John Ralph Walter
John “Jack” Ralph Walter, 84, of La Junta, passed away April 14, 2014 at his residence.
Jack was born in La Junta on December 27, 1929, son of the late Reuben James and Pearl (Clinger) Walter. One of 10 children, Jack entered the world at a time of little prosperity in America, during the depression.
Jack had been a cowboy, trucker and rancher all his life. He began breaking colts at age 12. At age 14, he made his first claim to fame at the La Junta Kids Rodeo by earning the title of Top Hand. In 1948, he took third place in amateur bronc riding at Cheyenne, and in 1950, he won the all-around title at Eads by taking first place in saddle bronc, bareback bronc riding and bulldogging. During this same time, Jack was driving a truck and hauling livestock for ranchers, but continued with his love of rodeo.
In 1951, Jack took a four year vacation from trucking and rodeos and joined the Navy. He served on a destroyer in the Korean War as Torpedoman’s Mate Third Class. He was Honorably Discharged from the service in 1954, and returned to La Junta to his truck driving.
Jack married Shirley Blakney on January 23, 1957, and they soon after started a beautiful family of three rowdy and ornery boys. In 1963 they purchased a trucking business from his father-in-law, John Blakney, and began operating the Jack Walter Trucking Company.
Jack and Shirley continued with the trucking business, as well as his interest in rodeo. This time, however, his interest and love for rodeo was through his three boys. He was actively involved with the boys in their rodeo, including serving as a pick-up man for several years. In fact, when his youngest son, Jim won the Colorado State High School finals in 1981, Jack hazed for him the entire year. He was not only Jim’s hazer, but his biggest fan. The family traveled all over Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming, participating in the Little Britches Rodeo.
Jack and Shirley sold the trucking business in 1977, and he continued as a self-employed Rancher/Cattleman and cowboy in the La Junta and Higbee Valley for the remainder of his life. He enjoyed working cattle, horses, and spending time with his grandkids. He instilled within his grandkids, who endearingly called him “Poppy,” his love for cattle and riding horses. As retirement became more visible to Jack, he purchased a boat, and enjoyed taking his boys and grandchildren on fishing trips.
At the end of a long and honorable life, Jack could be found riding in his little green Ford Ranger, heading to Higbee to remain involved in his family’s farming and ranching operation. You could also find him buying roses or splitting a hamburger with his wife at the Hogsbreath. And, ever the devoted cattleman, he never missed a Tuesday cattle sale.
He is survived by his wife, Shirley Blakney Walter of the family home; children, Mike (Debbie) of Olney Springs, Colo., Alan and Family of Los Angeles, Calif., and Jim and Family of Higbee, Colo.; sisters, Mary Jane Hesslink of Ordway, Colo., and Edith (Lloyd) Hall of Delhi, Colo.; brothers, Rev. William Walter of Olathe, Kan., and Tom (Glenna) Walter of Rocky Ford, Colo.; 12 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents, son William “Billy”, three brothers, Grant, Bob and Alan Walter; two sisters, Ruth Rafferty and Wanda Walter.
Services were held April 17, 2014 at the First Church of the Nazarene Church in La Junta, Colo. Interment followed at the Fairview Cemetery. ❖
Truth N. Colvard
Truth N. Colvard, 99, passed away May 8, 2014.
She was born August 26, 1914, near Douglas Okla., daughter of Freemont and Minnie Bayor.
Raised on a wheat farm, Truth enjoyed the outdoors throughout her life.
During the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s, Truth attended CSC at Edmond, Okla. She financed her college education by teaching every other year in the rural school that she attended growing up.
Truth married Ralph B. Colvard in 1940. Following the oil boom first to Indiana, they had two children, Gene and Joyce. Then on to Montana where Nancy and Dorita were born. Finally, a move to Sterling, Colo., became a permanent home.
Truth will be remembered in Sterling as a gifted and giving teacher at Sexton and Pantall (Stevens) Elementary schools for 30 years. She helped many students prepare for spelling bees and instilled an appreciation of art. After retiring she tutored adults in the Laubach Literacy program.
Truth was a member of the First Baptist Church and was involved in its many activities over the years. The church was her home away from home and she was instrumental in the plans for the new church built in the mid 1970s.
After retirement Truth was able to enjoy the great outdoors even more, fishing in the Rockies with her son Gene. She loved to golf at Riverside, hiked in the Southwest and continued her education by attending Edlerhostle classes in several states. She also loved to watch and keep scorecards for baseball, whether it was local or professional.
Truth was a long time member of Alpha Delta Kappa, teacher sorority, AAUW (American Asso. of University Women), and PEO, Philanthropic Education Organization, promoting educational opportunities for women.
Truth is survived by her daughters Joyce Douglas, Nancy Pew, and Dorita Brady. Truth had close relationships with her eight grandchildren, Geoff and Scot Lucas, Bryan and Brent Colvard, Walker and Nikolas Pew, Stacy and Tyler Brady. Great joy lit her face when she spent time with her eight great-grandchildren.
Preceded in death by her brother Bob and his wife Nadine, husband Ralph, son Gene and his wife Wanda Kay.
Services were held May 13, 2014 at Ward Road Baptist Church in Arvada, Colo.
Memorial contributions can be made to Truth’s favorite charity, Navajo Missions, P.O. Box 1230, Farmington, N.M., 87499. ❖
Gerald Oren Sievers
Gerald (Shorty) Oren Sievers, 86, passed away on May 2, 2014 in Wray, Colo.
He was born April 9, 1928, in Parks, Neb. Shorty was one of the two sons born to Oren Mark Sievers and Stella Maybell Singley Sievers.
Shorty married Alvina Arleen Calkins on June 3, 1954, and to this marriage four children were raised, Randall LeRoy, Mark Duane, Cindy Lou and LeLand Lester. Shorty was Grandpa, Great Grandpa and Step Grandpa to several.
Gerald was well known in Wray, Colo., and in several areas where he had lived in his past years. He was always busy with different clubs and organizations.
Shorty had spent 18 years working for the Colorado Game, Fish and Parks Division of Wildlife which he enjoyed. Shorty always had a hand in everything and was a big dreamer that was always coming up with different things to build and how to make things better, and if he had the chance to make an extra dollar with improving something he would. Shorty was also known by the community as the guy they could always call if they had something that they needed hauled. “Dad would tackle any load with his one ton pick-up and trailer whether it was tied down or not he would head down the road.”
Gerald was a very active member of the Wray Masonic Lodge No. 71, and the Akron Masonic Lodge No. 26. In 2013 Gerald received his 50 year recognition pin from Lodge No. 71. Through the Masons and the Shriners Shorty earned his Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, his Knights of the York Cross of Honor, The Colorado York Rite of Freemasonry, The Royal Order of Scotland, The Sterling Commandery Number 35 Knights of Templar and the Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees. Gerald had held several offices in his years with the Mason’s and held this organization dear to his heart. Most people in surrounding counties knew Shorty as the gentleman with the miniature semi that he ran in every parade that he could make it to with the Shriners. Gerald was also a life time member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars for his time that he spent in the Korean War. His other passion was the Boy Scouts of America which he has been an active member for several years and had just received a plaque at the 2014 Scout Show for being one of the original members that organized the show 25 years ago. He was known to always be there to help the Troops, Crews or Leaders whenever needed. Gerald’s son’s Randall, Mark and Leland, Grandsons Casey and RJ Sievers and Great Grandsons Kyle Sievers, and Wyett and Wade Martin have followed in his path with his love for scouting.
Shorty is survived by his children, Randall Sievers, Mark Sievers and wife, Shawnna, Cindy Knight, Leland Sievers and wife, Jewell; grandchildren, great-grandchildren, step-grandchildren and step great-grandchildren and many other family and friends.
Preceding him in death were his parents, his wife, Alvina, and brother, Carl Sievers.
A funeral service was held May 8, 2014, at the Spellman-Schmidt Funeral Home in Wray, Colo.
Memorials may be given to the Wray Scouting Foundation, c/o Chester Zwirn, 24568 Co. Rd. FF, Wray, Colo., 80758. ❖