Vail pioneer June Simonton passed away peacefully at the Hospice and Palliative Center in Grand Junction earlier this week at the age of 82. Her loving husband, Don, was at her side.
June and Don moved to Vail in 1967 tasked with organizing a new Protestant congregation, which later became the Mount of the Holy Cross Lutheran Church. June fell in love with Vail for its beauty and excitement and the like-minded mountain people she and Don met, many of whom remain their closest friends today. An accomplished artist and writer, she became fascinated with the history of the area, helping to start and operate the Colorado Ski Museum. She captured life and the early years of the valley in her paintings, published articles and several books, including Vail's first history, "Vail, Story of a Colorado Mountain Valley." June enjoyed hiking, skiing, fishing, hunting for wild mushrooms and digging for old bottles with her many friends. Always smiling, always caring, always full of conversation, her love for her family, her mountain community and her art endeared her to all she knew.
Don and June retired and moved to Grand Junction in 1993. They spent winters there and summers at their cabin in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Westcliffe, Colorado, with many trips back to Vail to visit family (sons Cliff and Denny) and friends.
A Service of Memory and Celebration will be held at the Vail Chapel on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 3:30 p.m. and more detailed information about June's life and her time in Vail will be published soon. In lieu of flowers, Don has asked that contributions in memory of June be made to the Mount of the Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Vail.