Vail Daily obituary: Pete Reynolds, 1920-2011
Ryan Summerlin June 14, 2012
Athol Eugene “Pete” Reynolds died peacefully Dec. 3, 2011, in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., and his memorial service will be Saturday at Gypsum’s Cedar Hill Cemetery at 2 p.m.
Pete was born Aug. 14, 1920, in a dirt-roof log house in Eagle County to Floyd Hayes (Shorty) Reynolds and Alice Ray Rabedew.
The oldest of 11 siblings, Pete was educated in a rural, one-room school house. He started helping his father milk cows at age 6. He had his first job as a helper for a crate maker at age 10 and earned 50 cents a week. He farmed with his parents until age 19. He was employed as a construction laborer, truck driver, rock crusher oiler, and crusher operator at Lake Creek, near Edwards. He also worked at Camp Hale as a drag line oiler and drag line operator and later as a construction superintendent, timber worker, heavy equipment operator, truck driver, farmer and bar tender.
He took advantage of an opportunity to enter the engineering profession with the Colorado Highway Department, where he worked as a stake puncher, rod man and chain man. He learned to use the level and transit, and how to take solar observations for alignment locations and other related duties.
He helped bring electricity to the Eagle River Valley by working as a laborer, digging pole holes, setting anchors and helping to string wire. He learned to climb poles, worked as a line man and then worked with the superintendent doing final checks and helped as he changed the lines, bringing long-awaited electricity to the valley. He entered into the specialty engineering field of soil, concrete and asphalt testing for roadway design and was on the construction crews for the Colorado State Highway Department, Lowry Air Force Base and the Bureaus of Public Roads. He continued in this line of work with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he retired in 1986.
Pete enjoyed the outdoors and was an avid rock hound. He explored the world through camping, family vacations and traveled with his wife of 59 years, Muriel. After retirement, and in spite of his vision impairment due to macular degeneration, he wrote his memoirs, titled “Trail of One Life.” He also wrote a series of poetry books titled “Pete’s Pebbles.”
Pete met Muriel in 1952 at a square dance in Denver. Over the next 59 years they lived in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and Washington state. While in Washington, he established a relationship with the owner of Glean apples, and the fruit made its way back to Colorado in applesauce and was shared with local food banks. When not tending to gardens and cattle ranching, the Reynoldses were off exploring England, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Russia and the Cook Islands.
Remembered for his kindness, poetry, knowledge of geology and perseverance, Pete is survived by four brothers, Royce, Donald (Duke), Theodore (Ted) and Felix. He is also survived by his four children, Darlene Wimmer, Glen Reynolds, Kenneth Reynolds and Sherry Anderson; seven grandchildren, LouAnn Smith, Clinton Reynolds, Darla Reynolds, Adam Reynolds, Aubrie Reynolds, Rachel Anderson and Kelly Anderson; and six great-great-grandchildren, Lisa Peters, Carrie Smith, Rebba Reynolds, Jameel Reynolds, Crystal Reynolds and William Reynolds.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife and two sons, Allen Eugene Reynolds and Athold Floyd (Butch) Reynolds.
Memorial donations can be made to the Eagle County Historical Society, P.O. Box 192, Eagle, CO 81631.