Leon Lujan, Army veteran and archaeologist, dies | VailDaily.com

Leon Lujan, Army veteran and archaeologist, dies

Staff Report

Leon Lujan, who was raised in Red Cliff and also lived in Grand Junction and Durango, died Nov. 24 in Richmond, Va. Family and friends said his body had been weakened by three strokes and two heart attacks. He was 54.

“Leon was much to many people – son, father, loving husband, brother, uncle and a dear, dear friend,” said his wife, Rosalinda.

Lujan was born Nov. 27, 1948 in Antonito, Colo. to Joe and Stella Lujan and spent his early years in Red Cliff. He graduated from Battle Mountain High School in 1966.

After serving his country as an army specialist in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970, Lujan attended Mesa College.

His first marriage gave him a son, John, and his second marriage, two daughters, Shanti and Lena. In 1984 he married his wife, Rosalinda, and also became a father to her six children, whom, his wife said, he “loved as his own.”

In 1991, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Ft. Lewis College in Durango and, his wife said, achieved his life’s ambition –to be an archaeologist. He worked for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Durango until his retirement in 2002.

“Digging in ancient ruins was simply icing, but climbing the San Juans, hiking the deserts, fording the creeks and rivers while listening to the wind singing in the trees was the cake,” his wife said. “He looked at life the same way – each day was icing on the cake of life.”

Lujan is survived by his brothers, Joseph Lujan, Emmanuel Lujan and Nathan Lujan; his sisters, Rachel Cuevas, Joann (Bob) Skilton, Sharon Varrieur, Ruth (Randon) Eggers, and Marion Martinez; 18 grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

He is also survived by his nine children and step-children: John, Shanti and Lena Lujan; and Aaron, Kris, Sean, Bryan, Gary and Keather Wenzel.

“All will cherish his wisdom, wit and passion for life and unconditional love,” said his wife. “His example for life will eternally guide and guard them along life’s journey.”

Lujan was preceded in death by his father, Jose de Jesue Lujan; his mother, Stella Ann Lujan; brother Michael James; and grandson Nicholas.

Lujan was cremated on the same day his memorial service was held, Nov. 28, in Farmville, Va.

Please send condolences to Rosie at 811 Bizzarre St., Farmville, Va., 23901.

“Leon was blessed to have a job, wife and family about which he was passionate,” his wife said.