Jewell Iris Gomez (1/28/2007)
Longtime Durango resident Jewell Iris Gomez died Thursday, Jan. 25, 2007, after a long illness. She was 84.
Mrs. Gomez was born to George Walker and Nola Bethena White Dec. 27, 1922, in Gunner, Texas.
Mrs. Gomez first visited Durango in 1961. She moved here in 1963 with her three young children. She worked as a waitress at the Basin Livestock Commission, the Luncheonette and the Truck Stop. It was there that Mrs. Gomez met her husband, Ernest Arthur "Art" Gomez. They were married on Oct. 5, 1970.
Her family said Mrs. Gomez was a talented artist who loved to draw and paint. She enjoyed arts and crafts and entered her work in the county fair numerous times, where she won many ribbons.
She was especially proud of a first-place ribbon for an afghan she made, her family said. She also loved the Colorado mountains and wildlife, especially the deer that walked through her yard.
Mrs. Gomez was preceded in death by a brother, four sisters, and her daughter Kathy Rees.
She is survived by her husband, Art Gomez, of Durango; sons Mike Pangle of Jacumba, Calif., and George Hudgens of Durango; daughter, Janella Jarvis of Cisco, Texas; nine grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.
A recitation of the rosary will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 29, 2007, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. A mass of Christian burial will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007, at Sacred Heart. The Rev. Antonio Flores will officiate.
Burial will follow at Cortez Cemetery with Father Larry Gallegos of St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church of Cortez presiding.
Delfido G. Silva (1/28/2007)
Delfido G. Silva died Friday, Jan. 26, 2007, at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center in Pagosa Springs. He was 83.
Mr. Silva was born Sept. 30, 1923, in Pagosa Springs to Joe and Irene Silva. He grew up in Durango and Ignacio.
Throughout his life, Mr. Silva worked in security for many local companies.
He is survived by his son, Michael Silva of San Jose, Calif.; sister, Pauline Sanchez of Bayfield; brother, Louis Silva of Fayetteville, N.C.; five grandchildren; and one great-grandson.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007, at Hood Mortuary. A rosary will be recited that evening at 7 p.m. at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Ignacio. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007, at St. Ignatius.
Burial will follow at Ignacio West Cemetery.
John Henry Wilson (1/27/2007)
Durango resident John Henry Wilson, 70, died at his home on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2007. The cause of death was complications from lung cancer.
Mr. Wilson was born to Walter and Doris Wilson in Durango on Feb. 14, 1936. He was their only child.
His grandparents, Henry and Bessie McDevitt, and later his parents owned The Durango Herald from 1928 to 1945.
Mr. Wilson grew up living with his parents and grandparents in a Victorian-style home across the street from the current Durango High School.
He graduated early from DHS and, with a scholarship in hand, went to the Colorado School of Mines in Golden. Active in ROTC and the Kappa Sigma fraternity, Mr. Wilson pursued a double major in geology and petroleum engineering.
While at Mines, he went on a blind date and met Marva Su Stone, a Texan who was attending the University of Colorado. The Wilsons said it was love at first sight. They danced into the night to tunes from the car radio.
Mr. Wilson always said that May 24, 1957, was a big day for him. He graduated from college, was commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army and married his sweetheart.
After serving his country, Mr. Wilson went to work for Conoco, overseeing different drilling and production sites throughout the western United States, moving his family to the current hot spot and bringing sites on line. In 1968, he was asked to work overseas for the company, so he moved his family to Jakarta, Indonesia, where he oversaw the on- and offshore drilling and production of Conoco's leases in the islands of the country.
In 1972, Mr. Wilson was asked to manage the offshore operations in the North Sea and was based in London. Mr. Wilson pioneered many deep-sea diving techniques and was responsible for several international patents. He also served as Scout Master of a local Boy Scout troop.
Mr. Wilson's next position was with Sedco, to head up a design team that built offshore-drilling platforms. The Wilsons moved to Dallas at that time. Once again he was credited with several patents while he and his team designed platforms capable of reaching deposits in deep water.
While at Sedco, he designed and oversaw the construction of the MSV Tharos, a semi-submersible platform designed for servicing other drilling platforms and for emergency firefighting and recovery. This platform was used to avert disaster after another offshore-drilling platform caught fire and threatened to break apart in the rough North Sea waters. The Tharos was brought alongside, rescued the crew and extinguished the fire.
Mr. Wilson retired in 1988, and he and his wife returned to Durango to care for his aging mother, Doris Wilson, and father-in-law, Marvin Stone.
In his retirement, he pursued his lifelong love of fly-fishing and served on fish committees for Electra Lake Sporting Club and the Florida River Home Owners Association. His family said he passed along his love for this area and his love of fly-fishing to his sons and their families.
Mr. Wilson is survived by his wife of 50 years, Su Wilson, of Durango; sons Kevin Wilson, Tim Wilson, Steve Wilson and Greg Wilson; and nine grandchildren.
Visitation will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28, 2007, at Hood Mortuary Chapel. A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 29, 2007, also at Hood. The Rev. Earl Caudill with Hospice of Mercy will officiate.
Burial will take place at Greenmount Cemetery.
Tom Villelli (1/26/2007)
He also was known as Tommy, Tommy Boy, T.R., Poopy Doop, Thomas R., Daddy Do, Thomas The Magnificent, Brother Tom, Dad, Son, Mr. Villelli, Uncle Tom, Grandpa Poops, Tommy V.
Audrey Lois Foster (1/26/2007)
Former Durango resident Audrey Lois Foster died in Pueblo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2007. She was 100.
Mrs. Foster's family came to Whitewater in a covered wagon. She was born on a ranch near town to Walter and Laura Farmer on Aug. 22, 1906.
On Dec. 25, 1926, she and Howard Foster eloped from the Farmer ranch and found a local justice of the peace. The Foster family moved to Durango in 1934, where Mr. Foster worked at Intermountain Finance Co.
Mrs. Foster was a past president of the P.E.O. Sisterhood Chapter CS.
She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and enjoyed playing the piano.
In 1960, she and her husband moved to Sun City, Ariz.
Mrs. Foster was preceded in death by her husband, Howard Foster.
She is survived by her son, Raymond H. Foster of Parachute; daughter, Lois E. Rowley of Silverthorne; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007, at Sunland Mortuary in Sun City. Burial will follow in the plot next to her husband.
Davidena Lunsford Flack (1/25/2007)
Ignacio native Davidena Lunsford Flack died in Montrose on Monday, Jan. 22, 2007. She was 89.
Mrs. Flack was born to W.H. and Junie Lunsford in Ignacio on Jan. 12, 1918. She was one of 11 children born to her parents, who were longtime residents of the town. She graduated from Ignacio High School in the 1930s.
In 1938, she married Harry Flack.
Mr. Flack was a Navy officer and later an engineer, so the family traveled a great deal, first around the United States when he was with the Bureau of Reclamation and later throughout South America and the Middle East.
Mrs. Flack was an artist who was well known for her sculptures made out of Ivory Soap. She won several awards and once appeared on television to display some of her work. Mrs. Flack also taught soap sculpting.
The Flacks settled in Montrose in the 1960s. During her retirement, Mrs. Flack worked in her church and visited sick and elderly people. She was known for taking a fresh red rose to each person when she visited.
Mrs. Flack is survived by her husband, Harry Flack, of Montrose; son, Kenneth Flack, of Cheyenne, Wyo.; sisters Ardena Figgins of West Covina, Calif., and Catharine Dickey of Bloomfield, N.M.; and one granddaughter.
A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 29, 2007, at Crestview Memorial Gardens near Elmore's Corner.
Mary Helen Ganzerla (1/25/2007)
Longtime Durango resident Mary Helen Ganzerla died at her home after a lengthy battle with cancer on Monday, Jan. 22, 2007. She was 85.
Mrs. Ganzerla was born to William and Elizabeth Oldham in Gallup, N.M., on March 26, 1921.
In October 1941, she married Dino Ganzerla. The couple owned a motel in Gallup until moving to a cattle ranch in the Durango area in 1965.
Mrs. Ganzerla was an avid Denver Broncos fan. She also enjoyed the company of her Chihuahua, Mia, and long-haired Persian, Sam.
During the last year of her life, her caretaker Katie Morrissey was instrumental in keeping her happy, the Ganzerla family said.
Mrs. Ganzerla was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, Dino Ganzerla, and grandson Brian Graves.
She is survived by her daughters, Dina O'Brien of Fort Worth, Texas, Patricia Loe of Irving, Texas, Lisa Ganzerla of Durango and Linda Ferrell of Allison; son, Tony Ganzerla, of Durango; eight grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held from noon to 5:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26, 2007, at Hood Mortuary. A rosary will be recited at 5:30 p.m., also at Hood.
Cremation will occur. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, 2007, at St. Columba Catholic Church. The Rev. James Koenigsfeld will officiate.
Dennis Anthony Paul (1/23/2007)
Durango native Dennis Anthony Paul died in Farmington on Friday, Jan. 19, 2007. He was 47.
He was born to Donald and Esther Paul in Durango on March 26, 1959.
Mr. Paul was a journeyman plumber and a hard worker. His family said he took pride in his plumbing skills, particularly in new construction.
He was an avid outdoorsman, who enjoyed fishing and camping. His family said he was a fan of the Durango Broncos. Mr. Paul also enjoyed watching boxing and playing poker with his family. His family said he enjoyed spending time with them and had a special bond with his mother.
Mr. Paul is survived by his wife, Bernadette Paul, of Farmington; parents, Donald and Esther Paul of Grand Junction; children Kody Vos and Kara "Lupe" Lopez, both of Salt Lake City, and Daniel Chacon, Gabriel Chacon and Anthony Paul, all of Farmington; sisters Liz Tafoya of Farmington and Paula Paul, Cindy Castaneda and Lori Enriquez, all of Grand Junction; brothers Lenard Paul of Grand Junction and Louie Paul of Farmington; two grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. today, Jan. 23, 2007, at Brewer, Lee & Larkin Funeral Home, 103 E. Ute St., in Farmington. A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2007, at Crestview Baptist Church, 4400 E. Main St., in Farmington. The Rev. Leroy Montoya will officiate. Burial will take place at Memory Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, an account has been set up to assist the family with funeral expenses at Bank of America. Contact Liz Tafoya at 505-860-2887 for more information.
Orlan Nathan Phillips (1/23/2007)
Former La Plata County resident Orlan Nathan Phillips died on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007, in Albuquerque. He was 84.
Known as Nathan, he was born in Sullivan, Mo., on March 21, 1922.
When he was young, his family moved to the Durango area and farmed near Falfa (south of the current location of Florida Mesa Elementary School) on the Florida Mesa.
He attended the Orr School, a small, country school, through the eighth grade and then went to Durango High School.
Mr. Phillips was a member of the Colorado National Guard in Durango and entered active duty in the Army during World War II. He served with the 76th Reconnaisance Division as an M-8 armored-car driver. Mr. Phillips was at the Battle of the Bulge and was with U.S. forces as they crossed the Rhine River into Germany.
After World War II, Mr. Phillips returned to Durango and continued his military service with the Colorado National Guard. His day job was with the Durango Police Department. After a short time there, he went to work as a driver for Cannon Ball Bus Line (which became part of the Continental Trailways bus system).
In 1948, Mr. Phillips married Mary DiFerdinando in Durango. In 1953, they moved to Albuquerque, where Mr. Phillips was a driver for Santa Fe Trucking, Navajo Freight Lines and ABF Trucking. He retired from ABF Trucking in 1982.
Mr. Phillips was a member of the Teamsters Local No. 492, Moose Lodge No. 1517 and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 401.
He and his wife continued to be frequent visitors to the area.
"He always had to take a trip out to Florida Mesa and see his old friends," his nephew, Charles DiFerdinando said. "He always had a good sense of humor and a good story."
Mr. Phillips loved Colorado and liked agriculture. He also liked animals, and after his retirement from trucking, he took a part-time job at the racetrack at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds.
Mr. Phillips is survived by his wife, Mary Phillips, of Albuquerque; son, Nathan M. Phillips, of Albuquerque; daughter, Agata Barteau, of Albuquerque; four grandchildren; one great-grandson; two sisters; and several nieces and nephews.
A service was held Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007, at Lomas Chapel at French Mortuary in Albuquerque. Burial followed at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe with full military honors.