Several long-time locals passed in 2005 |

Several long-time locals passed in 2005

Scott N. Miller

EAGLE COUNTY – There are people whose losses diminish us all. The valley lost its share of well-known, and well-loved people in 2005.Some of those who passed in the last 12 months lived rich, full, lives. Others left far too soon, and two were the victims of violence.This isn’t an attempt to mark the passing of every valley resident who died in 2005, and there are certainly people who should be on this list who aren’t. With apologies in advance, then, here are brief looks, taken from obituaries and other stores, at some of the people we’ve lost in 2005.NovemberSarah Amelia Velasquez, 81Sara Vasquez and her husband, Jose, moved to Red Cliff in 1955. Sarah and Jose had 14 children, and raising the family was Sarah’s full-time job. Family members say Sarah was never happier than when she was with her family. She sewed for her family and as her children got older, baby-sat for her many grandchildren. Elena Romero, 86Elena Romero lived in Red Cliff starting in the early 1940s and worked at Gasthof Gramshammer for 30 years as a housekeeping supervisor. She retired from Pepi’s when she was 80 years old, then moved to New Mexico to be closer to her daughter. Her husband worked at the Gilman mine. When Vail opened, Elena worked at the Short Swing dormitory lodge. She is survived by nine children, 21 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Blaire Milliken Webbe, 21 After attending Vail Mountain School, Webbe graduated from the Idyllwild School of Performing Arts in California, where she studied film and video production. Webbe was living in Boulder, where she was attending the Academy of Cosmetology Arts in Denver. Webbe is survived by her parents, Daphne and Lindsay Webbe; her sisters, Kate and Hope; and her brother, Henry. OctoberMargaret Ella Carlow, 87Longtime Eagle resident Margaret Carlow was born to Hugh and Ruth Brown in Granada, Colo. on Sept. 24, 1918. She married George Carlow on Sept. 25, 1939. A secretary, she went to work in 1940 for Edward Taylor, a U.S. Congressman from Glenwood Springs, and worked out of his office in Washington, D.C. beginning in 1941.Taylor died in office, and the Carlows moved back to Eagle, where their daughter, Janice, was born in 1942. George joined the Navy and they moved to Chula Vista, Calif. After the war, they moved back to Eagle. Their son Pat was born in 1946.During the next 50-plus years, Margaret had a varied career, including secretarial work for attorney Gene Luby and First Bank of Eagle County. She spent many years working as clerk at the Eagle County District Court.Margaret and George owned and operated a variety of businesses in Eagle, including a restaurant and liquor store. Oscar W.G. Holden, 74 Born Sept. 10, 1931, in Seattle, Wash., Oscar was the eldest son of professional musicians Oscar W. and Leala B. (Coleman) Holden. He graduated in 1949 from Garfield High School in Seattle and attended Seattle University for two years, where he was on the only college basketball team known to defeat the Harlem Globetrotters.In 1951, he joined the Army and served in Korea in the engineer corps. In 1973 the family moved to Vail, where he was the town’s first black police officer. While in Colorado he was also a deputy with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, and a well-known school bus driver. He joined the U.S. postal service in 1980 in Vail and transferred to Prescott, Ariz., in 1983, retiring in 1996. Oscar and his wife, Diana, lived in the Prescott area until his death this year.Mary Alice Baldrey, 84Mary Alice Anderson Goldworthy, the daughter of Oscar and May (Humphrey) Anderson, was born May 8, 1921, in Montrose. She married Elbert Baldrey on Dec. 29, 1946, at the First Presbyterian Church in Montrose. They were married for 59 years. In December of 1960, the Baldrey family moved from Montrose to Gypsum, where they lived for almost 45 years. They returned to Montrose in September of 2004 to be closer to family. Baldrey was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Gypsum and the First Presbyterian Church in Montrose. She also belonged to the United Methodist Women’s Association. Family members say Baldrey’s main focus was her gardening and flowers, and that she loved spending time with her family and loved her animals. Maria Madrid, 38Maria Madrid, 38, was shot and killed Oct. 7 after an argument about two miles north of Dotsero on Coffee Pot Road. She leaves behind her teenage son, Joel, and husband, Eliseo, In the days after her death, her husband called Maria, “The captain of the boat that was our family.”She used to tease Joel about the budding stubble on his chin, telling him, “You look like a little goat.”Maria was known among friends and family as a tireless worker, and on the day she was shot, Eliseo knew the only way he was going to get his wife to relax was to get her out of the house where there was nothing to clean.Charles Anthony Gross, 55, a longtime local resident, faces a charge of first-degree murder in the case. SeptemberElizabeth L. Meikle, 89Better known as “Betty at the bank,” Meikle had been a Vail Valley resident since 1976. She was active in community affairs including the local Business and Professional Women, Eagle Valley Arts Council, Vail Ski Museum and the Community Rummage Sale. She had been employed at First Bank of Vail 23 years and was working as recently as August.AugustEvenor C. Herrera, 22Lance Cpl. Evenor C. Herrera adopted the United States as his country. He died while serving it.Herrera, a Marine, died from injuries suffered when a bomb exploded during combat near Ar Ramadi, Iraq, about 35 miles west of Fallujah, the U.S. Defense Department reported. “He was very proud to be in the Marines,” said cousin Kelly Matias. “He adopted this country as his own. He was willing to die for the peace here.” The Eagle Valley High School graduate and his family immigrated from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, in 1992. After graduating from high school, Herrera, known to friends and family by his middle name, Christopher, joined the Marines and was trained as a machine gunner. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. “He joined because he wanted to have more opportunity in this country,” said his mother, Blanca Stibbs, through a translator, her sister, Gilma Miranda. “He wanted a career with the Marines.” Hererra was buried with full military honors in the Eagle Cemetery.William Leonard Leidy, 95William Leonard Leidy, a former hardware store owner in Minturn, was born May 31, 1910, in Inman, Neb. to William E. Leidy and Myrtie Manchester. He graduated from Inman High School and attended Aircraft Mechanics School in Chicago. On June 27, 1937, he married Jennie V. Jacox. In 1942, they moved to Glenwood Springs where he was an auto mechanic and collision repair specialist. In 1947 he and his wife opened a Gambles hardware store in Minturn, where they lived until they retired. They moved to Buchanan Dam, Texas. After the death of his wife in 1993, Leidy continued to live in Buchanan Dam until May of this year when he moved to Durango to be near his two sons. MarchGeorge Caulkins, one of the original eight founding board members of the company that created the Vail ski area, died March 24. A memorial service held May 12 in Denver was attended by hundreds of people. Many have said there might not have been a Vail without George Caulkins. Before Vail, Caulkins owned a successful oil business in Oklahoma, which he later moved to Denver. With partners, he later built one of the largest citrus-growing operations in central Florida. When Vail was being formed in 1959, Caulkins was the prime mover in the sale of limited partnerships to make funding possible. He created Caulkins Securities Company to raise the money. When the small resort opened on Dec. 15, 1962, Caulkins lent experienced employees from his own company to help while the corporate team was being put together. George’s job of raising the money to build Vail really started when the original group of about 25 investors, having obtained a Forest Service permit, realized that they needed over $1 million to build the lifts. So they sent George to Wall Street, where he had developed some influential connections. In 1960, a ski area in the Rockies had no appeal, particularly on Wall Street. When he came back empty handed, the group again turned to him to go out and raise the money from his friends. He agreed, and the money was raised. Ernest “Doc” Walcher, 83Ernest S. “Doc” Walcher, a former state highway employee and World War II veteran who held various official positions in Gypsum, died in Denver. Walcher was born in Darby, Pa. on March 15, 1921 and moved with his family to Oklahoma in the 1930s. The Dust Bowl forced the family west to Colorado and Gypsum, where Walcher was the valedictorian of his graduating class at Eagle County High School. Walcher worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps in Glenwood Springs, building bridges for the U.S. Forest Service. Walcher and a brother enlisted in the military just after the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Navy. Walcher served for four years in the South Pacific with the Night Fighter Squadron, primarily bombing Japanese positions at night. After the war, Walcher returned to Gypsum and married Joyce Anderson on May 13, 1946. Walcher was mayor of Gypsum from 1960 to 1968. He also was chief of the town’s volunteer fire department.FebruaryBenno Scheidegger, 70One of the first West Vail residents and a full-time Vail character, Benno Scheidegger, died Feb. 18 at Heritage Park Care Center in Carbondale, where he had been since August. Scheidegger was born in Murnau, Germany, and raised in Penzberg, where he learned the plumbing and heating business from his father. He moved to New York City in 1956 and continued his plumbing business. He moved to Vail in 1969 after a ski club vacation during which he discovered the growing area could use a plumber. “All he did was work and have a good time,” said his son, Benno. “The thing that everybody loved about him is he was a very giving person who loved to have a good time. He called everybody ‘bubbele’ (sonny) and all the ladies ‘schatzi’ (sweetheart).” Richard Vossler Sr., 74Longtime Vail resident Richard Joseph Vossler Sr. died at Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital in Denver after a brief illness. Born to Clara and Carl Vossler in Wapakoneta, Ohio, on Jan. 26, 1931, Vossler was a graduate of St. Jospeh’s High School and received a congressional appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where he received a bachelor of science degree in engineering in 1954. After graduating from West Point, Vossler went into the U.S. Air Force and served as an aircraft commander flying cargo planes in the Pacific. He retired as an active Air Force officer in 1963 and worked on research and development in the materials lab at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. He earned a master’s degree in nuclear engineering at the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton and was a Sloan Fellow at Stanford University from 1968-1969. Vossler retired from the U.S. Air Force Civil Service in 1976 and was a business consultant until his full retirement in 1993. Part-time residents since 1976, he and his wife Magda moved to Vail full time in 1994. “Dick Vossler was a man of extraordinary integrity who quietly and persistently gave of himself in service to the Vail Chapel and community,” said Pastor Carl Walker, president of the Vail Religious Foundation. “He served as treasurer and much more for the Vail Religious Foundation for many years. He is deeply missed.” JanuaryRachel Carmen Mascarenas, 80Former Minturn resident Rachel Carmen Mascarenas died at her home in Fruita following a lengthy illness. She was 80. She was born Nov. 30, 1924, in Gulnar, Colo., to Cresencio and Maximiliana Greigo. She lived there until her marriage on Dec. 23, 1942, to Zacharias Mascarenas. The couple moved many times during the early years of their marriage but settled in Minturn in 1954 when Zacharias went to work for the New Jersey Zinc Mine at Gilman. They raised their family in Minturn. For six years, Rachel worked as a clerk at Carter’s Clothing Store in Minturn. She was the head housekeeper at the Christiania Lodge in Vail, a job she held for 15 years. In 1985, the couple moved to Fruita. They celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary in the months before Rachel’s death.Tim Benway, 35As one family friend put it, if a man’s wealth could be measured by his amount of friends, then former Eagle County resident Tim Benway was a rich man. The pews were overflowing at the Vail Interfaith Chapel at a service to celebrate Benway’s life. Benway, a pilot who lived in the Steamboat Springs area, died in an air ambulance plane crash outside of Rawlins, Wyo., on Jan. 11. Benway, who was flying the plane, was the middle of three sons of Edwards residents Larry and Willie Benway. He was free-spirited and passionate, ornery and loving, friends said. Family friend and local doctor Phil Freedman recalled Benway’s first experience flying a plane. He was 11 and Freedman was with him. “When I see a kid with an infectious smile and a twinkle in his eye, I’ll think of Tim,” Freedman said. Vail, Colorado

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