Roger Clifton Mead, 86, passed away at his home as he wished on Aug. 3, 2010, after fighting pneumonia for several months.
Roger was born in Grand Valley, Colo., on June 17, 1924, to Donn Theodore and Emma Bird (Reeves) Mead. Roger grew up on Beaver Creak, near Rifle, Colo., attending the old Beaver Creek School. He graduated from Rifle High School in 1941. He then went to Ross Business School in Grand Junction and began his career with D&RG Railroad as a clerk working in the old Union Depot.
Roger was drafted into the Army Air Corps, where he received training as a radio operator and attended gunnery school. He served as a gunner in a B-25 patrolling the East Coast during the war. In Aug. 1945, he was transferred to California and stationed at Salinas Army Air Force Base in central California on the way to Japan. Due to the Japanese surrender he was re-deployed to the East Coast and spent several months at Ft. Devens, Mass.
While there, he met Beverly Jean (Betty) Rattelle at the USO in Springfield, Mass., where he married her on Dec. 26, 1945. He was discharged in March, 1946, and he and his bride returned to make their home on Colorado’s western slope near his mother and three brothers and their growing families.
They made their home in Grand Junction, Colo., where he resumed working at D&RG Railroad. They raised their two sons, Marshall and Paul, involving them in sports and in a wonderfully supportive and fun-loving family.
In 1964, Roger was hired by Texasgulf, Inc. to manage the shipment of potash from Moab’s Cane Creek Mine in Utah. Sadly, his wife Betty died in the hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah on Feb. 3, 1967, from complications of open-heart surgery.
On June 9, 1968, Roger married Lucille Ann Rees in Moab at Grace Lutheran Church. Two years later, their daughter, Karen Marie was born. In 1971, Roger was transferred to Raleigh, N.C., as manager of customer service.
Roger was a great reader of history and developed a real appetite for being a tourist, taking his family to every Civil War battlefield, coastal lighthouse, and every national historic sight from New Orleans to Maine during the 14 years in Raleigh. He traveled home to Colorado every summer to see his family and keep the sense of family unity strong in everyone.
Roger retired to Grand Junction in 1985. He belonged to the Railroad Historic Society and helped the crew restore the cars at Cross Orchard. He continued his favorite recreation, golf, because “golf cures all aches.”
Roger was a man of great joy and spread laughter and love to all who knew him. He leaves us very happy to have had the best dad anyone could hope for.
Preceding him in death were his parents; his first wife, Betty; three brothers, Verner, Norman, and Loren; and a sister-in-law, Betty.
He is survived by his second wife, Lucille; his sons, Marshall (Gae) Mead of Highlands Ranch, Colo. and Paul (Marcy) Mead of Las Vegas, Nev.; his daughter, Karen Marie Mead of Grand Junction, Colo.; two sisters-in-law, Mary Jane Mead of Rifle, Colo., and Elma Mead of Hot Springs, Ark; and 10 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren plus nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the staffs at Community Hospital and Family Health West, Grand Junction’s Visiting Angels Homecare and Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado for the loving care given to Dad and family members during his final few months.
A viewing will be held on Friday, Aug. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Martin Mortuary. Funeral services will be held at Lutheran Church and School of Messiah at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 14, followed by burial in Rose Hill Cemetery, Rifle, Colo., at 12:30 p.m.
Memorials can be given to the Lutheran Church and School of Messiah, 840 North 11th Street, Grand Junction, CO 81501.
Martin Mortuary, 550 North Ave., Grand Junction, is in charge of arrangements.