John 'Jack' Rolf Kroeger (2/6/2007)
Durango native John 'Jack' Rolf Kroeger, 85, died in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007. The cause of death was complications from Alzheimer's disease.
Mr. Kroeger was born to Fred and Sabrina Kroeger in Durango on Sept. 6, 1921. Mr. Kroeger graduated from Durango High School in 1939 and went on to earn an associate's degree from Fort Lewis College when it was located at the old Hesperus Campus. Mr. Kroeger also received a bachelor's in agronomy from Colorado State University.
During World War II, he served in the Navy from 1943 to 1946 as a lieutenant on a tank landing ship. Mr. Kroeger saw combat for 22 months in the South Pacific, including the Philippines and Midway. After the war, Mr. Kroeger continued his service in the Naval Reserves from 1946 to 1961.
On Oct. 6, 1946, he married Helen Barbara Mason in Durango, where the couple lived and raised their children.
Mr. Kroeger was a partner with his brother, Fred Kroeger, in Farmer Supply, which later became Kroeger's Ace Hardware. He was also a rancher and owned and operated LU Cattle Co. Later, after his retirement, Mr. Kroeger became a partner in Basin Parts.
His family said Mr. Kroeger was a man of many talents who held numerous offices in many organizations throughout his life. Some of his achievements include: president of the La Plata/Archuleta Cattlemen's Association; president of the La Plata County Soil Conservation District; past exalted ruler of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks No. 507; member of boards of directors of Community Hospital and the Federal Land Association; recipient of the Cowboy Heritage Award; and a longtime 4-H leader.
Mr. and Mrs. Kroeger moved to Utah in spring 2004 for health reasons.
Mr. Kroeger was an outdoorsman who enjoyed fishing, hunting and camping in the mountains. He and his wife also enjoyed traveling and went all over the world.
"He was a good businessman, pretty responsible as a community member," his son, Russell Kroeger said, "And he took good care of his family."
Mr. Kroeger is survived by his wife of 60 years, Helen Barbara Kroeger, of Layton, Utah; son, Russell Kroeger, of Durango; daughter, Mary Ann Kroeger, of Layton; brother, Fred Kroeger, of Durango; sister Helen Farris of Albuquerque; four grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 9, 2007, at the First United Methodist Church of Durango. The Rev. Jeff Huber will officiate. Burial will follow at Greenmount Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Jack and Barbara Kroeger Scholarship, c/o Fort Lewis Foundation, 1000 Rim Drive, Durango, CO 81301.
Elise Catherine Kotlar (2/4/2007)
Durango High School student Elise Catherine Kotlar died in Durango on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007. She was 16.
Miss Kotlar was born to Keith and Martha (Steib) Kotlar on Feb. 25, 1990.
After attending Riverview Elementary and Miller Middle schools, she went on to DHS, where she was vice president of the junior class and involved in Student Council. Miss Kotlar also was a member of the current High School Leadership La Plata class and ran cross country and track. She was a past member of the Renaissance Club and Future Business Leaders of America.
Miss Kotlar worked part time at Fuzziwig's Candy Factory. She had worked previously at the Palace Restaurant.
Miss Kotlar liked to snow ski and water ski.
"Along with her leadership attributes, she was a dear friend to many and always wanted to help anyone who needed it," her family wrote. "She will be dearly missed."
Miss Kotlar is survived by parents Keith and Marty Kotlar of Durango; grandparents Jake and Alice Kotlar of Sun City West, Ariz.; aunt and uncle Tim Kotlar and Linda Boulder of Durango; cousin Ross Kotlar of Durango; aunts and uncles in Louisiana and Michigan; and other numerous cousins and family members.
A memorial Mass was celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, 2007, at St. Columba Catholic Church. The Rev. James Koenigsfeld officiated.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be written to either Keith or Marty Kotlar for the Elise Kotlar Memorial Fund at the Bank of Colorado, 1199 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. They will distribute the money donated to two causes that Miss Kotlar cared about deeply - Darfur relief and Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts.
She died by suicide.
Dolores LaChapelle (2/4/2007)
Pioneering skier, writer and ecologist Dolores LaChapelle died from complications of heart disease in Durango on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2007. The Silverton resident was 82.
Born on July 24, 1924, to John and Anna Greenwell in Louisville, Ky., she was pronounced dead at birth, according to her son, David LaChapelle. Her father came into the delivery room and rescued her.
Mrs. LaChapelle grew up in Denver, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Denver after World War II. She taught skiing in the early days of Aspen before moving to Alta, Utah, with her husband, snow scientist Ed LaChapelle. Mr. LaChapelle, who died last week of a heart attack while skiing at Monarch Mountain, was one of the earliest and foremost experts in snow safety and avalanche control.
While at Alta, Mrs. LaChapelle pioneered groundbreaking routes and powder-skiing techniques. The Utah Skiing Archives say she was the first to ski Baldy Chute at Alta. She is also credited with making the first ski ascents of Mount Columbia, the second highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, and of the Snow Dome, which is the hydrographic apex of North America.
"I wish you could have been with her on the morning after a new powder snowfall as she was hurrying out the door of our home in Alta to embrace the day," her son wrote for the Silverton Standard and The Miner. "She had little use for niceties as a most important appointment was to be kept: the exhilaration and free fall of dancing with millions of ice crystals under the sun in the mountains. This embrace of motion, mountain and life swept my mother into a deep affirmation of the world of the spirit, obvious in her delight and excitement at being able to once again turn her skis down the mountain and let go."
When she was 38, Mrs. LaChapelle began a writing career that included more than six books. Some of her best known publications include D.H. Lawrence: Future Primitive (1996), Sacred Land, Sacred Sex: Rapture of the Deep (1992), and Deep Powder Snow: Forty Years of Ecstatic Skiing, Avalanches and Earth Wisdom (1993).
Mrs. LaChapelle also was a proponent of the deep-ecology movement and started the Way of the Mountain Learning Center in Silverton. She was a member of the Silverton Mountain School and a tai chi instructor.
Her son said that she literally built her house with her writing, selling enough books to pay for each stage of the project. He said she stayed in Silverton, even though it was dangerous for her health because of her heart condition, because she loved it there so much.
"Everything is connected " Mrs. LaChapelle wrote in Earth Wisdom, "The real self is part of the whole and thus does not end with death."
Mrs. LaChapelle is survived by son, David LaChapelle and sisters Adrienne "Tiny" Bergstrom of Golden and Pat Hubbard of Cortez.
A celebration of her life was held on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2007, at the Silverton Town Hall.
In lieu of flowers, people are asked to plant an aspen tree (her favorite) or make donations to The Nature Conservancy.
Carole Ann 'Kiki' McCullough (2/4/2007)
Durango resident Carole Ann "Kiki" McCullough, 57, died in her sleep on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2007. The cause of death is undetermined.
Mrs. McCullough was born to Edwin C. and Isabel E. (Boyd) Fallsgraff in Deposit, N.Y., on Dec. 11, 1949.
She graduated from Whitmer High School and attended the University of Toledo.
On June 20, 1968, she married Patrick Michael McCullough in Monroe, Mich. He preceded her in death in 1990.
The couple lived in Toledo, Ohio, where they raised their children. Mrs. McCullough worked at Dillard's Department Store after her husband's death.
In January 1999, she moved to Durango. During her time here, Mrs. McCullough worked as a cashier for one to two years each at Kroegers Ace Hardware, Office Depot and most recently at Dunlaps.
She had a passion for gardening, which was a lifelong hobby. She was knowledgeable on the subject, growing everything from flowers and vegetables to house plants.
Her family said she was a happy person who was always smiling and had a memorable giggle.
"That kid has moxie," her father was quoted as saying.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. McCullough was preceded in death by her daughter, Jennifer McCullough in 1998 when she was 27.
She is survived by son Daniel McCullough of Durango; companion of 14 years Joseph P. Gerity of Durango; brother Gary Fallsgraff of Cleveland; sister Patty Lancaster of Rochester, Minn.; two grandsons; and numerous extended family members.
Cremation will occur, and services will be held at a later date in Gem Village. Her cremains will be returned to Michigan where her late husband is buried.
Stephen Glenn Bell (2/4/2007)
Former Durango resident Stephen Glenn Bell died of cancer in Denver on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2007. He was 57.
Mr. Bell was born to Betty Ruth Bell in Los Angeles on July 1, 1949. When he was 10, he moved with his mother, four brothers and new stepfather to Durango. They became known as the Bell boys from the Animas Valley, living on a ranch just north of Trimble Springs.
Mr. Bell enjoyed fishing, hunting and trapping. He excelled in high school sports, including football and gymnastics at a time when Durango High School had a successful team.
He graduated from DHS in 1967.
Mr. Bell received his first guitar when he was 15 and played music in the area at all kinds of places and events. Some of the groups he played with included The Cherry Stones, Glory Bee, Brave Buffoon and Fire on the Mountain. His band Glory Bee was the first to play at Farquahrts when it opened in 1973.
In April 1973, he married Delia Clark at the family's Animas Valley ranch.
Mr. Bell served in the U.S. Army from 1970 to 1972 and was stationed in Sea Side, Calif. His family said he had the job of company clerk because of his typing skills.
Mr. Bell attended Fort Lewis College for three years as a music major and then went on to major in electronics at San Juan Votech (now San Juan Basin Technical College). He received FCC licensing after graduation.
After graduation, Mr. Bell relocated his family to Kremmling, where he was a troubleshooter on the electronic locomotives for Amax Molybdenum Mine at the Henderson Mine and Mill.
In 1990, Mr. Bell went to work with the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District. He managed all communications needed to run the Big Thompson Project. At that time, the family moved to Grand Lake.
Mr. Bell is survived by wife Delia E. Bell of Grand Lake; daughter Dori Thomsson, of Pauls Valley, Okla.; sons Stephen Glenn Bell II of Denver and Derek Bell of Grand Lake; brothers Bob Bell of La Cygne, Kan., Phil Bell of Durango, Jack Bell of Kansas City, Kan., and Ken Bell of Colorado Springs; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A service was held on Monday, Jan. 29, 2007, at Stillwater Chapel in Grand Lake. Mr. Bell's ashes will be brought to Durango this summer, when a more informal remembrance will be held during the second weekend in July at Henderson Lake. Contact Gary and Suzi Watkins in Durango for more information about the gathering.
Memorial contributions may be sent to the Pregnancy Resource Connection, P.O. Box 187, Granby, CO 80446; Heart of the Mountain Volunteer Hospice, P.O. Box 1093, Granby, CO 80446; or Hospice of Mercy, 375 E. Park Ave., Durango, CO 81301.
Mary Lou Large (2/3/2007)
Durango native Mary Lou Large died of cancer at Casa De La Luz Hospice in Tucson, Ariz., on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007. She was 81.
Mrs. Large was born to Delubino and Eleonor Quintana in Durango on May 17, 1925. After graduating from Durango High School, she settled in California.
She married Tony Large of Pagosa Springs in Los Angeles. The marriage later ended in divorce.
Mrs. Large worked until she was 75 at a company that made gears. On weekends, she liked to take adult-education courses about subjects such as computers.
Mrs. Large is survived by her son, William F. Large, of Tucson, Ariz.; brothers Joe Quintana of Durango and Mike Quintana of Cerritos, Calif.; sister Cathrine Richner of Durango; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and three nephews and three nieces.
Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5, 2006, at Hood Mortuary. A rosary will be recited beginning at 7 p.m. Monday, also at Hood. Visitation also will take place from 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday before the Mass of Christian Burial, which will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2007, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. The Rev. Antonio Flores will officiate. Burial will follow at Greenmount Cemetery.
June B. Stephenson (2/3/2007)
Bayfield native June B. Stephenson died at Mercy Regional Medical Center on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007. She was 73.
Mrs. Stephenson was born to Charlie and Nila (Knight) Martin in Bayfield on Dec. 3, 1933. She graduated from Bayfield High School in 1951.
On Dec. 24, 1951, she married Joe Stephenson in Aztec.
Mrs. Stephenson lived all of her life in Bayfield. Although she completed her licensed practical nurse degree, she spent most of her life working at Martin's Boot and Saddle Shop in Bayfield, which she and her family owned.
Mrs. Stephenson served as part of the Upper Pine River Fire Protection District for 20 years, working as a volunteer dispatcher and part-time secretary.
Mrs. Stephenson was preceded in death by her husband, Joe Stephenson.
She is survived by her daughters Joleen Faust of Bayfield and Della Steele of Cortez; son Tom Stephenson of Bayfield; six grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5, 2007, at Pine River Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Pine River Cemetery, P.O. Box 51, Bayfield, CO 81122.