Raymond William Van Camp (9/3/2006)
Former Durango resident Raymond William Van Camp died in Las Vegas on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006. He was 86. Cause of death was pneumonia.
Mr. Van Camp was born to Raymond William Van Camp Sr. and Margaretta Kelley Van Camp in Elkhart, Kan., on April 19, 1920. He was raised in Southwest Colorado around Durango and Bayfield. In 1938, Mr. Van Camp graduated from Durango High School.
As a young man, he was a successful entrepreneur, selling sewing machines. Mr. Van Camp also tried his hand at farming.
In 1940, he joined the Colorado National Guard and was deployed to the Philippines with the coastal artillery. The artillery guns never arrived, so Mr. Van Camp was assigned as squad leader with an anti-aircraft gun on the island fortress of Corregidor when the Japanese invaded in January 1942.
He became a prisoner of war after the fall of Corregidor and was imprisoned at several notorious mainland Japanese camps, including Yodagawa Bunsa, one of the deadliest POW camps that the Imperial Japanese Army operated.
On Aug. 9, 1945, Mr. Van Camp was imprisoned at Nagoya Subcamp No. 10 in the mountains around the Nagasaki plain. The American, Dutch, Australian and English prisoners served as slave labor for a coal mine there. At noon, when they came out of the mine, Mr. Van Camp and his fellow prisoners saw a large mushroom-shaped cloud over the city of Nagasaki. The next day, the Japanese guards abandoned the camp.
His family said that he made lifelong friends with the men he met in the prisoner camps, and he told them that if it were not for those friendships and his faith, he would not have survived.
He received a Purple Heart with an oak-leaf cluster and the Bronze Star for Valor for his service to his country.
Mr. Van Camp was the only survivor of that group of men when the camp was liberated by Allied Forces. When that happened in late 1945, he was evacuated to Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Denver. While recuperating, 1st. Sgt. Van Camp met a physical therapist, 1st. Lt. Dorothy Jean Rourke.
His family said that theirs was an American love story that lasted 60 years. The couple married in Golden on April 26, 1946.
Mr. Van Camp tried his hand at running his own sawmill. But since they had a growing family, he attended Fort Lewis College and went on to earn bachelor's and master's degrees in soils science from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.
Mr. Van Camp worked for many years in the field in the Four Corners area and developed an appreciation for American Indians, their culture and their respect for the land, his family said. They said he had a true love of the Hopi Indian Tribe.
Mr. Van Camp's work as a soils scientist in New Mexico, Colorado and Thailand reflected his professional and personal ambition to stop hunger.
He also was an author and had several articles published in the National Rose Society Annual.
Mr. Van Camp built homes in Durango, Bayfield, Kirtland, N.M., and Black Canyon City, Ariz. He enjoyed woodworking and always lived in homes he built himself. Mr. and Mrs. Van Camp lived in Bayfield when he retired from the Bureau of Land Management in 1979. They had purchased a ranch there in 1957.
The Van Camps moved to Las Vegas to be near family in 2000. While living there, Mr. Camp continued his mastery of the game of craps - his favorite game - and he taught three generations of his family the intricacies of the game. His family said he was gregarious and loved engaging in a good conversation.
Mr. Van Camp was a Blue Lodge Mason, member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Lion's Club, Elk's Club and X-POW.
He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Van Camp of Las Vegas; children Russell Van Camp of Spokane, Wash., Elizabeth Jean Van Camp of Denver, April Van Camp Gil of Las Vegas and Kelley Van Camp of Las Vegas; sisters Adeline Becay of Durango and Jean Balderston of Montrose; 14 grandchildren; and 29 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, 2006, at the Nevada Veteran's Memorial Cemetery, 1900 Buchanan St., in Boulder City, Nev. Condolences for the family may be sent to Mrs. Raymond Van Camp, c/o Mr. and Mrs. Manuel Gil, 7751 Via Olivero, Las Vegas, NV 89117.
Vernon Arlen McCall (9/3/2006)
Vernon Arlen McCall of Durango, 78, died Aug. 31, 2006.
He was born April 27, 1928, in Miami to Benjamin Franklin McCall and Sadie Hopkins McCall. He was the youngest of two sons.
He spent his childhood and young adult life in Miami and 35 years in the French Quarter of New Orleans. He spent eight years in the Navy and was a licensed electrician.
He is survived by his daughter, Nancy Rodriguez, of Plantation, Fla.; and two grandchildren, Ray Rodriguez and Krystal Rodriguez of Miami. He was preceded in death by his father and mother and older brother Benjamin McCall.
He came to Durango in 2000 and joined St. Columba Catholic Church, where he was well known and loved by the parish community.
A graveside service will be held Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2006, at 11 a.m. at Pine River Cemetery in Bayfield. Father James Koenigsfeld of St. Columba will officiate.
Raybon and Geraldine Lam (9/2/2006)
The children of Raybon and Geraldine Lam are holding an open house from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3, 2006, at 192 Riverview Drive.
Roger Lam, David Lam and Elizabeth Lam Brannan will be on hand to hear and share memories about their parents. Raybon Lam died on Feb. 10, 2006. Geraldine preceded her husband in death.
Johnson Box Taylor (9/1/2006)
Ignacio resident Johnson Box Taylor, 68, died in Albuquerque on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2006. The cause of death was amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Mr. Johnson was born in Ignacio to Edwin and Ellen Taylor on Nov. 12, 1937. He was born at the old Taylor Hospital, which was named after his grandfather.
Mr. Taylor graduated from the Ute Vocational School in 1956. He went to California to attend vocational school and work.
Mr. Taylor served in the Army from 1957 to 1959 and continued his service in the Army Reserves until 1964.
On July 2, 1966, he married Kathleen Headman in Las Vegas. The couple returned to Ignacio with their family in 1972.
Mr. Taylor retired from the Southern Colorado Ute Service as a purchasing agent.
His energies were devoted to the study and promotion of the Southern Singing Style of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma. He founded the Southern Ute Ponca Singers in 1995 in Ignacio, to give the youth of the tribe an avenue for learning and sharing the culture. The group was later renamed the Yellow Jacket and won the Southern Style Singing Competition at the 1996 Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque. Yellow Jacket traveled extensively from coast to coast.
Mr. Taylor was an avid Broncos fan. He also composed traditional songs for family members and friends.
Mr. Taylor is survived by his wife, Kathleen Taylor of Ignacio; children Corliss Taylor, Patricia Taylor, Johnson K. Taylor, Johnita Elyn Taylor and Isaac Glen Headman, all of Ignacio; sister Barbara Santistevan of Ignacio; 11 grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
A visitation and wake will be held at 7 p.m. today, Sept. 1, 2006, at the family home, 71 North Ridge Drive, in Ignacio. A dinner will take place at noon Saturday, Sept. 2, 2006, at the Rolling Thunder Hall, followed by a funeral at 2 p.m., also at the hall. The Rev. Lewis Headman of Ponca City, Okla., will officiate.
A graveside service will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2006, at the Ponca Tribal Cemetery in Ponca City, Okla. A luncheon will follow at noon.
Joan Lee McCoy (10/19/2006)
Former Bayfield resident Joan Lee McCoy died of cancer at her Aztec home on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2006. She was 69.
Mrs. McCoy was born to Leland and Opel Turner in Pagosa Springs on June 1, 1937. She attended school in Pagosa Springs, Ignacio and Farmington before graduating from high school in Monticello, Utah.
On Nov. 4, 1955, she married William Kenneth McCoy in Aztec.
While living in Bayfield and raising her family, Mrs. McCoy worked at the Bayfield Grocery Store and Bayfield Elementary School before opening her used-clothing store New to You.
She was a member of the Church of Christ in Bayfield.
Her family said, "She was a loving and caring wife, mother and grandmother, and she enjoyed watching her children and grandchildren in all their activities. She loved her friends and church family."
Mrs. McCoy is survived by her husband, Kenneth McCoy, of Aztec; daughters Debra George of Wray and Sherre Pacheco of Blanco, N.M.; son Todd McCoy of Bayfield; mother Opel Turner of Buckeye, Ariz.; brother Ronald Turner of Salt Lake City; and sister Beverly Leas of Buckeye; five grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, 2006, at Hood Mortuary. A funeral will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, 2006, at the Church of Christ in Bayfield. The Rev. Gene Chapin will officiate. Burial will follow at the Pine River Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Lavenia McCoy Public Library, 395 Center Drive, P.O. Box 227, Bayfield, CO 81122.
Margaret J. Hill (10/19/2006)
Former Bayfield resident Margaret J. Hill died of complication from a stroke in La Junta on Monday, Oct. 16, 2006. She was 81.
Mrs. Hill moved to Bayfield in 1968 and lived there until 1979.
While in Bayfield, she was the vice chairman of the community-improvement project Pine River Powwow in 1972-73. She also served as the vice chairman of the Bayfield Town Planning Commission from 1971 to the mid-1970s, as a precinct committeewoman for the La Plata County Democrats and state chairman of the crime-prevention task force for the Democratic Party. Mrs. Hill was an officer in the La Plata County chapter of the Eastern Star and active in the Presbyterian Church as an elder and a member of the parish council.
Mrs. Hill was listed in the 10th edition of Who's Who of American Women in 1977-78 for her community involvement.
She was born to Jonathan Edward and Mary Alice (Lloyd) Culwell in Greer County, Okla., on March 30, 1925.
She was raised in Oklahoma, and on Dec. 14, 1942, she married Thomas Walter Hill there. Mrs. Hill attended the University of Oklahoma from 1952 to 1953 before moving to New Mexico, where the Hills lived in Los Alamos for about four years.
They then moved to Colorado, where Mrs. Hill earned her teaching degree at Western State College in Gunnison and then taught in Norwood.
Her husband, Thomas Walter Hill, died in May 1974 while the family was living in La Plata County.
In 1979, Mrs. Hill moved to Española, N.M., where she earned her nursing certificate. For five years, she worked at High Plains Hospital in Amarillo, Texas, before retiring. For the next several years, she lived in Colorado before settling in Farmington.
She eventually moved to La Junta to be near her family after becoming ill.
Mrs. Hill liked to garden in her younger years. She also enjoyed knitting, reading and working on crossword puzzles.
Mrs. Hill also was preceded in death by her sons Ronald Hill and Richard Hill.
She is survived by her sons Don Hill of Temecula, Calif., and Kenneth Tracy Hill of Farmington; daughter Beverly Grasmick of La Junta; sister Nita Pinkerton of Richardson, Texas; four grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A funeral will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, 2006, at Hood Mortuary Chapel. Burial will take place at Pine River Cemetery in Bayfield.
Donald Russell Knight (10/18/2006)
Bayfield resident Donald Russell Knight died of emphysema at Mercy Regional Medical Center on Monday, Oct. 16, 2006. He was 77.
Mr. Knight was born to Newton and Carrie Knight in La Plata, N.M., on June 8, 1929. He grew up in La Plata and graduated from Farmington High School in 1947. He also attended Fort Lewis College at the old Hesperus Campus.
After his studies at FLC, Mr. Knight followed his four older brothers and a sister into the military. He joined the Army and served for two years during the Korean War. Mr. Knight was stationed in Texas and Oklahoma and worked as a surveyor. At the time of his honorable discharge, he held the rank of sergeant.
On Oct. 22, 1954, he married Rosalie Waggoner in Aztec.
After his service, Mr. Knight returned to the area and worked for El Paso Natural Gas Co. and Williams Fields Services in oil-and-gas production. He retired after 29 years.
Soon after his retirement, Mr. Knight followed a lifelong dream and started his own company out of Bayfield called Knight Well Service, Inc. The company is still operated by the family.
Mr. Knight also worked on his own property as a cattle rancher. His family said he enjoyed irrigating and watching his cows grow fat.
His family said Mr. Knight had many passions in life. The most important was his family and friends. He enjoyed many hours in the bleachers at local high schools cheering for his favorite athletes - his children and grandchildren.
For many years, he helped carry the chain at Ignacio High School football games. He was also proud of the fact that he helped to build IHS's all-pipe bleachers in the late 1960s.
Mr. Knight's family said that he was honored to know and be known by his many friends, locally, in the San Juan Basin and across the country. They said that wherever he went, Mr. Knight would find an old acquaintance with shared memories.
Mr. Knight's faith was important to him, his family said. He was a member of the Calvary Presbyterian Church in Bayfield.
Mr. Knight was preceded in death by his infant son Russell Kenneth Knight.
He is survived by his wife, Rosalie Knight, of Bayfield; daughters Valerie Borge of Bayfield, Lorna Bulwan of Ignacio and Donna McCahon of Forest Grove, Ore.; son D. Russell Knight Jr. of Ignacio; sister Lois Cook of Old Town, Fla.; brothers Alan Knight of Ignacio and John Knight of San Jose, Calif.; 13 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, 2006, at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Bayfield. The Rev. Stephen Smith with Calvary Presbyterian Church will officiate. Burial will take place at Pine River Cemetery, also in Bayfield.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Lung Association of Colorado, P.O. Box 3145, Grand Junction, CO 81502.