Lillian C. Thompson (7/20/2006)
Durango resident Lillian C. Thompson, 93, died in Durango on Saturday, July 15, 2006. The cause of death was congestive heart failure.
She was born to William and Vivian (Baughman) Fross in Millwood, Ohio, on Aug. 27, 1912. Mrs. Thompson graduated from Wooster Business College with a degree in accounting. For many years, she managed Wooster Music Center for her best friend. She went on to hold various jobs in accounting, the last of which was at the Strater Hotel.
In 1940, she married Guy R. Thompson in Fredericksburg, Ohio.
Besides being an accomplished baker, her family said she was a seamstress, a musician and a knitter. She was an excellent Scrabble player. Spending time with her family and friends was important to her, and throughout her life she was often the caretaker for anyone who needed help.
Mrs. Thompson mentored many young people, all of whom referred to her as "mom," and rescued many animals that needed a home.
"All my friends knew her as 'Nongee,'" her granddaughter Debbie Frisby said. "None of them will know her by her given name."
Mrs. Thompson was preceded in death by her husband, Guy Thompson.
She is survived by her son, Ed Fross, of Durango; sister Maxine Ferrell, of Wooster, Ohio; brother Charles Fross, of Kalamazoo, Mich.; three granddaughters; six great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandson.
Cremation has occurred. There will be a celebration of her life at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 25, 2006, at 390 Needham Circle in Durango.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the La Plata County Humane Society, P.O. Box 2164, Durango, CO 81302.
Darlene Walker (7/19/2006)
Former Durango resident Darlene Walker, 73, died in Albuquerque on Saturday, July 15, 2006. The cause of death was heart failure.
She was born to Roscoe and Myrtle Fox Paris in Dent on March 30, 1933. Mrs. Walker grew up in McCoy, where her father worked as a railroader.
On Feb. 4, 1951, she married the man she called her "dashing West Texas cowboy," Billy O' Walker. The Walkers ranched. and Mr. Walker built pipelines for many years in both Texas and Colorado before the Walker family settled in the Four Corners. They lived in Durango during the late 1970s.
Her family said she enjoyed painting, crafts, her circle of friends at the Aztec Senior Citizens Center and most of all, loved her family.
They said she never met a stranger in her life.
"Unfailingly cheerful, warm and full of laughter, Darlene absolutely delighted in life," said her daughter Linda Walker.
"With quiet strength, dignity and extraordinary wit, she faced her world's many challenges with a smile. For this, she will be missed."
Mrs. Walker was preceded in death by her husband, Billy O' Walker, on July 22, 1992.
She is survived by her daughters Linda Walker of Terlingua, Texas, Sam Walker of Aztec, Debbie Walker of Ignacio and Marti Anderson of Bayfield; and seven grandchildren.
A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 19, 2006, at the First United Methodist Church, 123 East Chaco St., in Aztec. A graveside service and burial will follow at Florida Cemetery east of Durango, located at 2061 County Road 223.
Hazel Alene Hubbs (7/16/2006)
Former Marvel resident Hazel Alene Hubbs, 81, died in Kingman, Ariz., on July 11, 2006. The cause of death was congestive heart failure.
Mrs. Hubbs was born Hazel Alene Moody to Franklin Roscoe and Sarah Murray Moody in Durango on Nov. 28, 1924.
She spent most of her life in the Marvel area, marrying Teddy R. Hubbs there in 1941. They raised their family in Marvel, where they farmed and raised horses and cattle.
After her husband died in September 1990, Mrs. Hubbs bought a home in Kingman. She spent her winters there while continuing to spend summers on her ranch in Marvel, taking care of her yard and flowers.
Mrs. Hubbs loved to draw and paint and enjoyed spending time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Hubbs is survived by her children, Gary Hubbs of Chino Valley, Ariz., Bill Hubbs of Kennewick, Wash., and Barbara Hubbs of Kingman; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Hubbs was preceded in death by her husband and brothers, Murray and Harley Moody.
A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 19, 2006, at the Marvel Methodist Church in Marvel. Interment will follow at the Marvel Cemetery.
Billy Dea Blakley (7/15/2006)
Part-time Durango resident Billy Dea Blakley, 84, died in Conroe, Texas on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2006. The cause of death was complications from Parkinson's disease.
Mr. Blakley had lived in the Durango area since the late 1980s, spending winters in Conroe. His friend Karie Brown said that Mr. Blakley sponsored the women's softball team the B-Bats for at least 12 years.
"He was so generous," Brown said. "He paid for everything. Every year at the end of the season, he would take the team with their spouses to Virginia's Steakhouse for dinner."
Brown said Mr. Blakley would sing a few songs with the band, always including his version of "Jambalaya."
Mr. Blakley enjoyed golfing at Hillcrest Golf Course. Brown said his favorite spot was the old Lori's Restaurant, which is now the site of Pickle's Restaurant.
Mr. Blakley was born in Fairy, Texas, on Oct. 21, 1921.
He was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War. He was a member of the Army Air Corps as a B-24 gunner. He and his crew flew more than 21 successful missions during WWII.
Honors he received from his service included a European Theater Operations Medal with four Bronze Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross Medal and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters.
Mr. Blakley was preceded in death by his first wife, Estelle Blakley.
He is survived by his wife, Karen Blakley, of Conroe, Texas; daughters Carla Upchurch and Sherry Pate, both of Houston; son Larry Blakley, of Saginaw, Texas; sister Ada Oglesby of Kingsland, Texas; brothers James Blakley of Hico, Texas, and Joe Blakley of Birmingham, Ala.; stepson, Andy Vaughn, of Conroe; stepdaughter, Cortney Busshart of Conroe; 10 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.
A funeral was held Saturday, Jan. 14, 2006, in Fairy, Texas, with burial following in Fairy Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the National Parkinson Foundation, 1501 NW 9th Ave., Bob Hope Road, Miami, FL 33136-1494.
Walter Jacob Pera (7/13/2006)
Durango resident Walter Jacob Pera died in Oregon after a short illness on Tuesday, July 4, 2006. He was 92.
He was born in Telluride to Jacob and Mary Gustafson Pera on April 21, 1914.
On July 29, 1936, Mr. Pera married Allene Winkfield. They would have celebrated their 70th anniversary later this month.
Mr. Pera spent his early working life in the mines at Telluride. He went on to work for Western Colorado Power Co., first in Telluride and then at Electra Lake.
During Mr. Pera's long retirement, he and his wife lived in Nucla and Durango. They traveled in much of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as in Mexico and Europe, particularly Scandinavia.
Mr. Pera enjoyed hunting, fishing, woodworking, dinosaur-bone hunting, hiking, gardening and making things work. His family said he had an intense curiosity and a quick mind.
Mr. Pera is survived by his wife, Allene Pera of Durango; children Jack Pera of Telluride, Donna Burr of Durango, Patricia John of Eugene, Ore.,Walter Pera of Salt Lake City, and Ronald Pera of San Marcos, Texas; 17 grandchildren; and 22, soon to be 23, great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at the Telluride Cemetery on Aug. 12.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Telluride Historical Museum, P.O. Box 1597, Telluride, CO 81435.
Linda Howard Grayson (7/13/2006)
Bayfield veterinarian Linda Howard Grayson died of cancer at Mercy Regional Medical Center on Tuesday, July 11, 2006. She was 44.
She was born in California to Bruce and Olga Howard on March 10, 1962. Mrs. Grayson spent her childhood in Santa Maria, Calif. As a teenager, she participated in Amigos de las Americas, a volunteer program that sent her to Guatemala to teach dental care to children in remote villages.
After graduating from Ernest Righetti High School in Santa Maria in 1979, Mrs. Grayson attended college in San Diego. In 1980, she took a year off from school to travel to Australia. While there, she toured and worked as a cook on a prawn trawler.
She returned to college and graduated from the University of California at San Diego in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in literature. In 1985, Mrs. Grayson completed a 10-week course in farrier science at California Polytechnic at San Luis Obispo.
In 1984 she moved to the Rocky Mountains, working as a wrangler in Jackson, Wyo., and a ski-lift operator in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.
Mrs. Grayson moved to Durango in 1987 to start her own farrier business. She also worked as a bartender at Farquahrts Restaurant and attended Fort Lewis College to complete the pre-veterinary science course requirements.
In 1991, Mrs. Grayson moved to Fort Collins and graduated with a doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 1995 from Colorado State University. On Dec. 17, 1995, she married Paul Grayson in Sandown, N.H.
Mrs. Grayson worked at thoroughbred racetracks in New England for two years before returning to Colorado in 1997. She started Village Veterinary Service in Bayfield and managed her large animal mobile-veterinary practice until she became ill in 2005. She was an avid horse lover.
Mrs. Grayson is survived by her husband, Paul Grayson, of Bayfield; daughters Margaret Grayson and Mary Rose Grayson, both of Bayfield; parents Bruce and Olga Howard of Durango; and brothers Gordon Howard of Portland, Ore., and Mark Howard of Ekeren, Belgium.
Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 15, 2006, at Pine River Cemetery in Bayfield. The Rev. Dan Straw will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 3801 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301, or another charity of choice.
Clara Belle Cundiff (7/12/2006)
Cortez native Clara Belle Cundiff died on Friday, July 7, 2006, in Goodyear, Ariz. She was 87.
She was born on March 15, 1919, in Cortez.
Mrs. Cundiff was preceded in death by her husband, Howard, and daughter Verna.
She is survived by her daughter, Karen; sons Wayne and John; nine grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.
A funeral was held on Tuesday, July 11, 2006, at the First Baptist Church of Winslow, Ariz. Burial followed at Desert View Cemetery.
George Myer (7/12/2006)
Bayfield resident George Myer, 70, died at his home on Sunday, July 9, 2006. The cause of death was cancer.
Mr. Myer was born in Baltimore on Aug. 18, 1935, and grew up in Harrisburg, Pa. He owned a hunting and fishing store there and worked as a gunsmith for 28 years. Mr. Myer was also vice president of Kassnar Imports, which imported sporting goods.
In 1980, he fulfilled his lifelong desire to relocate to the West when he moved to Durango. Here he began a second career of building timber-frame houses. In his later years, Mr. Myer pursued both his custom homebuilding and his work as a gunsmith.
His family said Mr. Myer was an expert marksman, placing in the top 20 shooters nationally in Benchrest Competition. He won state championships in two different states. Mr. Myer enjoyed shooting in matches with his teammates from the San Juan Wildlife Federation Benchrest Shooting Team.
He also enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, cooking gourmet meals at home and riding his horses in the high country.
Mr. Myer is survived by his wife, Cheryl Myer, of Bayfield; daughters Cynthia Myer and Amy Buchanan, both of Durango, and Barbara Myer, of Charlottesville, Va.; stepsons Alan Crue, of Los Angeles and Ben Crue, of Fort Collins; sister Sally Kofke, of Montclair, N.J.; and eight grandchildren.
Friends who would like to celebrate Mr. Myer's life are invited to a potluck lunch at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 15, 2006, at Eagle Park in Bayfield. Attendees are asked to bring a dish and a memory or story to share.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Mercy, 3801 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301.