Durbin McIlnay, known as “Mac” to family and friends, went to be with the Lord and his wife of 63 years on April 11. He had been living independently until suffering complications resulting from a fall in his home on March 2. He was 84 years old.
Mac was born to Ira and Eleanor McIlnay in Melford, Neb., July 12, 1929. Ira and Eleanor moved to Red Cliff when Durbin around 14. He graduated from Red Cliff High School and went to Colorado Springs to attend business school where he met Elizabeth Duggan and they were married April 9, 1949, in Colorado Springs. They moved to Red Cliff for a few years and then moved to nearby Gilman, where he took a job in the New Jersey Zinc Eagle Mine. He worked his way up the ladder from miner’s helper to mine superintendent demonstrating to his family the value of hard work. They lived in Gilman until the mine closed in 1985 and the company-owned town closed with it. Mac and Beth were one of the last three families to live in Gilman.
After a short time living in Minturn, they moved to Winnemucca, Nev., where Mac took a job with Gold Field’s Twin Peaks Mine. He retired in 1996 and they remained in Winnemucca until Beth passed away in March of 2012. At that time he moved to Grand Junction to be near his family and longtime friends.
Mac is preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth McIlnay, his parents and younger brother Harry McIlnay. He is survived by his children David McIlnay and his wife Lorna, of Grand Junction, Ruth Rowley and her husband David, of Littleton, Dan McIlnay, of Grand Junction; grandchildren, Kimberly McIlnay and her husband Josh Buhs, of Folsom, Calif., John McIlnay and his wife Shanon, of Roseville, Calif.; great-grandchildren, Morgan Buhs, Landon McIlnay, Carter McIlnay, Justine (Rowley) Miller.
While living in Colorado, Mac was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing, four wheeling, snowmobiling and picnics with family and friends. He loved to take a “flatlander” four wheeling to see if he could get a good squeal. He had a gift for being able to easily understand and repair mechanical things and loved to repurpose anything to address a present need. He greatly enjoyed helping friends and family repair their things while giving them a ribbing at the same time. After moving to Nevada, Mac and Beth enjoyed long rides to explore Nevada’s wilderness areas and socializing at their favorite casinos.
He was a member of the Redlands Lions Club and attended Liberty Baptist Church in Grand Junction.