bobby Torres of Angeles Forest, Calif.; and sisters Cindy Clements of Evansville, Ind., Monica Wegner of Fremont, Calif., and Lisa Morrow of Irvine, Calif.
Visitation will be held at Hood Mortuary from 5 to 8 p.m. today, Dec. 7, 2005. A funeral will take place at First Baptist Church of Durango at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, 2005. The Rev. Jeff Dobesh will officiate. Burial will take place at Greenmount Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Montezuma County, 1345 S. Broadway, Cortez, CO 81321.
Christopher Neil Young (12/6/2005)
Pagosa Springs resident Christopher Neil Young, 22, died in Durango from injuries received in a car accident on Friday, Dec. 2, 2005.
He was born to Mark and Kathryn Young in Denver on Dec. 30, 1982. Mr. Young graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 2002. Since then, he had worked for his father's business, At Your Disposal, and for Archuleta County.
Mr. Young was an avid fan of the New York Yankees. A softball player himself, he had been an umpire for the Pagosa Springs youth baseball association. He was also a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church.
Mr. Young is survived by his parents, Mark and Kathryn Young of Pagosa Springs; siblings, Amy Young, Mark Young Jr. and Jason Young, all of Pagosa Springs; grandparents, Gerald and Lois Brinton of Pagosa Springs, Mary Young of Denver and Harold and Pauline Young of Denver; one nephew; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2005 at Our Savior Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, 56 Meadows Drive in Pagosa Springs. The Rev. Les Judge will officiate. Cremation will follow the service.
Adolph Garcia (12/6/2005)
Durango resident Adolph Garcia, 72, died at Four Corners Health Care Center on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2005. The cause of death was complications of liver disease.
Mr. Garcia was born Jan. 20, 1933, in Monero, N.M.
He lived in Durango for much of his life, working as a coal miner and a carpenter. He was disabled in his later years due to working in coal mines. His nephew Gilbert Sisneros had cared for him for the last 13 years.
Mr. Garcia married both of his wives, Patsy Garcia and Adelaida "Lala" Garcia, in Durango. They both preceded him in death.
His family said he will be remembered as a jolly person for his laughter and easygoing attitude. He greatly enjoyed music and singing.
Mr. Garcia was also preceded in death by a son Manuel Garcia; and stepdaughter Carmen Serrano.
He is survived by his son, Ralph Garcia of Payson, Utah; daughters, Lisa Torres of Carbondale, Utah, and Marilyn Garcia and Veronica Garcia, both of Ogden, Utah; sisters, Fredelina Valdez of Durango and Mary Garcia of Farmington; seven stepchildren; 29 grandchildren; 54 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held at Hood Mortuary from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, and a rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. the same day, also at Hood Mortuary. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Sacred Heart Catholic Church at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, 2005. Burial will follow at Greenmount Cemetery.
Arvid 'Rusty' Earl Ervin (12/4/2005)
Arvid "Rusty" Earl Ervin, 68, died of heart disease Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2005, at Mercy Medical Center in Durango.
He lived the last 25 years in Durango and worked as a house painter. He loved living in Durango. He enjoyed hunting in Beaver Meadows, taking along his faithful companion, a German shepherd named Lourdes.
He is survived by his son, Troy Ervin, of Durango.
Cremation will occur at Hood Mortuary Crematory. Per request, no services are planned.