Western Slope Obituaries 1-3-11 | TheFencePost.com

Western Slope Obituaries 1-3-11

Ralph “Butch” Wilburn Craig, 71, of Unaweep Canyon, Colo., passed away December 24, 2010 at Saint Mary’s Hospital.

Butch was born on March 6, 1939 in Mesa County, Colo., the son of the late Eula Belle (Dills) and Jerome Craig. He was the youngest of four siblings.

On March 25, 1969, he married Thelma Jo Altenbernd. Butch grew up in the Unaweep Canyon, Colo., area on the family ranches where he helped with the livestock operations but was most interested in running heavy equipment and trucking. He graduated from Gateway School in 1957 and went on to expand the heavy equipment operations under the company name of Unaweep C.C. & H. Exploration, Inc. By the early 1970s when his father passed away Butch took over the management of the company and went on to build forest service access roads, dams and other large earth moving operations. Some of which were the Steamboat Lake at Hahn’s Peak, Colo.; a large land development in South Park, Colo.; highways in Roswell and Zuni, N.M.; the State Line Road near Hog Park, Wyo.; the Long Draw Dam and Reservoir near Cameron Pass, Colo.; Forest Service Access Roads in Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests; the earth moving operations at the Sigma Coalmine in North Park, Colo.; and many other construction and mining projects. The people that knew him during those years will always remember his contagious enthusiasm, flying from project to project in his Cessna with Jim Stafford at the helm.

Despite his unfailing work ethic, Butch’s compassionate disposition was evident to everyone who crossed his path. When the energy boom ended in the early 1980s Butch and Jo settled back in Mesa County where they continued to work in construction and ranching refusing to retire. Butch loved to haul cattle in his semi truck. Their home at Gill Meadows was always open to all. He loved to entertain on the fourth of July and, ironically, Christmas Eve was his favorite day of the year with his family.

He is survived by his wife, Thelma Jo; his four daughters and their spouses, Joanna and Chuck Spaedt of Whitewater, Colo., Tona and Rick Goering of Fruita, Colo., Tina and Ron Stromstad of Corona, Calif., Deana and Tam Graham of Delta, Colo.; step-son and daughter-in-law, Ronnie and Mary Anne Shepard; step-daughter, Mandi Shepard and partner Michael P. Vale; 17 grandchildren and their spouses and nine great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Eula Belle and Jerome Craig Sr.; sisters, Martha Belle Hendrickson and Sonja Jane Cox; brother, Jerome (Son) Craig, Jr.; granddaughter, Adene Marie Graf and his great-grandson, Blake Spaedt.

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Memorial services were held December 29, 2010 at Martin Mortuary.

Ralph “Butch” Wilburn Craig, 71, of Unaweep Canyon, Colo., passed away December 24, 2010 at Saint Mary’s Hospital.

Butch was born on March 6, 1939 in Mesa County, Colo., the son of the late Eula Belle (Dills) and Jerome Craig. He was the youngest of four siblings.

On March 25, 1969, he married Thelma Jo Altenbernd. Butch grew up in the Unaweep Canyon, Colo., area on the family ranches where he helped with the livestock operations but was most interested in running heavy equipment and trucking. He graduated from Gateway School in 1957 and went on to expand the heavy equipment operations under the company name of Unaweep C.C. & H. Exploration, Inc. By the early 1970s when his father passed away Butch took over the management of the company and went on to build forest service access roads, dams and other large earth moving operations. Some of which were the Steamboat Lake at Hahn’s Peak, Colo.; a large land development in South Park, Colo.; highways in Roswell and Zuni, N.M.; the State Line Road near Hog Park, Wyo.; the Long Draw Dam and Reservoir near Cameron Pass, Colo.; Forest Service Access Roads in Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests; the earth moving operations at the Sigma Coalmine in North Park, Colo.; and many other construction and mining projects. The people that knew him during those years will always remember his contagious enthusiasm, flying from project to project in his Cessna with Jim Stafford at the helm.

Despite his unfailing work ethic, Butch’s compassionate disposition was evident to everyone who crossed his path. When the energy boom ended in the early 1980s Butch and Jo settled back in Mesa County where they continued to work in construction and ranching refusing to retire. Butch loved to haul cattle in his semi truck. Their home at Gill Meadows was always open to all. He loved to entertain on the fourth of July and, ironically, Christmas Eve was his favorite day of the year with his family.

He is survived by his wife, Thelma Jo; his four daughters and their spouses, Joanna and Chuck Spaedt of Whitewater, Colo., Tona and Rick Goering of Fruita, Colo., Tina and Ron Stromstad of Corona, Calif., Deana and Tam Graham of Delta, Colo.; step-son and daughter-in-law, Ronnie and Mary Anne Shepard; step-daughter, Mandi Shepard and partner Michael P. Vale; 17 grandchildren and their spouses and nine great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Eula Belle and Jerome Craig Sr.; sisters, Martha Belle Hendrickson and Sonja Jane Cox; brother, Jerome (Son) Craig, Jr.; granddaughter, Adene Marie Graf and his great-grandson, Blake Spaedt.

Memorial services were held December 29, 2010 at Martin Mortuary.

Ralph “Butch” Wilburn Craig, 71, of Unaweep Canyon, Colo., passed away December 24, 2010 at Saint Mary’s Hospital.

Butch was born on March 6, 1939 in Mesa County, Colo., the son of the late Eula Belle (Dills) and Jerome Craig. He was the youngest of four siblings.

On March 25, 1969, he married Thelma Jo Altenbernd. Butch grew up in the Unaweep Canyon, Colo., area on the family ranches where he helped with the livestock operations but was most interested in running heavy equipment and trucking. He graduated from Gateway School in 1957 and went on to expand the heavy equipment operations under the company name of Unaweep C.C. & H. Exploration, Inc. By the early 1970s when his father passed away Butch took over the management of the company and went on to build forest service access roads, dams and other large earth moving operations. Some of which were the Steamboat Lake at Hahn’s Peak, Colo.; a large land development in South Park, Colo.; highways in Roswell and Zuni, N.M.; the State Line Road near Hog Park, Wyo.; the Long Draw Dam and Reservoir near Cameron Pass, Colo.; Forest Service Access Roads in Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests; the earth moving operations at the Sigma Coalmine in North Park, Colo.; and many other construction and mining projects. The people that knew him during those years will always remember his contagious enthusiasm, flying from project to project in his Cessna with Jim Stafford at the helm.

Despite his unfailing work ethic, Butch’s compassionate disposition was evident to everyone who crossed his path. When the energy boom ended in the early 1980s Butch and Jo settled back in Mesa County where they continued to work in construction and ranching refusing to retire. Butch loved to haul cattle in his semi truck. Their home at Gill Meadows was always open to all. He loved to entertain on the fourth of July and, ironically, Christmas Eve was his favorite day of the year with his family.

He is survived by his wife, Thelma Jo; his four daughters and their spouses, Joanna and Chuck Spaedt of Whitewater, Colo., Tona and Rick Goering of Fruita, Colo., Tina and Ron Stromstad of Corona, Calif., Deana and Tam Graham of Delta, Colo.; step-son and daughter-in-law, Ronnie and Mary Anne Shepard; step-daughter, Mandi Shepard and partner Michael P. Vale; 17 grandchildren and their spouses and nine great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Eula Belle and Jerome Craig Sr.; sisters, Martha Belle Hendrickson and Sonja Jane Cox; brother, Jerome (Son) Craig, Jr.; granddaughter, Adene Marie Graf and his great-grandson, Blake Spaedt.

Memorial services were held December 29, 2010 at Martin Mortuary.