Les Bramlette Caston II (1/10/2006)
The brother of Durango resident Keeton Anderson Caston, Les Bramlette Caston II, 32, died on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2006, in Liberty, Miss. The cause of death was complications from a back injury.
Mr. Caston was born to Brent and Mary Petty Caston on March 27, 1973. He attended Amite School Center in Liberty, and was involved in sports from Little League and track to the AA State All-Star Football Game his senior year of high school. He earned his bachelor's degree in kinesiology at Mississippi State University.
Mr. Caston trained many family members and clients in fitness techniques and suggested programs for wellness. For three years, he worked at Indian Cycle in Ridgeland, Miss., creating and directing a fitness-equipment department. He won regional awards in leadership and sales for three consecutive years.
In his leisure time, Mr. Caston enjoyed being outdoors and reveled in electronics, finding pleasure in the newest gadgets and gear. His family said, "Bram was both mystic and muscle, artist and athlete, introvert and intellect, philosopher and pragmatist. The diverse roles he filled in his 32 years blessed people in countless ways. He was a man who persevered through physical struggles for two years of severe pain but who never gave up, having recently undergone a radical surgery."
In addition to his sister, Mr. Caston is survived by his mother, the Rev. Mary Petty Anderson of Mercer Island in Seattle; his father and stepmother, Brent and Peggy Caston of Liberty, Miss.; half-brother the Rev. McKay Caston of Greenwood, Miss.; stepsiblings Jennifer Knight, Tracy Boyd and Michael Boyd; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
A memorial service was held on Monday, Jan. 9, 2006, on Longleaf Farms south of Liberty, Miss.
Memorial donations may be made to the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund or a charity of your choosing.
Janet Wise Jones (1/9/2006)
Hesperus resident Janet Wise Jones, 50, died at her home on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2006. The cause of death was cancer.
She was born to Edward and Marian Wise in Asherton, Texas, on Jan. 14, 1955. At the age of 18, she married Larry Joe Jones.
Her family said Mrs. Jones loved life. She enjoyed auctions, swap meets, snow and the mountains of Colorado. She was a talented seamstress known for her hand-stitched quilts.
Mrs. Jones was preceded in death by her husband, Larry Jones.
She is survived by her close friend Guy Stees of Hesperus; brothers Richard Wise of Early, Texas, and Miles Wise, of Carrizo Springs, Texas; mother Marian Barnes of Carrizo Springs and her father Edward Wise.
Cremation has occurred. Services will be held at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 3801 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301.
John David Kirby (1/7/2006)
Many people who knew his twinkling eyes may not have known his name or situation. John David Kirby, 57, died of exposure on Dec. 14, 2005.
He was born to William and Luella Kirby in Dos Palos, Calif., on Nov. 3, 1948.
Friends say he did not live in a house, but called all Durango his home. A fan of the outdoors, he chose to live outside.
Mr. Kirby, also known as "Billy Goat Dave," danced at downtown activities by himself or with college girls. His long beard turned gray with age.
He is survived by a brother, two sisters and friends at the Manna Soup Kitchen.
Cremation has occurred. In spring, Mr. Kirby's ashes will be sprinkled in the mountains that he loved.
Manna Soup Kitchen has started working toward a Memorial Fruit Tree Garden in honor of all its patrons who have died and plans a specific marker for Mr. Kirby.
Donations may be sent to Manna Soup Kitchen, 1100 Avenida del Sol, Durango, CO 81301.
Mary Pargin-Moore (1/6/2006)
A woman who was active in the community, Mary Evelyn Pargin-Moore, 78, died at Mercy Medical Center on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2006. The cause of death was respiratory complications.
She was born in Ignacio to Albert and Tennie Larsen on Oct. 16, 1927. Mrs. Pargin-Moore attended school in Tiffany, Bayfield, Ignacio and Durango. After high school, Mrs. Pargin-Moore attended the Pueblo School of Nursing and got her practical training at St. Mary Corwin Hospital.
When World War II ended, she married Rodney N. Pargin and lived at the Pargin Ranch for most of the 40 years of their marriage. Mrs. Pargin-Moore worked at Ignacio State Bank and was honored for her 25 years of service by her co-workers. She was known in Ignacio for the after-hours banking assistance she provided to the house-bound widows on Browning Avenue.
After Mr. Pargin died, she married John Moore in Canada in the late 1980s.
She enjoyed playing piano for various groups, rock hunting, crafts, Bridge Club, candle making and making candy. Mrs. Pargin-Moore liked to travel, having visited Mexico, Canada, much of the United States and Fiji.
She served as the state president of the Colorado Association of Soil Conservation Districts Auxiliary. Mrs. Pargin-Moore helped with the start of the Arts & Crafts Fair at the La Plata County Fairgrounds in its earliest incarnation in the late 1970s or early 1980s. She was also a member of Eastern Star.
During the last few years, she had lived near her sister Alberta Pargin at the Pargin Ranch.
Mrs. Pargin-Moore was preceded in death by her husbands Rod Pargin and later, John Moore.
She is survived by her sisters Alberta Pargin of Ignacio and Joyce Wick of Delta; brothers Raymond Larsen of Ignacio and Alfred L. "Bud" Larsen of Shamrock, Texas; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Cremation has occurred. A private family memorial service will held.
Memorial contributions may be made to Four Corners Health Care Center, Attn. Sue Hannes, 2911 Junction Creek Road, Durango, CO 81301; Gideons International, P.O. Box 2072, Durango, CO 81302; or the Allison Community Church, P.O. Box 1899, Arboles, CO 81121.
William Edward Branch Jr. (1/6/2006)
Former Cortez resident William Edward Branch Jr., 68, died on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2006, in Sulphur, Okla. The cause of death was complications from the medications he had taken since a heart transplant nine years ago.
He was born to William Edward and Lorene (King) Branch on Dec. 8, 1937, also in Sulphur. Mr. Branch served in the U.S. Navy. As a young man, he attended school in Holbrook, Ariz., before becoming an upholsterer. He married Sandara Sue Crawley in Cortez in the early 1990s.
The couple owned Ed and Sue's Upholstery there.
Mr. and Mrs. Branch returned to Sulphur, Okla., in 1995, where Mr. Branch was a member of the Midway Hill Baptist Church.
Mr. Branch is survived by his wife Sandara Sue Branch of Sulphur; daughter Liz McClure of Sulphur; sons Douglas Branch of Rye and William Edward Branch III of Midway, Calif.; three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
A memorial service was held at the Midway Hill Baptist Church on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2006.
Lorraine Gardenswartz (1/6/2006)
Longtime Durango resident Lorraine Gardenswartz, 77, died at her home in Durango on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2006. The cause of death was a heart attack.
She was born to Lazarus L. and Celia Nathenson in Denver on March 10, 1928. After graduating from East Denver High School, Mrs. Gardenswartz went on to earn a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Denver. While at DU, she lettered in skiing.
"She was a pint-sized bullet coming down the hill," her husband said.
She taught second-grade students for several years at Ebert Elementary School in Denver.
In November 1954, she married Jerry Gardenswartz in Denver. Her sister married Mr. Gardenswartz's brother.
Mr. Gardenswartz is the fourth generation of his family from Durango. The couple returned to live here in 1983.
In Durango, Mrs. Gardenswartz was a member of The Reading Club of Durango and the Har Shalom Congregation. She and her husband also enjoyed collecting Southwestern art.
"She was one of the best-read people I knew," said her friend Beverly Darmour. "She was on top of everything, which was astonishing sometimes because she was so low key."
"All her life she was determined to overcome the things that came her way and never complained," her son, Michael Gardenswartz, said. "She still cooked, gardened, went downtown and to the movies," he said, referring to her declining health in recent years.
Her son also said that she was proud to have taught herself how to use the computer her sister, Sally Gardenswartz, gave her.
Mrs. Gardenswartz is survived by her husband, Jerry Gardenswartz, of Durango; daughter Jamie McClure of Sun Valley, Idaho; son Michael Gardenswartz of San Antonio; sister Sally Gardenswartz of Denver; and four grandchildren.
A funeral will be held at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8, 2006, at Feldman Mortuary, 1673 York Street in Denver. Burial will follow at Mount Nebo Cemetery.
A local service will be planned for a later date.
Texanna Austell Taylor (1/5/2006)
A woman who loved everything to do with the land around her, Texanna Austell Taylor, 76, died at the Mancos Valley Inn on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2005.
The cause of death was chronic respiratory failure.
Ms. Taylor moved to Durango in 1996 to care for her brother, Robert Samuel Taylor, who was born with Down syndrome. He died in 2000.
Her family's roots in the area go deep, to 1956, when her parents purchased 1,800 acres adjacent to Florida Road from former state Sen. Bruce R. Sullivan. They planned to operate a sheep ranch.
In the early 1970s, several hundred acres sold to Craig and Mary Colvig became the Colvig Silver Camps. After Ms. Taylor's parents died, the Taylor Ranch went into trust and eventually sold for the Taylor Ranch Development.
Determined to pass her family heritage to her children, Ms. Taylor purchased 40 acres there and moved into a mobile home on the property until illness forced her to leave. During summers on the ranch, she taught her grandson Taylor Robinson to chop wood, drive a four-wheeler and enjoy reading.
An avid reader, Ms. Taylor wrote a memoir that her family called rich in detail of Depression-era life through the eyes of a young Texas girl.
"When walking her property," said her sister Penny Gómez, "Texanna always kept an eagle eye peeled for a centuries-old arrowhead or a recently dropped coin."
In 2001, Ms. Taylor changed her name legally from Patsy Jean McNeill.
She was born in Dallas to Frank Camillus and Christine Elizabeth Taylor on Oct. 24, 1929. After graduating from Highland Park High School, she earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin.
In 1950, she married Hubert E. "Bud" McNeill. As a young couple, they lived in Houma, La.; Alice, Texas, and Tulsa, Okla., before settling in Houston. They divorced in 1974.
From 1978 to 1992, Ms. Taylor worked as a registered nurse for Hermann Hospital in Houston. Her outpouring of affection earned her the name of "hug lady" among staff and patients. She owned and operated a landscaping business in Houston from 1990-94.
Ms. Taylor served as a Girl Scout leader in Houston from 1958 to 1973. She loved to take her two troops on campouts to cook on "buddy burners" and sing around the campfire. She was also a member of the Noetic Society and the Church of the White Eagle in Montgomery, Texas.
Ms. Taylor is survived by her daughters Jackie McNeill of Durango and Janet Skaar of Corona, Calif.; sons Scott McNeill of Houston and Frank McNeill of Montgomery, Texas; sister Penny Gómez of Santa Fe; four grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Cremation has occurred. Her ashes will be scattered at a memorial service in spring of 2006 at her Taylor Ranch home.
Walter Alexander Mykytiuk (1/4/2006)
Former La Plata County public health inspector Walter Alexander Mykytiuk, 81, died in Broomfield, Colo., on Jan. 2, 2006. The cause of death was a stroke.
Mr. Mykytiuk and his family moved to Durango in 1966, where he worked for the county for more than 20 years before retiring in 1989. Five years later, he and his wife moved to Mancos.
In Mancos, Mr. Mykytiuk joined the First Baptist Church and served as a trustee there. He loved the outdoors, cutting firewood and four-wheeling in the San Juan Mountains. In his early years, Mr. Mykytiuk avidly collected stamps and coins. Later in life, he enjoyed woodworking.
He also was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Gideons International.
Mr. Mykytiuk was born to Stefan and Mary (Fryczyn) Mykytiuk in Chicago on March 26, 1924. After graduating from Hyde Park High School in Hyde Park, Ill., he received his bachelor's degree from Western State College in Gunnison.
On April 25, 1953, he married Carol Roper in Gunnison.
Mr. Mykytiuk was preceded in death by his wife, Carol Mykytiuk.
He is survived by his sons Gary Mykytiuk of Mancos, Dan Mykytiuk of Broomfield, Colo., and Glen Mykytiuk of Elizabethtown, Ky.; daughters Marty Pritchett of Grand Junction and Mary Sue Grein of Broomfield, Colo.; siblings Bill Mykytiuk and Helen Freund, both of Woodstock, Ill.; 16 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
A funeral will be held at the First Baptist Church of Mancos at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, 2006. Burial will follow at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Mancos.