Tivis Dean Walker, longtime Eagle County resident, 1920-2010
July 23, 2010
Tivis Dean Walker, 90, a longtime Eagle County resident, died Wednesday.
Dean was born to Tivis Aquilla Walker and Ethelyn May (Story) Walker on April 7, 1920, in Buffalo, Kan. He was the oldest of eight children. He had a twin sister, Almeda May, who died at the age of 10. A younger brother, John William, died as an infant. The other five sisters grew up with Dean. Each of Dean’s sisters have stories to tell about the many tricks and jokes he played on them.
When Dean was 2 years old, his family moved to a farm outside of Olathe. When Dean was 13, his father died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving Dean with many responsibilities. In high school, Dean was captain of his football team for two years running. He was also president of the student council and his senior class. His other activities included working at the Olathe grocery store, where he learned the meat-cutting trade.
After graduating from high school, he continued working at the grocery store until he was drafted into the Army in World War II. There, he served in the European theater in Italy, Northern Africa and Austria.
When the war ended, Dean came home to Olathe and worked again as a meat cutter. In 1946, Dean married Lois Stevenson, a native of Gypsum. They met in Sunday School while Lois was teaching school in Olathe. The couple lived in Grand Junction for the next few years, where Dean worked as a meat cutter for Safeway and City Market. In between meat cutting, Dean and Lois spent a summer herding sheep on the Stevenson ranch on Cottonwood Pass. After a year with the sheep, Dean went back to meat cutting. Then, for a short time, he worked for Climax Uranium in Grand Junction.
In 1954, Dean and Lois, along with their two children, Karen and Larry, moved to the Gypsum Valley, where Dean spent the next 50 years ranching. In 1997, the Eagle County Soil Conservation District named Dean the conservationist of the year in recognition of his outstanding stewardship of his 1,800-acre ranch on Cottonwood Pass.
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Over the years, Dean volunteered his time and served as a member of the Soil Conservation board, Federal Farm Loan committee and draft board. He was also a 4-H club livestock leader.
Dean faithfully attended church all his years, beginning with Baptist churches in Olathe and then Grand Junction and ending with the Methodist Church in Gypsum. He loved to sing and sang in many church choirs, as well as for weddings and funerals. He loved the old hymns, but said he “didn’t much care for that modern music.”
Dean died quietly in his home at the age of 90 after battling Alzheimer’s for the past few years. He is now home in heaven, having trusted Christ as his savior at the age of 8.
Dean was preceded in death by his mother, father, twin sister and baby brother. Another sister, Evelyn Bear, died in 2003.
Dean is survived by his wife, Lois Walker, son Larry Walker, and daughter Karen Wood, all of Gypsum. He has five grandchildren and four great-granddaughters. They are as follows: Joe (Jamie) Wood and children Deana and Leah of Pierre, S.D., Jenny Wood and Jared Wood of Gypsum, Josh (Kasey) Wood and children Columbine and Krisha of Cottonwood Pass and Dani Walker of Gypsum. Four of his six sisters are still living. They include Ellen Rose Scanlon of Monte Vista, Imogene Lewis of Montrose, Betty White of Grand Junction, and LaVeta Moreland of Westminster. Also surviving Dean are many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
Dean loved his family, friends, horses, cattle and ranching. He will be remembered for his honesty, kindness and sense of humor. He will be sadly missed by his family and friends.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Eagle Baptist Church located at 14600 Highway 6. Interment will follow at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Gypsum.