Back to: Obituaries
January 20, 2014
Follow Obituaries

Rocky Mountain Obits 1-20-14

Jim Berger

Jim Berger, 85, of Saratoga, Wyo., passed away January 5, 2014, at his home.

Jim lived 72 years in Wyoming, after moving from his childhood home in New Jersey in 1941 at age 13. He attended high school in Cheyenne, finishing in three years, while working as a stable hand and wrangling horses. He attended the University of Wyoming, where he served as president of the UW Rodeo Club and helped organize the Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. He was a member of the Alpha Zeta agricultural honor fraternity. During his college years, he worked on several area ranches, which helped to shape his future. Jim received his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from UW in 1949.

In June, 1949, Jim married Marian Aden of Saratoga, Wyo. They remained partners in ranching and in life for over 64 years. After a short time in Lander, where Jim taught farming to war veterans, they settled in the Saratoga valley.

In 1950, they leased the Gould Ranch on the North Platte River, east of Saratoga. In 1954, they purchased the Kingman Ranch, west of Saratoga, on North Spring Creek. They traded in 1957 for the Aden Ranch on South Spring Creek, which remains part of the Berger Ranch. Through the years, they expanded the ranch to include several additional ranches on North Spring Creek, stretching from Highway 130, south of Saratoga, to the Medicine Bow National Forest boundary to the west. In addition to the Berger Ranch operation, which he owned and operated, Jim managed Saratoga valley ranches for outside owners. As the extent of lands under his management grew from the dry pastures of the continental divide west of Saratoga to the irrigated foothills west of Encampment, he earned his private pilot’s license and flew his airplane, managing from the sky.

Jim enjoyed his work with cattle, horseback riding, grass and hay production and the entirety of the ranching life. His greatest passion was irrigation.

Beginning early in his career, Jim accepted an expanding role in community and livestock industry affairs. Jim was recognized in 1959 as the outstanding young rancher of Carbon County. He became president of the Encampment-Saratoga Angus Association in 1961. In 1962, he was elected President of the Carbon County Farm Bureau. He was appointed to the Governor’s Committee on Education in 1964. Also in 1964, he ran as a candidate for Carbon County Commissioner. Jim served as Chairman of the Carbon County Republican Party. Perhaps his greatest service came with his position as president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association from 1985 to 1987. He remained very active in the work of WSGA and its committees and supporting foundation throughout his career. In addition, he did committee work for the National Cattlemen’s Association, including the controversial study of the livestock futures trading contracts of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to make them workable for all segments of the industry, and chairing the Cow/Calf Stocker Council in 1988 and served later on the foreign trade committee. He served from 1988 to 1990 on the executive committee of the National Cattlemen’s Association. Always, he focused on issues regarding Wyoming water, and actively helped with the work of the Upper North Platte River Water Users Association.

Through the years, Jim and Marian built a quality herd of Angus cattle, using herd selection, performance testing and range renovation techniques. Their success in these endeavors earned them repeated recognition in many regional publications.

Jim was an avid hunter and outdoorsman. In his later years, he became a regular golfer. This led to his active involvement in Old Baldy Club, where he served on the Board of Directors from 2006 through 2010. Jim was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Saratoga.

Jim is survived by his wife Marian and three children, Robert George (Rosie) Berger of Big Horn, Wyo., Jack Aden (Diana) Berger of Saratoga, Wyo., and Jamie Lynn (Jimmy) Campbell of Saratoga, Wyo. He was survived also by seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

He was predeceased by one infant child and by his parents George and Gertrude Berger of Saratoga.

Services were held January 8, 2014, at the Valley Chapel at the Saratoga Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Wyoming Stock Growers Association or the American Heart Association. ❖

James W. “Jim” Read

James W. “Jim” Read, 92, of Sterling, Colo., passed away January 7, 2014, in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Jim was born March 3, 1921, in his parents’ home in East Dorset, Vt., the youngest of five children.

He attended two years of high school, and then attended the Vermont School of Agriculture, where he graduated valedictorian of his class in 1939.

On July 2, 1942, he married Alice Welch of Merrimack, N.H. He served his country during World War II in the U.S. Army Air Force as an air craft mechanic/instructor and a B-24 bomber crew chief in Casper, Wyo.

After the war he went to work as a dairy herdsman for the University of Wyoming. He was encouraged to enroll as a student at the University of Wyoming, and in 1953 graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture.

In August of 1956 he accepted the position of County Extension Agent in Cheyenne County. There was a severe grasshopper infestation during that time and Jim started Colorado’s first countywide grasshopper campaign.

After two years he transferred to Lamar and stayed there for five years. There he started the All American Swine Show, a brucellosis testing program, and worked to improve grain sorghum varieties in Prowers County.

In December of 1963, he moved to Sterling, where he served as county agent of Logan County for 20 years. Here he worked to improve grain variates and better production methods specifically for Logan and surrounding counties. He also helped to start the Great Western Beef Expo and Sugar Beet Days. He was actively involved in the county and state fairs and served as swine superintendent of the Colorado State Fair for many years. In 1970 he took a sabbatical leave to get his Masters of Education degree at Colorado State University.

In 1983, Jim retired from extension work. He became involved in other activities in the community, such as serving on the Northeastern Junior College board of directors for 16 years and serving one term as Logan County Commissioner.

The culmination of his many awards and recognitions resulted in Jim being selected to the Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2010.

Jim is survived by his wife, Alice; a daughter, Betty King and husband Kenneth; a son, John and wife Barbara; four grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by two sisters and two brothers; and his parents, Frank V. Read and Clara (Tanner) Read.

Funeral services were held January 13, 2014, at Chaney-Reager in Sterling, Colo. Interment took place at Riverside Cemetery in Sterling, Colo.

Memorials may be made to the Northeastern Junior College Foundation to benefit the NJC agricultural department, 100 College Ave., Sterling, Colo.,  80751. ❖

Ruben Harold Vigil

Ruben Harold Vigil, 73, of Thornton, Colo., passed away January 8, 2014, due to heart failure.

Ruben was born to Ruben P. Vigil and Ruby (Cisneros) Vigil in Fort Morgan, Colo., in the year of 1941.

The family moved to Padroni, Colo., where Ruben attended and graduated from Padroni High School in 1959.

While living in Padroni, Ruben was instrumental on the Vigil Dairy Farm. By the age of 12 he was operating all farm equipment and milking the cows. He later moved to Denver, Colo., and attended and graduated from Barnes Business College. After college Ruben went to work for CFL as a dispatcher for a number of years. He then started his own Mexican food delivery business (Tamales De Denver) until his passing.

While in Denver, Ruben also got married and raised two children.

He is survived by his mother Ruby of Brighton, Colo. Brothers Robert of Brighton, Colo., Harry of Roggen, Colo., Nick of Thornton, Colo., Eugene (Red) of Brighton, Colo. Sisters Pauline Vasquez of Brighton, Colo., Susan Montoya of Thornton, Colo., Sarah of Brighton, Colo., and Laura of Denver, Colo. Four grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Ruben was preceded in death by his father Ruben and sister Mabel Bailey.

Services will be held January 18, 2014 at Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1955 Jennifer Court, Brighton, Colo. ❖

Grace Anne (Zehnder) Cundall

Grace Anne (Zehnder) Cundall, 88, of Brighton Colo., passed away January 4, 2014 at her home.

She was born February 25, 1925 to Rudolph Robert Zehnder Sr. and Caroline Susanna (Scheoch) Zehnder at the family homestead west of Standley Lake near Arvada, Colo.

Grace attended Wagner Elementary School in Jefferson County and graduated from Holy Family High School in Denver, Colo., in 1942.

Grace Anne worked at St. Anthony’s (Central) hospital, Denver, Colo., and the Arvada Dime Store in Arvada, Colo., before being employed by Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company later known as Mountain Bell. She continued to work for Mountain Bell until she married Howard Frederick Cundall on April 20, 1947 at Shrine of St. Anne’s Catholic Church. To this union four daughters were born: Margaret Burnett (Jerry) Hereford, Colo., Paula Tietmeyer (Scott) Grover, Colo., Virginia Halligan (Bill) Bushnell, Neb., and Gloria Cundall (Peter Starin, deceased) Brighton, Colo. Grace and Howard were very proud of their daughters, their families, and their accomplishments.

Grace retired from Mountain Bell in March, 1986 after 30 years of employment only taking a few years away while the girls were small. After her retirement Grace remained active helping Howard on the family farm. She spent countless hours working on the families’ genealogy, scrapbooking, embroidering and working jigsaw puzzles. She loved the outdoors and traveling. One of her traveling highlights in her later years was being able to travel to Austria and Switzerland in 2009 where she visited her family’s historical homestead in Sattel Switzerland.

She was an active supporter and project leader of the Good-Luck 4-H Club enjoying the members and their projects. Grace and Howard both devoted much of their lives enriching the lives of those around them. They were outstanding role models and will continue to influence the lives of those they touched. But above all, the family and the time spent with the family was most important to Grace.

Grace is survived by her four daughters and their families; six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, sister, Ardella Stake and numerous nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Howard Cundall, her parents, brother, Rudolph Robert Zehnder, Jr. and sister Elizabeth Bachman.

Services were held January 10, 2014 at Shrine of St. Anne Catholic Church in Arvada, Colo. Interment took place at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Good-Luck 4-H Club scholarship fund or the charity of your choice. ❖


Explore Related Articles

Trending in: Obituaries

Trending Sitewide

The Fence Post Updated Jan 20, 2014 11:42AM Published Mar 31, 2014 09:44AM Copyright 2014 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.