Joseph E. "Joe" Melrose, 69, died Wednesday, July 2, 2014 in Durango. A funeral service was held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, July 7, 2014 at the Pine Valley Church of the Foursquare Gospel in Bayfield. The Rev. Stan Formby of the Durango Cowboy Church officiated. Burial was at Pine River Cemetery in Bayfield and a potluck reception was held at the church.
Mr. Melrose was born Aug. 18, 1944 in Durango, the son of Guy and Esther Melrose. He was a native-born, fourth-generation La Plata and Archuleta County resident. Joe was a direct descendant of those who first settled in the Allison and Pagosa Springs area. He grew up in Allison and attended schools in Allison and Ignacio.
At the young age of 8, Joe would commonly be trusted to help lead sheep herds to the high country grazing areas. At the age of 11 he was the primary sheep herder for his uncle, J.W. Tubbs, until the age of 17. He worked in construction, truck driving, logging, ranching, and heavy equipment operation his entire life. Joe also attended auctioneer school and worked for Treasure Auctions through the years. He was a pilot at a younger age and he loved to fly.
Joe loved to run heavy equipment, especially the crane, which he operated on the Animas-La Plata Water Project. He was heavily involved in church activities, especially "Saddle-Up," a children's ministry with the Durango Cowboy Church. He was a Colorado Mounted Ranger and an undersheriff for Cibola County N.M. Joe was well known for running the horse-drawn carriage outside of the Strater Hotel in Durango for many years.
Joe married Sheree Copeland on March 15, 2003 in Grants, N.M.
He is survived by his wife of Breen; his children, Guy Melrose of Ignacio, Kathleen Melrose of San Pedro, Calif., and Kristeen Melrose of Bayfield; a sister, Lanora Richter of Bayfield; stepsister Beth Calhoun of Rio Rancho, N.M.; grandchildren Jacob Melrose, Sean Melrose, Elicia Melrose, Skyler Melrose, Matthew Melrose, Heather Eash, and Justin Melrose; three great-grandchildren, Autumn, Kahlan and Charley Mae Melrose; step-children Karah Moccio of Galveston, Texas and Roxanne Mirabal of Farmington; and step-grandchildren: Roxian Rosel, Rubyan Rodriguez, Joshua Ruff, Shianne Wagner, Richard Lopez, Alex Flannery, Eric Lopez, and Vanessa Mirabal.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
"Joe was an authentic cowboy and never met a stranger," remembers his wife.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1800 E. 3rd Ave Suite 101, Durango, CO 81301.