Jimmie Daniel Fletcher (2/1/2006)
Durango resident Jimmie Daniel Fletcher, 70, died at his home on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2006. The cause of death was congestive heart failure.
He was born to Fredrick and Freda Fletcher in Cortez on Jan. 13, 1936. He was the youngest of 13 children and outlived all of his siblings. When Mr. Fletcher was young, his family moved to San Diego so his sister could attend a school for the deaf.
He met Patricia Graham there at a car-hop restaurant, where she was a waitress, and he was one of several young men who hung out there with their cars.
"He was a James Dean lookalike," his daughter, Joni Fletcher, said. "He would drag race the police and always beat 'em."
The couple married in San Diego on Nov. 23, 1956.
Throughout his life, Mr. Fletcher owned numerous businesses, but his family said his favorite and most memorable by far was his carpet and tile-installation business. The Fletchers moved to Durango in 1990.
His family also said Mr. Fletcher was a history buff who had knowledge of the subject that could challenge any college professor. He also enjoyed building and drag racing cars, hunting and fishing. He also was an avid gun collector.
"My dad was so cool," his daughter Julie Fletcher said.
Mr. Fletcher was preceded in death by his wife of 42 years, Patricia Fletcher.
He is survived by his daughters Julie Fletcher and Joni Fletcher, both of Durango; son Gregory Fletcher of Durango; 11 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
A rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, 2006, at St. Columba Catholic Church. The funeral will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006, also at St. Columba. The Rev. James Koenigsfeld will officiate. Burial will take place at Greenmount Cemetery.
John 'PJ' O'Connell (3/30/2006)
A man who had summered in Durango for the last three decades, John "PJ" O'Connell, 70, died on Monday, March 27, 2006, in Apache Junction, Ariz.
The cause of death was injuries received when he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle.
Mr. O'Connell was born to Joe and Rita O'Connell on April 23, 1935, in rural Woodbury County, Iowa.
He graduated from Anthon High School in Iowa in 1952 and earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, in 1956. In 1988, Mr. O'Connell received master's and doctoral degrees in speech communication from Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pa.
He served in the Army from 1957-1959 and was discharged with the rank of second lieutenant.
On Oct. 26, 1957, Mr. O'Connell married Carolyn Greiner in Colo, Iowa.
He began his television production career at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, before moving to WIIC-TV and WQED in Pittsburgh. For the last 30 years of his career, Mr. O'Connell produced documentaries for public television at WPSX-TV in State College, Pa.
Mr. O'Connell produced nearly 100 documentaries for The Rural America Project. He won the Outstanding Local Program award in 1972 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for "Visiting with Darlene."
In Durango, he was on the board of directors of the Aspen Trails Metropolitan District and Aspen Trails Water Co.
Mr. O'Connell was an avid rock climber, hiker, motorcyclist and world traveler.
He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Greiner O'Connell of Durango and Apache Junction, Ariz.; children Kathleen O'Connell of State College, Pa., Ellen Wham of Mountain Home, Idaho, Mike O'Connell of Concord, Calif., Dan O'Connell of Elkton, Md., Joe O'Connell of Bridgewater, N.J., and Shannon O'Connell of Pittsburgh; siblings Maggie O'Connell Nolte of Mantorville, Minn., and Mike O'Connell of Kansas City, Kan.; seven grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, March 31, 2006, at the Pueblo Manor Clubhouse, 834 S. Meridian Drive, Apache Junction, Ariz.
Memorial contributions may be made in Mr. O'Connell's name to public radio station KSUT-FM, P.O. Box 737, Ignacio, CO 81137.
Frances G. Hoy (3/30/2006)
Longtime Cortez resident Frances G. Hoy, 71, died at her home on Monday, March 27, 2006. The cause of death was not disclosed.
She was born to Fred and Helen (Apple) Garing in Gallup, N.M., on Oct. 22, 1934.
Mrs. Hoy was preceded in death by her husband, Ben C. Hoy.
She is survived by her children Joel Hoy and Helen Gonzalez, both of Cortez, and Chase Hoy of Grand Junction; and four grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 1, 2006, at the Ertel Memorial Chapel in Cortez.
The Rev. Lynn Evans will officiate. Cremation will follow the service.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association or to Hospice of Montezuma, 1345 S. Broadway, Cortez, CO 81321.
Polixena 'Polly' Chavez (3/30/2006)
A woman with roots in Arboles, Polixena "Polly" Chavez, 75, died at the New Mexico Heart Hospital in Albuquerque on Saturday, March 25, 2006. The cause of death was heart disease.
She was born to Jose and Aleja Lucero on Dec. 21, 1930, in Dulce, N.M. Mrs. Chavez grew up in Arboles and graduated from Ignacio High School in 1951.
On Jan. 5, 1953, she married Joe R. Chavez in Rosa, N.M., which no longer exists. (It was covered by Navajo Lake.)
She worked in the family business, Chavez Construction.
Mrs. Chavez enjoyed gardening, traveling, sewing, fishing and cooking for her family. Her family said she was honest, kind, loving and devoted to her faith. They also said that words cannot adequately describe the love she shared or the impact she had on all who knew her.
She volunteered as a pink lady at San Juan Regional Medical Center for several years and was a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Flora Vista, N.M.
Mrs. Chavez was preceded in death by her son Roland Chavez and her daughter Paula Jo Chavez Harris.
She is survived by family in Ignacio, Pagosa Junction, Albuquerque and the Farmington area, including her husband of 53 years, Joe R. Chavez, of Flora Vista, N.M.; daughters Roberta Lamoreux, Jeanne Frame and Bernice Fields; son Damian Chavez; sisters Carmen Gallegos, Gregg Cruz and Bertha Blythe; brothers Jose Ramon and Tony Lucero; and 10 grandchildren.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. today, March 30, 2006, at St. Mary's Parish in Farmington. Graveside services will follow at Memory Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions to Holy Trinity Catholic Church be made to any Wells Fargo Bank.
Bonnie Barry (3/29/2006)
Former Ignacio resident and dog-training expert Bonnie Barry, 65, died at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2006. She fell at a sheep-herding clinic in North Carolina on Jan. 28, 2006, and suffered a spinal-cord fracture that led to her death.
Mrs. Barry lived in Ignacio from 1992 to 2000. While there, she was active in the Durango Kennel Club, serving as its president for several years. She also taught sheep-herding and obedience classes.
She was born to Donald and Ethel Quigley on April 23, 1940. After her early years in Rogers Park, Ill., Mrs. Barry's family moved to Arlington Heights, Ill. She graduated from Arlington Heights High School and went on to earn a bachelor's in physical education from Northern Illinois University.
During college, she married Gene Barry. The couple divorced in 2000 after 40 years of marriage.
Mrs. Barry taught physical education at Forest View High School in Arlington Heights, at Elk Grove High School and at Sts. Peter & Paul School in Cary, all in Illinois.
It was the Doberman breed that led Mrs. Barry to the dog-obedience world. She gained her first advanced titles with a dog named Libby.
In 1984, she opened Northern Illinois Canine Education. Mrs. Barry also served as the director of training for the Northwest Obedience Club.
It was her work with border collies that led to her becoming one of the stars of the dog-obedience world. In addition to being a regular competitor at the prestigious annual Gaines Tournaments, Mrs. Barry won the Obedience Trial Championship four times. Her dogs were nationally ranked for more than a decade.
"My mother loved sports," her son Grant Barry said. "She was an avid fan, living and dying along with the fortunes of the Cubs and Bears. As much as she enjoyed watching, she was so much happier being involved, whether teaching or competing herself, especially with dogs. She would probably tell you that her legacy will be written by the students she's left behind."
Mrs. Barry is survived by her former husband, Gene Barry, of Ignacio; sons Grant Barry of Barrington, Ill., and Bruce Barry of Algonquin, Ill.; daughter and former Ignacio resident Eve Jones of Lawrenceville, Ga.; sister Donna Quigley of Durango; and eight grandchildren.
A memorial service was held at the First Congregational Church of Crystal Lake, Ill., on March 11, 2006.
The Durango Kennel Club is dedicating its next show to Mrs. Barry.
August C. 'AC' George (3/28/2006)
Durango resident August C. "AC" George, 75, died at Mercy Medical Center on Thursday, March 23, 2006. The cause of death was complications from Alzheimer's disease and diabetes that led to a heart attack.
Mr. George moved to Durango in 1977. He worked for The Durango Herald from 1991 to 2004 as a route carrier, covering the Junction Creek, Lightner Creek and Durango West I and II areas.
He was born in Houston on Oct. 16, 1930. His mother was Helen George and his stepfather was William Schaeffer. Mr. George was raised primarily by his grandparents.
He was inducted into the Army in Houston and served from Aug. 28, 1956 to Aug. 14, 1958.
He married Stella Dodd. The marriage later ended in divorce.
Mr. George lived in California after leaving the service and then moved to Provo, Utah. He worked in construction, and while based in Provo, and then Durango, worked in Saudi Arabia for nine years, finishing in 1985.
On Oct. 22, 1962, Mr. George married Sarah L. Dunham in Reno, Nev.
He enjoyed flying, boating, car racing, hunting, fishing, camping and many other outdoor activities.
Mr. George is survived by his wife, Sarah George, of Durango; sons Will George of Durango and Gene George of Houston; daughters Mavis "Sissy" Harrell of Durango and Avis Taylor of Houston; stepsons Mel Dunham of Vacaville, Calif., and Lonnie Dunham of Roseville, Calif.; brothers W.H. Schaeffer and W. B. Schaeffer, both of Houston; seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; six step grandchildren; and one great-step grandchild.
Cremation will occur at Hood Mortuary. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 30, 2006, at Hood Mortuary Chapel. The Rev. Earl Caudill of Hospice of Mercy will officiate.
Calvin Scott (3/28/2006)
Durango native Calvin Scott, 46, died at his home on Friday, March 24, 2006. The cause of death was heart failure.
He was born to Herbert and Mary Ann Scott in Durango on April 11, 1959. Mr. Scott graduated from Ignacio High School and went on to study architecture at the Southwest Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque.
He worked in landscaping and drove trucks for the Colorado Department of Transportation before taking over the family ranch when his father died.
Mr. Scott enjoyed spending time outdoors. He was an avid reader and liked to fish and barbecue. His family said that he was a smart and caring man who loved his nieces and nephews.
Mr. Scott is survived by his mother, Mary Scott, of Durango; sisters Yolinda Joy, Barbara Scott-Rarick, Andrea Bentley, Lylene Scott, Deidre Scott and Marlene Scott-Jewett, all of Durango, and Kathy Lopez of Ignacio; brother Troy Scott of Durango; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Cremation will occur at Hood Mortuary. A private family memorial service will take place at a later date.
Nell Dolores Christy Thompson (3/26/2006)
Nell Dolores Christy Thompson died in Los Alamos, N.M., on March 7, 2006. She was 89.
Mrs. Thompson was born in Arriola and grew up on the Christy family farm near Breen.
Before moving to Los Alamos in 1994, she and her late husband, Melvin Thompson, lived in the Forest Lakes subdivision near Bayfield for 22 years.
She is survived by her three children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The memorial service will be held Tuesday, March 28 in Los Alamos.