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March 18, 2013
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Western Slope Obituaries 3-18-13


Dr. John N. Withers

Dr. John N. Withers, 79, a part-time Durango, Colo., resident, passed away March 3, 2013 in Kihei, Hawaii, while snorkeling.

He was born in Gary, Ind., on February 6, 1934, to Jack and Lucile Withers. The family later homesteaded between Mancos, Colo., and Dolores, Colo., part of which became Summit Lake. His father, Jack Withers had long-standing connections with the area, having graduated from Mancos High School in 1918.

The family farmed pinto beans for the Army during World War I, and lived in a railroad boxcar during the summers. The family eventually lost the contract and the land, and moved to the Denver, Colo., area.

Dr. Withers attended the University of Colorado School of Medicine from 1955 to his graduation in 1959. He married his first wife, Lois Johnson Sax, while in medical school, but the couple later divorced when he went to Vietnam. Dr. Withers did his general surgical residency at Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii, from 1960 to 1964. He also was chief of general surgery at MacDonald Army Hospital, Ft. Eustis, Va.; commanding officer of the 17th Field Hospital in Saigon, Vietnam, from 1966 to 1967. He was chief of general surgery at Ft. Carson Army Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colo.; was in general surgical practice on Maui, Hawaii, from 1968-1995, and chief of surgery and chief of staff at Maui Memorial Hospital. He practiced general surgery in Durango, Colo., from 1995-2011.

He also served with the Indian Health Service and worked with Native American tribes in Arizona, Oklahoma and Montana.

Dr. Withers became a board-certified surgeon with the American Board of Surgery 1965 and held memberships in the American College of Surgeons, American Hernia Society, American Medical Association, La Plata Medical Society, and the Colorado Medical Society.

On June 17, 1972, he married, Carole Royds, in Kaupakalua, Maui. Carole Withers now runs Durango Wildlife Rehab Center. The couple moved to Durango, Colo., in 1995.

He earned honors in college as Phi Beta Kappa, as well as the U.S. Army’s Legion of Merit for services in Vietnam 1967 and Hawaii’s Outstanding Physician of the Year in 1983.

Dr. Withers served as chairman of La Plata County chapter of the American Cancer Society and president of La Plata Medical Society. He was an avid fly fisherman and had a group of Durango-area friends called the “Geezers” who met weekly.

Dr. Withers wrote a medical column for the Durango Herald from the mid-1990s to 2005, and had written a column for The Maui News as well. He retired from medicine in 2011.

Carole Withers said her husband swam every day, and the waters in front of the house are rife with whales and turtles this time of year. Last week, while sea kayaking he bumped into a humpback whale and calf.

He is survived by his wife Carole of Maui, Hawaii, and Durango, Colo.; sons Nathan of Albuquerque, N.M., and Noel of Maui, Hawaii; daughters Jenny Greenwood of Spokane, Wash., Debra Johnson of Seattle, Wash., and “hanai” daughter Sara Moore of Kona, Hawaii; and three grandchildren.

A private memorial service was held March 10, 2013 in Hawaii. A remembrance will be conducted in Durango, Colo. in the spring.

He will be cremated. ❖

Edward Tripler Schmalz

Edward Tripler Schmalz, 73, of Delta, Colo., passed away March 8, 2013, at Colorow Care Center in Olathe, Colo.

He was born to Edward and Mary (Tripler) Schmalz on September 8, 1939, in Delta, Colo.

He spent his childhood in Delta, Colo., and Montrose, Colo. Edward graduated from Olathe High School with the class of 1957.

On June 2, 1973, Edward married Terri Thul in Delta, Colo. To this union, a son and daughter were born. The couple made their home and raised their family in Delta, Colo. Edward and Terri would have celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this year. Terri survives.

Edward, a retired farmer, enjoyed spending time outdoors whether he was in the mountains, or watching wildlife. He was an avid sports fan who enjoyed watching football and basketball. Above all, he was a devoted husband and loving father and grandfather.

Edward was a member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Delta, Colo.

He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Terri Schmalz of Delta, Colo.; one son, Daniel (Abbey) Schmalz of Grand Junction, Colo.; one daughter, Melissa (Tyler) McClure of Grand Junction, Colo.; one brother, Steve (Marilyn) Schmalz of Delta, Colo.; and two sisters, Shirley (Eddie) Appelhanz of Montrose, Colo.; and Kathy (Andy) Gray of Woodland Park, Colo.; four grandchildren, Nathan and Alexandria McClure, and Noah and Olivia Schmalz.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Mary Schmalz.

Memorial services were held March 15, 2013, at St. Michael’s Catholic Church.

Inurnment followed at Delta City Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made in Edward’s memory to Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado, P.O. Box 24, Delta, Colo., 81416.

View the internet obituary and sign the online guest registry at www.TaylorFuneralService.com.

Mardell Lois (Mardesen) Beers

Mardell Lois Beers, 79, of Grand Junction, Colo., passed away March 3, 2013, with her family by her side.

She was born January 13, 1934, in Audubon County, Iowa, to Merlyn and Rose (Jessen) Mardesen. Third of four children, she attended school and grew up on the family farm in Audubon County, Iowa.

She married the love of her life, Warren Edward Beers, on December 26, 1953, in Elkhorn, Iowa. They had two sons, Garth Warren Beers and Grant Merlyn Beers. Warren’s career as a California State Park Ranger had them moving up and down the state to parks in places like Humboldt Redwoods, San Clemente State Beach, Lake Tahoe, Donner Memorial State Park and others.

Mardell was the first policewoman writing parking tickets in Eureka, Calif., and also worked as a credit manager and career counselor. Mardell and Warren retired to Grand Junction, Colo., in 1991.

Mardell volunteered for several organizations over the years including the Cub Scouts, RSVP, Museum of Western Colorado, Board Member of Foster Grandparents, Deacon of Covenant Presbyterian Church and Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado.

Mardell’s first interest was always family and friends, she also loved camping and fishing and travel with her husband, wildflowers, reading and painting. Bridge and BUNCO with friends was also one of her delights.

She is survived by her husband, Warren; two sons, Garth Beers (Carlene) of Los Alamos, N.M., and Grant Beers (Carol) of San Clemente, Calif.; two grandchildren, Garett Beers of Kingston, Wash., and Diane Beers of Berthoud, Colo.; and two sisters, Verla Travis of Grand Junction, Colo., and Wilma Nicolaisen of Colorado Springs, Colo.

Memorial services were held March 8, 2013 at First Presbyterian Church of Grand Junction, Colo.

Inurnment was at Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado, 309 B N. 12th Street, Grand Junction, Colo., 81506. ❖




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The Fence Post Updated Oct 17, 2013 09:41AM Published May 29, 2013 11:16AM Copyright 2013 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.