Samuel Thomas McCormick

Former Durango resident Samuel Thomas McCormick died from complications of a respiratory infection Wednesday, April 11, 2012, at Mesa Manor Rehabilitation Center in Grand Junction. He was 82.

Known as “Sam” or “Sammy,” he was born to Stephen P. and Kathryn “Lilas” McCormick on Sept. 18, 1929, in Pagosa Springs. He suffered a brain injury at the age of 4 after becoming ill with an ear infection and high fever. Antibiotics were not available in 1933 when he was seriously ill.

“Sammy loved both the outdoors and being with people,” his family said

As a child, he worked alongside his father, uncles and older brother, Robert, on the family ranch in the Upper Piedra Valley. Later, as an adult, Mr. McCormick worked with his family on the family ranch in the Animas Valley, as well as helping his mother and friends with gardening and yard work.

“Sammy loved fishing and never turned down an offer for a fishing excursion,” his family said. “His tackle box was always ready to go.”

Mr. McCormick was a lifelong member of Animas Valley Grange No. 194, where he enjoyed posting, on each patriotic holiday, the American flag that had been on the casket of his father, a veteran of World War I. As a 50-year member of the grange, he earned his Golden Sheaf Certificate.

“Sammy loved his many friends in both Durango and Grand Junction, where he lived his final years near his niece Janelle,” his family said. “Sammy will be remembered for his kind heart and fun, loving way of being.”

Mr. McCormick is survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

Cremation has occurred. A celebration of life will be held in early July in Durango.