Castle Valley Comments
April 25, 2013
by Ron Drake
Apr 25, 2013 | 476 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There are probably not many people in the valley who remember Doug LaMunyon. He died earlier this month in Montrose, Colo., after a short illness due to natural causes associated with old age.

Doug and his wife, Ann, moved to 269 Pope Lane in January 1981 from Sylmar, Calif., where he had been employed for Bell Telephone for 34 years. They built a lovely home and enjoyed spacious gardens, orchards and farm animals on their property as they adapted to the country life.

In August of 1983, Doug was admitted to Allen Memorial Hospital for blood poisoning and was then transferred to the University of Utah Medical Center with a host of other major medical problems that threatened his life. He eventually returned home at the end of September to live another 30 years and to outlive all of his siblings. He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and with his wife, served a church mission to Sacramento, Calif. They moved to Montrose in September 2004 to be near their daughter and son-in-law.

I will treasure the many fond memories of Doug LaMunyon and feel blessed to have been associated with him since 1981. He was buried at the veterans cemetery in Grand Junction, the place of his birth.

***

This week marks my family’s 35th anniversary as residents of Castle Valley. It was April 24, 1978, that we arrived in the valley with all of our worldly possessions packed in a U-Haul truck and trailer. We had no job or prospect for one, no house to move into, only a vacant piece of property that we put a down payment on six months previous.

We lived in our camper over the summer while getting electricity brought in, building a septic system, having a well dug and building a small structure to live in before winter hit. We were all born in Southern California but we began to feel the squeeze from the population growth and traffic and wanted to return to a small community like we grew up in before the influx of so many into our hometown.

I can’t say that it has been easy living here in Castle Valley, but looking back, I can say that it was definitely worth it. I have had to have multiple jobs to make ends meet financially and Pat entered the workforce after the children were old enough to go to school to help with money to build a house. But the good part is that the kids had horses and barnyard animals to care for and hundreds of acres of open land to hike and explore and no television or phones to distract them. As a result, they turned out to be positive and productive members of their communities and I am very proud of them.

Being from Southern California, that first winter was a little shocking. It was similar to this past winter but colder and with a lot more snow. The old-timers in Moab that year said it was the worst winter in 50 years, with temperatures reaching minus 20 degrees several times and way below zero the rest of the winter. We went six weeks at below freezing and the snow kept building up without melting. We survived the winter all right but it was the spring runoff that had me thinking about moving out because of the massive amounts of mud everywhere.

At any rate, we endured the rough times and savored the good times and I’ve ended up living nearly half of my life in our beautiful Castle Valley.

***

During a meeting of the Castle Valley River Ranchos Property Owners’ Association 30 years ago this week, board chairman Ken DeVore read a letter from attorney Jerry Kinghorn about good news for some residents. The letter explained that some residents of the valley would be receiving a substantial refund from Utah Power and Light because of alleged improper charges. The refunds were the result of legal action initiated by the property owners association two years previous.

DeVore also announced that the association’s board meetings were to change meeting locations to the Castle Valley LDS Church instead of the fire station, where the meetings were held previously, and board member Don Tuft relayed information about discussions concerning the county road department assuming maintenance of Castle Valley Drive. He said that, during a conversation about the situation, the road department officials had indicated they were “quite willing to take over the road.”

That column 30 years ago also reported that the Castle Valley Irrigation Company selected Richard Jarman as the new ditch master and Andrew Riley as the assistant. Linda Jarman was chosen to serve as the group’s secretary. The Castle Valley Institute (now Day Star Academy) also began a two-day community garden class, which was held at the LDS Church. The free classes were taught by Dave Seibert.

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