The Fence Post obituary: William Franklin Rooks |

The Fence Post obituary: William Franklin Rooks

William Franklin Rooks, 90

July 27, 1927 – May 16, 2018

Buena Vista, Colo.

William Franklin (Bill) Rooks of Buena Vista passed away May 16, 2018, at his home with his son, Lee, and dog, Buddy, by his side.

Bill was born July 27, 1927, to Leonard and Fanny Rooks of Pratt, Kan. At the young age of 13, Bill followed his father’s footsteps and began working for the ATSF and Great Northern railroads where he worked up from brakeman to fireman, and finally to engineer.

At the end of World War II, Bill served stateside in the U.S. Army from 1944-1946. After his discharge he returned to Pratt and his employment with the ATSF. On his travels with the railroad, he met and later married Elaine Deahl, a rancher’s daughter, in La Junta, Colo., on Dec. 18, 1949.

Family life was extremely important to Bill and in 1962, following his lifetime dream, he and Elaine bought the ranch in Buena Vista, Colo., which allowed him to spend more time with his wife and three boys. The Rafter 26 Ranch was tremendously dear to Bill who managed it with his son, Lee, until his death.

As an active community member of Buena Vista, Bill served on the school board for 20 years and received the Colorado Rural School Board Member of the Year award, among many other awards. His dedication to the school community was recognized and Bill was honored to have the R31 school board room named after him.

For 20 years Bill was a member and president of Mountain BOCES, served on the boards of the Chaffee County Cattlemen’s Association and Soil Conservation District, and was a member of the Colorado and National Cattlemen’s Association.

Bill had a strong relationship with God. He attended church regularly and supported many Christian organizations.

Bill is preceded in death by Elaine (Deahl) Rooks, his wife of 58 years; his daughter, Lora Rooks; his brother, Jack; and sister, Cora Mabry.

Many loved ones grieve his passing and will remember him as a strong, firm, loving and kind man.

Surviving him are his sons Deahl (Patti) Rooks of Godley, Texas; Frank (Robin) Rooks of Buena Vista; Lee (Denise) Rooks of Buena Vista; Sister, Norma Roberts of Bloomington, Ill.; grandsons, Justin (Melissa), Tyler, Adam (Meaghan); Mike and Becky Downey of St. Cloud, Fla.; grandchildren, Crystal, Katie, Hallie, Elizabeth, Charlie, Alexy, Matti, Precious, Kyree, Haley, Ashley, Jordan, Heather, Keegan, Bubba, Chloe, and many more who knew and loved him as grandpa; and six great-grandchildren.

A service was held May 26, 2018, at Clearview Community Church. He was laid to rest next to his wife at Mt. Olivet Cemetery following the service.

Donations may be made to Wycliffe Bible Translators or Colorado Cattlemen’s Ag Land Trust.


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