Jack William Bass (8/22/2006)
Durango resident Jack William Bass, 55, died at his home on Friday, Aug. 18, 2006. The cause of death was heart disease.
He was born to Russell and Lanelle Bass in Norfolk, Va., on May 10, 1951.
He had lived in many areas during his life, including California, New Mexico and Las Vegas. Mr. Bass had lived in Durango for a year and a half.
He married Patricia Bass in Las Vegas. The couple had been separated for many years.
He was a master welder and fabricator whom his family said was at the top of his field.
Mr. Bass' hobbies included building and racing cars, constructing operational model airplanes and racing all-terrain vehicles.
"He was a man of character, and people always liked him immediately," said his son Jack Bass.
Mr. Bass is survived by his mother, Lanelle Bass of Flagstaff, Ariz.; sons Jack Rainbow Bass, of Las Vegas, and Russell Bass of Stoughton, Mass.; daughter Salena Bass of Grand Parie, Texas; wife Patricia Bass of Stoughton; and girlfriend Sue Fish of Durango.
Visitation will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. today, Aug. 22, 2006, at Hood Mortuary. Memorial services are planned for a later date.
Maria Adelina Atencio (8/22/2006)
Ignacio resident Maria Adelina "Della" Atencio, 67, died in Bloomfield, N.M., on Friday, Aug. 18, 2006. The cause of death was complications from cancer.
She was born to Lezardo and Adelina Santistevan in Grand Junction on May 26, 1939.
On Oct. 10, 1955, she married Freddie Atencio, also in Grand Junction. After moving around and in and out of Ignacio for several years, the couple finally settled in Ignacio permanently.
Mrs. Atencio was the cook at Ignacio Elementary School for several years and enjoyed baking bread for the students.
She enjoyed camping and travel. Her family said Mrs. Atencio had a wonderful sense of humor, and they will miss her.
She was a member of the Carmelitas at St. Ignatius Catholic Church.
Mrs. Atencio was preceded in death by her husband, Freddie Atencio, in April and her son Albert Lawrence Atencio.
She is survived by her sons Freddie Atencio, Jr. of Ignacio, Raymond Atencio of Farmington, Harold Atencio of Aztec, and Billy Atencio of Bloomfield, N.M.; daughter Darlene Atencio of Bloomfield; brother Leroy Santistevan of Idaho; sisters Dolly James of Idaho, Lorraine Santistevan of Denver, and Rose Garcia of Grand Junction; 13 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
A rosary will be recited at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2006, at St. Ignatius Church in Ignacio. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, 2006, also at St. Ignatius. Monsignor Dan Huber will be the celebrant. Mrs. Atencio will be buried in Ignacio West Cemetery.
Dr. Arthur Warner (8/19/2006)
The former head of the San Juan Basin Health Department, Dr. Arthur Warner, 82, died in Denver on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2006. The cause of death was complications from Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Warner and his family lived in Durango from 1958 to 1965. While here, he set up baby clinics and general-health clinics in La Plata, Archuleta and Dolores counties. The health department also organized programs for the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled and a training program for practical nurses.
He was active in the First United Methodist Church of Durango and the Toastmaster's Club of Durango.
Dr. Warner was born to Earle and Katherine Warner in Tucson, Ariz., on Dec. 11, 1923. His father was head of the University of Arizona's physics department and was known for his counseling of conscientious objectors. Dr. Warner got his own start as a conscientious objector at a young age during World War II. He kept his 4-E Draft Card that proved his case was appealed to the White House. He enrolled in an accelerated medical-school program at the University of Pennsylvania and, by age 23, he had earned his M.D.
On June 15, 1944, he married Natalie Carrillo in Tucson.
After stints in Seattle and Philadelphia, Dr. Warner earned a specialized degree in pediatrics. He set up a private practice in Biloxi, Miss. Within six months, he realized that he hated sending bills to clients that he knew couldn't pay. That brought him to the Southwest, where he became medical officer on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico.
He earned a master's in public health at Harvard University. For his thesis, he evaluated the health care of migrant workers in Colorado and California and described it as being miserable.
In 1965, he moved his family to Denver to, as he put it, "join the war on poverty." Dr. Warner became the director of maternal and child-health-care services for the Denver Department of Health and Hospitals.
"I was one of the rebels who sued Mayor Tom Currigan and others because of the way the programs were run," he said. "The case was settled out of court. Of course, after you sue a mayor, things aren't likely to work out very well for you."
While working at other jobs in public health in the Denver area, Dr. Warner became involved with the American Friends Service Committee.
In one of the family's big adventures, Dr. and Mrs. Warner moved with their younger children to Santiago, Chile, after the election of President Salvador Allende. Allende, a physician himself, had invited the AFSC to send physicians to set up clinics and preventive-health-care programs. Two months after the Warners' arrival, Allende was overthrown and killed. The Warners found themselves vulnerable to a brutal military regime. They stayed, working with food programs to feed the children of political prisoners, and Dr. Warner treated many victims himself. The Interfaith Commission for Faith in Chile, for which he worked, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
After the Warners returned to the United States in 1975, Dr. Warner spent four months traveling the country to talk about what was happening in Chile.
From 1975 to 1991, he worked part time as a pediatrician for Kaiser Permanente in Denver. But much of the rest of his life was spent working on issues of poverty and social justice, particularly with the AFSC.
Dr. Warner was preceded in death by his son, Marcos Warner. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Natalie Warner of Denver; sons Dan Warner of Denver, and Kee Warner of Colorado Springs; daughters Joy Warner, Marcia Cornejo and Ruth Warner, all of Denver; and 13 grandchildren.
A memorial service will beheld at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, 2006, at Park Hill United Methodist Church, 5209 Mont-view Blvd., in Denver. Gifts in Dr. Warner's name may be made to American Friends Service Committee/Colorado, 901 W. 14th Ave., No. 7, Denver, CO 80204.
Rexel F. Sparks (8/18/2006)
Rexel F. Sparks, father of the Rev. Joe Sparks of the Pine River Valley Baptist Church, died at Mercy Regional Medical Center on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2006. He was 89.
Mr. Sparks was born to Richard Frank and Idella Bragg Sparks in Ima, N.M., on April 9, 1917.
He attended school in Ima and graduated from high school in House, N.M. Mr. Sparks attended Eastern New Mexico University, where he played college football before helmets had face masks.
On June 14, 1941, Mr. Sparks married Hilda E. Block.
He was a farmer and rancher in both the Ima area and Ignacio. He also drove a school bus for the House School District for 38 years.
His family said that Mr. Sparks enjoyed the outdoors and spent many happy summers on his and his wife's irrigated farm near Ignacio. They said his life was centered on his family, and he was well known as "a strong, kind and reliable man."
Mr. Sparks is survived by his wife, Hilda Sparks of Ima, N.M.; daughter Kay Sparks Frazier of Melrose, N.M.; sons Donnie Sparks of Cañon City, Dick Sparks of Monte Vista, Kelly Sparks of Phoenix and Joe Sparks of Ignacio; brothers Avrit Sparks of Ignacio and Lee Otis Sparks of Joplin, Mo.; sister Idella Sparks Hebert of Roswell, N.M.; 25 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, 2006, at Pine River Valley Baptist Church, 11942 Colorado Highway 172, in Ignacio. There will be a meal for family and friends immediately after the service.
A funeral and graveside service will take place at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 21, 2006, at First Baptist Church in House, N.M. The Rev. Joe Sparks will officiate at both services.
Neil P. Murdock (8/17/2006)
Former Durango resident Neil P. Murdock died at his home in Kansas City, Mo., on Sunday, Aug. 6, 2006. He was 76.
Mr. Murdock was born to Marsh and Sally (Calkins) Murdock in Wichita, Kan., on Oct. 29, 1929, and grew up in Coldwater, Kan.
He graduated from the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in business administration.
Mr. Murdock returned to Coldwater, where he was a rancher, raising cattle and wheat.
When he retired, Mr. Murdock returned to Durango in 1990.
He had a lifelong love of trains and built what his family called spectacular model railroads in his leisure time at the ranch.
Mr. Murdock moved to Kansas City in July 2006 and enjoyed observing the daily operations of the railroad lines in and out of Kansas City's Union Station during his brief stay at his loft apartment.
Mr. Murdock is survived by his brother Marc Murdock of Kansas City, Mo., 12 nieces and nephews; 18 great-nieces and nephews; and three great-great-nieces and nephews.
Edward Harper (8/16/2006)
Hesperus resident Edward Harper died at his home on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2006. He was 85.
Mr. Harper was born to Fred and Verdie Harper on April 25, 1921, in Bloomfield, Mo.
On Sept. 16, 1940, he married Theola Geraldine Cardwell in Bloomfield. He enlisted in the Navy and served in the South Pacific on the USS Thuban during World War II.
Mr. Harper was in the dry-cleaning business for more than 30 years.
His family said that Mr. Harper devoted years of his life to serve God. He was a deacon and charter member of the Hesperus Baptist Church. He was camp manager for the Hesperus Baptist Church for 15 years. His family said that church and family were the most important things in Mr. Harper's life.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Geraldine Harper, of Hesperus; sons Nolan Eugene Harper of Mancos, and James Edward Harper of Hesperus; brother Charles Harper of Springfield, Mo.; sisters Louise Banks of Bloomfield, Mo., and Betty Banken, of Dexter, Mo.; four grandchildren; two step-grandsons; and seven great-grandchildren.
Mr. Harper was preceded in death by his infant son Harold Lee Harper.
A service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, 2006, at the Hesperus Baptist Church. The Rev. Fred Dallas of Houston will officiate, and the Rev. Charlie McGee will assist. Burial will follow immediately at the Cedar Grove Cemetery in Mancos.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorial contributions be made to the Hesperus Baptist Church Camp, P.O. Drawer 10, Hesperus, CO 81326.
Rudy Anthony Shubart (8/16/2006)
Longtime Durango resident Rudy Anthony Shubart died in Durango on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2006. He was 89.
He was born in Gordon to James and Frances Ferkovich Shubart on April 12, 1917. His father died when Mr. Shubart was 9 months old, and his mother died when he was 7. Mr. Shubart was raised by his maternal grandmother in Walsenburg until his teens, when he moved to Pueblo to live with his aunt and uncle, Steve and Isabell Ferkovich. After his uncle was transferred to a Safeway store in Leadville, Mr. Shubart graduated from Leadville High School and started his own employment with Safeway there.
Mr. Shubart achieved the rank of captain in the Army and served in Europe during World War II. After the war ended, he returned to Colorado and his employment with Safeway.
On July 10, 1943, Mr. Shubart married the woman his family called the "love of his life," Esther Santmeyer. She preceded him in death in March 2003.
During his 40-year career at Safeway, Mr. Shubart worked as a meat cutter, meat-department manager and store manager at several of the chain's stores. His last assignment was Durango.
Friends say he was known for his friendly smile and for his contributions to the community.
Mr. Shubart was a member of the Rotary Club of Durango and the Durango Chamber of Commerce and served on the board of the La Plata County 4-H.
Mr. Shubart is survived by his sisters, Ann Sudar of Walsenburg, and Irene Wilcox of Salt Lake City; aunt Mary Connelly of Denver; longtime caregiver Bonnie Tankin of Bayfield; and numerous nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews, great-great nieces and nephews, and cousins.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15, 2006, at Hood Mortuary Chapel. Deacon Myron T. Darmour will officiate. The cremains will be buried at Roselawn Cemetery in Pueblo.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to hospice or the charity of your choice.
Althea LaVerne Knowlton (8/16/2006)
Longtime Durango resident Althea LaVerne Knowlton died at her home on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2006. She was 97.
She was born to Thomas and Blanche Mae Ramsay Griffiths in Austin on July 28, 1909. Both of her parents died when Mrs. Knowlton was 6, so she was raised by distant relatives in seven different families. Her son, Nathan D. "Butch" Knowlton, said that all of them had different rules, religions and rules for raising children.
"Shoes were at a premium," he said.
Mrs. Knowlton told stories about herding cattle through cactus and rough terrain and then picking stickers out of her feet and legs.
"She had a lifetime aversion to going barefoot," her son said.
Little did she know that her first-grade teacher, Edna Watson Knowlton Ramsey, would later become her mother-in-law.
In 1927, Mrs. Knowlton graduated from Lake City High School. She had worked in kitchens at boarding houses to save money for her graduation clothes. Mrs. Knowlton went on to study nursing in Pueblo
She met Nathan Watson Knowlton while working in the infirmary at the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine infirmary. She left nursing school three months before graduation to marry him in Salt Lake City on Oct. 28, 1931. Family and friends tried to shivaree them when they returned to Lake City, Butch Knowlton said, but he hid on the roof of the Masonic Lodge, and she hid in the house.
The Knowlton family lived in several Colorado towns in which Mr. Knowlton taught and worked for the Colorado Employment Office.
When they lived in Leadville, Mrs. Knowlton worked as the secretary to the commander of Camp Hale, where the 10th Mountain Division trained. Her son said that she was the first person there to know that the camp was going to be closed.
When Mr. Knowlton enlisted in the Navy during World War II, his family went with him to Farragut, Idaho, and then on to Seattle. He developed rheumatoid arthritis in his spine and was hospitalized for several months. Mrs. Knowlton would visit several times a week and take him pastries she had baked.
The Knowltons moved to La Plata County in 1945 and purchased the Tuscher place in the Animas Valley.
"Because of her poor family life when she was a child, she was devoted to family and the ranch," her son said.
After her husband died in October 1951, Mrs. Knowlton worked as a cook at Durango High School for several years, where she enjoyed baking pastries and cinnamon rolls. She later worked at the S & H Green Stamp Redemption Center downstairs in Graden's Department Store.
Mrs. Knowlton was active in many organizations, including the Animas Valley Grange, the Business and Professional Women's Club and the Shamrock 4-H Club. She sat on the La Plata County Fair Board and was the secretary of the Animas Valley Ditch and Water Co. for many years.
Most recently, Mrs. Knowlton was honored for being a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sarah Rebekahs for 50 years and The Order of the Eastern Star for 75 years.
"During the Missionary Ridge Fire in 2002, I was all over the place," said her son, who's the director of the La Plata County Office of Emergency Preparedness. "When it came time to evacuate the east side of the valley, a lot of friends came to get her out, but she wouldn't go. She said, 'I'm not leaving the Animas Valley until my son leaves, and he's not leaving.'"
Mrs. Knowlton is survived by her son, Nathan D. "Butch" Knowlton, of Durango; daughters Natalie Knowlton Limberger of Aztec, and Donna Mae Knowlton Frizell of Fullerton, Calif.; five grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, 2006, at Greenmount Cemetery. The Order of the Eastern Star, La Plata Chapter No. 83 and the Sarah Rebekah Lodge No. 20 will officiate.
The family invites friends to join them at a potluck luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, after the services, at the La Plata County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall.