Isabelle Pertant (3/16/2006)
Popular French teacher Isabelle Pertant, 41, died at her Durango home on Monday, March 13, 2006, after a seven-year battle against breast cancer.
She was the only child born to Christiane and Jean Celestin Pertant in Bourg-en-Bresse, France, on Nov. 14, 1964. The Pertant family had a farm and raised much of its own food, from produce to animals.
In 1986, at the age of 22, Ms. Pertant traveled alone to America where she met her future husband, Alexander Dawson. At the time, he was living in Boulder.
For the next three years, she traveled back and forth to France to complete her studies. In 1989, Ms. Pertant earned her bachelor of arts in English literature from the Université Lumière de Lyon II. At the same university, she obtained graduate certificates in British drama and in applied linguistics to foreign language teaching.
Ms. Pertant married Alexander Dawson at the La Plata County Courthouse on Jan. 9, 1990, and then again in a church ceremony six months later on June 16, 1990, at the Église St. Just in France. That same year, the couple purchased their home on East Fourth Avenue and began a complete restoration project that would last more than two years.
She worked on and off for Durango School District 9-R teaching French and English until she took a permanent teaching position at Aztec High School. She taught there for four years, eventually helping the school to establish a bona fide French Department.
In 1997, Ms. Pertant began teaching part time at Fort Lewis College. She continued teaching even after her breast cancer was diagnosed in May 1999. In 2001, she became a full-time member of the Modern Languages Department. In 2003, after three summers at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Ms. Pertant received her master of arts in French and Francophone studies.
"She always left an impression on her students, and she taught French with a flair and enthusiasm that was invariably contagious," her husband said.
Ms. Pertant enjoyed the outdoors and would spend as much time as possible on her mountain bike, cross-country skis or walking along beaches and paths in America, France, Mexico, Ireland and many other places.
Her husband said that her French heritage gave her excellent cooking skills. She prepared anything from unusual sack lunches for her husband to full-blown dinner parties for 10 or more of her friends.
Ms. Pertant is survived by her husband, Alexander Dawson, of Durango; and her parents Christiane and Jean Celestine Pertant of Bourg-en-Bresse, France.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 18, 2006, at Hood Mortuary Chapel, 1261 East Third Ave.
Ms. Pertant requested that in lieu of flowers or other gifts, people should consider donations to one or more scholarship funds that will be announced at the time of the service.
Fury Todeschi (3/16/2006)
Durango resident Fury Todeschi, 83, died at his home on Wednesday, March 8, 2006. The cause of death was metastatic cancer.
Mr. Todeschi was born to Emma Dalla and Albino Todeschi on the family ranch in Mancos on Aug. 13, 1922. The family moved to Silverton in 1926.
Mr. Todeschi graduated from Silverton High School, where his high-school sweetheart was Barbara Walls. The couple eloped to Aztec to get married.
In 1944, he was inducted into the U.S. Army. He was a squad leader of the 607, 7th Infantry. Mr. Todeschi was wounded in the battle of Okinawa. His decorations include two Purple Hearts, a Good Conduct Medal and a Victory Medal of the Army of Occupation of the Ryukus. He was honorably discharged in October 1946.
He returned to Silverton and worked as a miner for a time.
In 1947, the Todeschis moved to Durango. Mr. Todeschi worked as a master plumber for many years as well as in the maintenance department at Fort Lewis College.
He was a member of the Elks Lodge and the American Legion, where he was active in the Drum and Bugle Corps.
His family said that Mr. Todeschi was a good father and a friend to many.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara Todeschi, in 1991.
Mr. Todeschi is survived by his daughters Becky Seymore of Show Low, Ariz., and Barbara "Bodie" Crouch of Silverton; brother Joe Todeschi of Silverton; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
There will be an open-house memorial at the family home, 3120 West Second Ave., from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 18, 2006. Friends and family are invited to come remember him and celebrate his life. Burial will take place at Greenmount Cemetery.
Stanley Francis Romero (3/14/2006)
Durango native Stanley Francis Romero, 56, died on Sunday, March 12, 2006 while visiting his family in Durango during his vacation. The cause of death is undetermined.
He was born to Rufus and Sophia Romero in Durango on Oct. 4, 1949. Mr. Romero grew up in Durango and graduated from Durango High School in 1968. After serving in the military, Mr. Romero returned to Durango where he worked for a time for his brother at what is now Rufe's Paint Co.
He married Cynthia Marie Brust in April 1973 at the Fort Lewis College Chapel. After the birth of their first daughter, the Romeros moved to Orange County, Calif., in 1974.
Throughout his life, Mr. Romero worked in pest control for companies like Federal Steel and Benjamin Moore Paints. Most recently, he was a self-employed handyman and contractor.
He was an avid reader of The Durango Herald online and enjoyed keeping up with what was happening in his hometown.
Mr. Romero loved painting murals and landscapes. More than painting, his family said Mr. Romero loved his grandchildren and enjoyed creating and playing games with them. His family said he will be remembered as a fun-loving jokester that made many people laugh.
"He was the best grandfather in the world," his wife, Cynthia Romero, said.
Mr. Romero is survived by his wife Cynthia Romero of Costa Mesa, Calif.; daughters Sunny Romero and Claire Aleman, both of Costa Mesa and Charity Durand of Newport Beach, Calif.; brother Rufe Romero of Durango; sisters Mary Lou Roman of Apple Valley, Minn., Loretta Mullen of Grand Junction and Aggie Lantis of Santa Fe; five grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
Cremation has occurred. A service will be held in Costa Mesa, Calif., at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to Cure Autism Now, 5455 Wilshire Blvd. No. 2250, Los Angeles, CA 90036; and Autism Speaks, 2 Park Ave., 11th floor; New York, NY 10016.
Nedra Thompson Seeger (3/14/2006)
Ignacio resident Nedra Thompson Seeger, 73, died at her home on Sunday, March 12, 2006. The cause of death was not disclosed.
Mrs. Seeger was born to Jane Thompson in Towaoc on Sept. 16, 1932. In her younger years, Mrs. Seeger was a missionary for the Indian Church in Ignacio. She traveled to Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah and Montana during that period.
She then returned to Ignacio, where she was a cook and night attendant at Peaceful Spirit, before going to work at the Beading Co-op with Emily Butler.
She married Max Martinez Sr. in Ignacio. The marriage later ended in divorce.
Mrs. Seeger moved to Pueblo, where she earned her Graduate Equivalency Degree. While in Pueblo, she married Delvin "Dale" Seeger. The couple was married for 25 years before the marriage ended in divorce. The Seegers owned Seeger Tree Service, where Mrs. Seeger worked until her retirement.
At that time, Mrs. Seeger decided to move back to Ignacio to be closer to her children and grandchildren. They said she liked to laugh and visit friends. She enjoyed activities like sewing, crocheting, beading, telling stories and adding to her collections, which included pottery and dolls. Her family said she was always on the lookout for new treasures at yard sales and thrift stores.
Mrs. Seeger was preceded in death by her son Joseph Martinez.
She is survived by her brother William Thompson of Ignacio; sisters Florence Williams and Elsie Martinez, both of Ignacio; daughter Clara Lucero of Ignacio; sons Dennis Washington of Montrose, Gilbert Washington Jr. and Max Martinez Jr., both of Albuquerque, Ray Valentino Vasquez of Durango, Irvin Casias of Bayfield, Matthew Martinez of Tucson, Ariz., and John Washington, Donald Martinez Sr., Phillip Martinez and Chris Winterhawk, all of Ignacio; 24 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.
A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 15, 2006, at La Boca Cemetery. The cemetery is located about six miles south of Ignacio on Colorado Highway 172. Mourners will gather at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Ignacio about an hour before the service for those who do not know where the cemetery is located.
Deacon Larry Tucker will officiate.
Brien Patrick Eisaman (3/12/2006)
A former emergency-room employee at Mercy Medical Center, Brien Patrick Eisaman, died in a Wednesday, March 8, 2006, airplane crash in Hawaii. He was 37.
The son of Gordon and Peggy Gates, Mr. Eisaman grew up, lived and worked most of his life in Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, Calif. He moved to Durango in February 2005, having always loved the town and snowboarding.
Soon after he took a position as a registered nurse at Mercy, he applied for a flight nurse position. No positions were open, however, and Mr. Eisaman decided to take a flight-nurse job in Hawaii, where he could enjoy surfing.
The news of the fatal crash of a Durango-based Tri-State CareFlight helicopter on June 30, 2005, did not discourage Mr. Eisaman, his family said, because he admired the three victims and truly loved his job.
Mr. Eisaman was soon promoted to assistant chief flight nurse with Hawaii Air Ambulance. Mr. Eisaman's plane crashed while en route to pick up a patient on March 8.
Although Mr. Eisaman wasn't in Durango long, he touched many lives and will be forever missed, his family said.
He is survived by his parents, Peggy and Gordon Gates of Banning, Calif., and sisters Heather Billington of Ladera Ranch, Calif., Jennifer Isensee of Huntington Beach and Lisa Dyer of Durango.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital Foundation, c/o Peggy and Gordon Gates, 600 N. Highland Springs Ave., Banning, CA, 92220.
Mary Frances Taylor (3/12/2006)
Mary Frances Taylor died of natural causes Friday, March 10, 2006, at her home in Ignacio. She was 61.
Mrs. Taylor was born June 18, 1944, in Pueblo to Henry Taylor Sr., and Floy Box Valdez. She married Johnny Fasano in Los Angeles in 1978.
She thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her family, attending church and going to the casino. She was a member of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.
She is survived by daughter Stefanie Fasano of Ignacio; granddaughter Tristian Jefferson of Bloomfield, N.M.; grandson Robert Jefferson Jr., of Glenwood Springs; brothers Erwin Taylor of Bayfield, Buddy Taylor of Ignacio, Gene Valdez of Ignacio, Henry Taylor Jr., of Cortez and Laddie Taylor of Denver; sisters Marilyn Cotton of Ignacio, Marie Rivas of Pagosa Springs, Sunny Waratza of Ignacio and Henrietta Taylor of Denver; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Johnny Fasano, in 1993; daughter Pamela Taylor; sister Eva O'John and brothers Raymond A. Valdez, Frederick Taylor, Jason Taylor and Dean Taylor.
Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, March 13, 2006, at Hood Mortuary. A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 14, 2006, at Rolling Thunder Hall in Ignacio. The Rev. Kelly Winlock of Baptist Indian Mission will officiate. Cremation will follow at Hood Mortuary Crematory.
Ross Dayton McCausland Jr. (3/8/2006)
An engineer who helped develop the automatic transmission, Ross Dayton McCausland Jr., 92, died at his home in Durango on Tuesday, March 7, 2006. The cause of death was the heart and health complications of longevity.
Mr. McCausland was born in Los Angeles to Ross D. and Josephine O'Brian McCausland Sr. on Oct. 18, 1913.
During his childhood, he lived near Chihuahua, Mexico, where his father had purchased a copper mine. At the beginning of the Mexican Revolution, when he was a young child, he witnessed a multi-person execution ordered by Pancho Villa. Villa took over the mine, and the family lost its fortune.
The McCausland family was rescued on the last train out of Mexico, which was specially sent by the governor of Texas to retrieve his daughter, who also was still in Chihuahua.
Mr. McCausland earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado. After graduation, he worked for the American Blower Corp. in Detroit as a research engineer. He helped develop the automatic transmission.
Mr. McCausland married Ethel Maxine Brown in Detroit on July 18, 1942. The couple was married for more than 66 years until her death in September 2005.
The McCauslands moved to Silverton, where he operated the Lark Mine for three years. Mr. McCausland attended night school and earned his teaching certificate. He taught shop at Durango Junior High School for 21 years.
In addition to teaching, Mr. McCausland and his family built and operated Ah! Wilderness Guest Ranch, a ranch located in the Animas River Canyon midway between Durango and Silverton on the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. His family said that he built his own house and the entire ranch "from scratch." He was a "jack of all trades."
The McCausland family remembers the ranch as a fantastic environment for raising a family and a fulfillment of Mr. McCausland's dream of creating the perfect setting for a family to vacation together.
Mr. McCausland's favorite activities centered around the outdoors. He was a nature lover, an avid fly fisherman and a hunter. He also was a talented public speaker and storyteller.
In addition to his wife, Ethel McCausland, he was preceded in death by his granddaughter Tracy Patchek.
Mr. McCausland is survived by his son Mac McCausland of Durango; daughters Judy Beggrow of Durango and Joan Gillies of Axtell, Utah; five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 9, 2006, at the Hood Mortuary Chapel. The Rev. James Powell of the Hermosa Bible Church will officiate.
Burial will follow at Greenmount Cemetery.