David Bishop Reynolds (2/3/2007)
Durango resident and chess master David Bishop Reynolds died of heart failure at Mercy Regional Medical Center on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2007. He was 72.
Mr. Reynolds was born to Norman and Dorothy Reynolds in Battle Creek, Mich., on June 3, 1934. He graduated from Sexton High School in Lansing, Mich., and went on to study at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. At Michigan, he earned his bachelor's degree in astronomy and math in 1955 and his master's degree in sociology in 1956. He also pursued his doctorate and completed all but his dissertation.
On June 25, 1960, Mr. Reynolds married Judith E. Lähde in Grand Rapids, Mich.
That same year, he worked as a staff sociologist for Market Facts in Chicago.
In 1961, he became a research assistant and sociology instructor at the University of Michigan, a position he held until 1964.
The Reynoldses then moved to Fredonia, N.Y., where Mr. Reynolds was an assistant professor of sociology at the State University of New York from 1964 to 1968, before he held the same positions at Idaho State University in Pocatello from 1968 to 1972; at Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles from 1972 to 1974; and at Russell Sage College in Troy, N.Y., from 1975 to 1978.
In 1978, Mr. Reynolds earned his Master of Library Science from the State University of New York in Albany.
Mr. Reynolds spent the final years of his career as a subject bibliographer and reference librarian at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., where he specialized in urban, Afro-American and welfare studies.
After his retirement in 1994, Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds moved to Durango.
Chess was a lifelong interest for Mr. Reynolds. As a youth, he won the Lansing and Michigan Junior Championships. From 1960 to 1961, he was a member of the Polish Falcon Chess Team in Chicago.
As an adult, Mr. Reynolds won the state championships of Idaho and Ohio. The highest ranking he achieved was chess master under the auspices of the U.S. Chess Federation. He played in several national championships and in simultaneous exhibitions against world champions Bobby Fisher and Samuel Rechevsky. He was the last surviving player in the exhibition against Fisher and almost played him to a draw.
At the time of his retirement, Mr. Reynolds was ranked in the top 25 speed-chess champions in the country and in the top 50 in slow chess. In the February 2007 rankings, he was ranked No. 11 in speed chess in the nation in his age class. Mr. Reynolds was a member of the Durango Chess Club from 1995 to 2007. His most recent victory was the John Mical Tournament in December 2006.
At Mr. Reynolds' memorial service, local chess player Damian Nash compared Mr. Reynolds' chess style to that of composer Felix Mendelssohn, beginning by weaving together expected and transparent elements before adding surprising twists.
Mr. Reynolds was a descendant of Roger Williams, a Puritan separatist and founder of the colony of Rhode Island. Mr. Reynolds enjoyed visiting Rhode Island and London, where his ancestor was born, to learn more about him. He was also proud of Mr. Williams' stance as a champion of tolerance and religious freedom.
Other activities that Mr. Reynolds enjoyed included hiking, travel, music and reading.
In 1996, Mr. Reynolds underwent double-bypass surgery. Five years later, on the anniversary of the surgery, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, in what he called an "Act of Defiance." His son, Sam Reynolds, said his father reached 18,000 feet and would have made it to the summit had he not suffered altitude sickness.
Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds also traveled frequently, including, in recent years, Prague, Czech Republic; Sicily, Italy; and Peru for a hike up to Machu Picchu. In 2003, he and his son went to Patagonia in a journey that included eight days of hiking at Torres del Paine National Park in the Patagonian region of Chile.
When the Reynoldses moved to Durango in 1994, they became intrigued by the story of early Mesa Verde archaeologist Gustaf Nordenskiöld. In the late 1990s, the couple began what would become a five-year project researching and writing about his life. The project required several trips to Finland and Sweden and collecting family papers from several of Nordenskiöld's descendants. Nordenskiöld of Mesa Verde: A Biography was published in 2006.
Mr. Reynolds enjoyed poetry and memorized poems to mark many family occasions, including wedding anniversaries, birthdays and accomplishments.
In addition to the U.S. Chess Federation, Mr. Reynolds also was a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, the Guilt (Reading) Group and several other organizations. He considered himself a follower of the rationalist and stoic philosophies.
Mr. Reynolds is survived by his wife, Judith L. Reynolds, of Durango; son, Samuel W. Reynolds, of Los Angeles; sister, Judy Reynolds Staser, of Dallas; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
A private memorial service was held at the Fort Lewis College Interfaith Chapel on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007, on the 105th anniversary of the birth of Mrs. Reynolds' father.
Memorial contributions may be made to Durango Fire & Rescue Authority, 142 Sheppard Drive, Durango, CO 81303; or Mercy Health Foundation, 1010 Three Springs Blvd., Durango, CO 81301.
Gla Leland Paxton (2/1/2007)
Durango resident Gla Leland Paxton died at his home on Monday, Jan. 29, 2007. He was 90.
Mr. Paxton was born in Ridgway to Daniel and Mabel (Smith) Paxton on Dec. 6, 1916. He had nine brothers and sisters.
His family moved to Montrose, where he grew up and went to school. They were farmers and raised cattle.
He left home to work in the Silverton mines. In the late 1930s, Mr. Paxton moved to Durango, where he worked as a dishwasher and cook at Strater Hotel.
In 1938, he married Lenna M. Barger in Aztec. Until 1949, Mr. Paxton worked in coal mines. At that point, he worked at the Vanadium of America Mill until it closed.
At that time, Mr. Paxton took a correspondence course to learn to fix televisions. He worked at Wallace Furniture doing that until his retirement.
Mr. Paxton's mother taught him to dance when he was a young boy. Throughout his life, he enjoyed country music and dancing. His family said he enjoyed it "until he was 89½ years old.
Mr. Paxton was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Lenna Paxton.
He is survived by his sons, Dan Paxton of Durango and Jack Paxton of Honolulu; daughter, Jean Stock of Navajo Dam, N.M.; 10 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 2, 2007, at Hood Mortuary Chapel. The Rev. Justin Ross of Grace Church will officiate. Burial will take place at Greenmount Cemetery.
Lawrence Martin Novak (2/1/2007)
Pagosa Springs resident Lawrence Martin Novak died at his home on Monday, Jan. 29, 2007. He was 62. The cause of death was not disclosed.
Known as Larry, he was born to Martin and Magida Novak in Woonsocket, R.I., on March 4, 1944. He graduated from the University of California at Long Beach with a degree in electrical engineering. Mr. Novak eventually started his own medical business. After an early retirement, he and his family moved to Pagosa Springs, where he spent the last 10 years enjoying his family and Colorado.
As a committee member of the Pagosa Bible Church, he was respected for living his faith, his family said. "His actions were clear reflections of his selfless, compassionate ideals," they said.
His family also said Mr. Novak will be remembered as the "gentle giant" who listened and acted with kindness and patience. They said his genuine concern and love of others were evident in his daily interactions, both with close friends and strangers.
His family also will remember Mr. Novak for his happy and lighthearted nature.
Mr. Novak is survived by his wife of 38 years, Karol Novak, of Pagosa Springs; daughter, Amy Huff of Denver; son, Chad Novak of Durango; sisters Margaret McCoy of Canyon Lake, Calif., and Gloria Roelen of Mission Viejo, Calif.; and two grandchildren.
A service will be held at 10:30 a.m. today, Feb. 1, 2007, at Pagosa Bible Church.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Wells Fargo Bank, where a fund has been set up in his name for the foster children of Pagosa Springs.
Herschel Watson (3/28/2007)
Herschel Watson of Durango died Sunday, March 25, 2007. He was 82.
Mr. Watson was born in Eskota, Texas, on Oct. 27, 1924. He grew up in Texas and New Mexico, attending college before serving in the Army during the occupation of Japan after World War II. He was awarded medals for meritorious service.
He worked and retired from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power after 37 years. Mr. Watson also was an entrepreneur, owning several businesses in Hollywood, meeting stars of the day - Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Lena Horne and other Hollywood dignitaries.
Food was a passion, and Mr. Watson was especially known for his "Santa Maria bean dish." Hobbies included photography, hiking, walking (he would often walk 7 miles a day), gardening and gambling at the local casino. Several years ago, he won a pickup filled with sporting goods. Mr. Watson loved the outdoors and spent many weeks hiking in Yosemite with his family.
He was a greeter at the Durango Wal-Mart for a few years.
Mr. Watson was preceded in death by his youngest son, Jim Watson, who was 36 when he died of cancer in 1991.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Dorrace Allensworth Watson; daughter Susan Farley; sons L.A. Watson and Jon Watson; brothers Earl and Bobby Watson, both of California; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Hugh M. Bryce (3/28/2007)
Durango native Hugh M. Bryce, 90, died Thursday, March 22, 2007, at an Albuquerque care facility.
He was born Aug. 31, 1916, in Durango to John Robert and Edna Dell Bryce.
Mr. Bryce served during World War II and retired from the military as a major after 21 years. He worked and retired from First National Bank of Albuquerque after many years. He was an avid community volunteer after his retirement with his church and Meals on Wheels. Mr. Bryce was a member of St. John's United Methodist Church in Albuquerque.
He enjoyed baking pies during the New Mexico State Fair-Asbury Pie Cafe. He also lived in Henderson, N.C.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Mabel H. Bryce, and his second wife, Irma Mae Gupton-Bryce.
Mr. Bryce is survived by his sons Hugh M. Bryce and Edwin A. "Tony" Bryce, both of Albuquerque; stepdaughter Brenda Stewart of North Carolina; sister Mary Jean Duncan of Arizona; brothers Andrew and Douglas, both of Colorado; six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, 2007, at St. John's United Methodist Church 2626 Arizona St. NE, Albuquerque.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Association, 10501 Montgomery Blvd. NE, No. 300, Albuquerque, NM, 87111 or Menaul School, 301 Menaul Blvd N.E., Albuquerque, NM, 87107.
Hazel Rosemond Bodo (3/27/2007)
Hazel Rosemond Bodo passed away March 24, 2007, at The Valley Inn Nursing Home in Mancos from complications from Alzheimer's disease.
She was born Oct. 3, 1912, in Durango, and married Archie J. Bodo on Nov. 25, 1930. Hazel was manager of Sweetbriar dress shop in Durango for 25 years.
Her husband preceded her in death on Nov. 19, 2003.
She is survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
Graveside services will be held on 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 28, 2007, at Greemount Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Annie's Orphans (a no-kill shelter in Durango) 1630 County Road 214, Durango, CO 81303.
Larry Michael Romero (3/25/2007)
Durango High School junior Larry Michael Romero was killed in a car accident south of Hesperus. He died Sunday, March 18, 2007.
Mr. Romero, 18, was born in Durango to Christine Romero on Feb. 20, 1989.
He had been active in sports since he was a little boy. Mr. Romero started in youth baseball at the age of five and developed a passion for the game. That same year, he was invited to attend the Colorado Rockies Challenge, the first of many honors he received. He played for numerous teams in Colorado and New Mexico, and he was a member of the Durango All-Star Travel Team.
In 2000, when he was 11, Mr. Romero pitched the Triple Crown World Series. His friends said he could hit the ball out of the park on command at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.
He enjoyed hunting and fishing. His family said that when he would tell stories about his grandpa and Uncle Danny at hunting camp, he would smile and say "What happens at camp stays at camp."
At the age of 15, Mr. Romero started riding bulls with Little Britches Rodeo.
"Larry wasn't just born to his mom," his family wrote, "Even though he proudly let everyone know he was a mama's boy, he was born to the village we call our family. Whether it was pitching balls at 90 mph, riding bulls or imitating 'Jackass' with his brothers and friends, Larry loved life and his mom and girlfriend Carly Martin (who also was killed in the accident). He will be missed till the day we see him again."
Mr. Romero is survived by his mother, Christine Romero of Durango; brother Andrew Romero of Durango; sister Sophia Tarpley-Romero of Durango; grandparents Mary and Toby Romero of Leander, Texas; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
A rosary was recited Thursday, March 22, 2007, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Friday, March 23, 2007, also at Sacred Heart. The Rev. Joseph Gallegos was the celebrant. Burial took place at the Pine River Cemetery in Bayfield.
A memorial fund has been set up in Mr. Romero's name at Wells Fargo Bank in Durango. The money raised will help children who love baseball but cannot afford to participate in youth leagues.