Patrick Luis Cugnini

Cugnini Enlarge photo


Lifelong Durango resident Patrick Luis Cugnini died Friday, May 4, 2012, at his home. He was 84.

Known as “Pat,” he was born to Mike and Mary Cugnini on June 21, 1927, at the family home in Durango. He was one of five children.

Mr. Cugnini attended the Thompson and Cottonwood schools on the Florida Mesa through eighth grade, and he graduated from the Reisch American Auctioneer School in 1945.

On Feb. 29, 1972, he married Ramona J. Harris in Las Vegas.

Ranching and farming in Durango, Pagosa Springs and Navajo Agricultural Products Industry near Bloomfield, N.M., were his lifelong occupations.

He auctioneered for the La Plata County Fair Sale for 40 years. Mr. Cugnini started managing Basin Livestock in 1951 and continued in that position for many years. In 1980 he started Hi Country Auction, which is still in business.

Mr. Cugnini was a charter member of the La Plata Cattlemen’s Association and was named Cattleman of the Year in 1975.

In 1966, when the Spanish Trail Fiesta was going to disband, Mr. Cugnini led the rescue of what became Navajo Trails Fiesta, now known as Fiesta Days, and ran it for many years. In 2010, he was named a grand marshal of the Fiesta Days parade for its 75th anniversary because of his contributions to its success.

He had lived in his home on East Third Avenue since 1967.

Breeding and racing his thoroughbred horses was his passion, his family said. He match raced horses as a young man and graduated into team roping and calf roping later in life. His family remembers him instigating foot races, because he happened to be very fast.

“Pat was always up for a game of pitch at the old Basin Pack, and always ready to make a wager on anything,” his family said. “One of his favorite expressions was, ‘If you’re going to do it, do it right.’”

Mr. Cugnini is survived by his wife of 40 years, Ramona Cugnini, of Durango; sons Steve Cugnini of Durango and Duane Cugnini of La Plata, N.M.; daughter, Vicky Cugnini, of Farmington; sister, Annie Jameson, of Durango; four grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews in the Zellitti, Montonati and Jameson families.

A celebration of life will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, May 21, 2012, at the Ridgewood Events Center, north of the Breen sale barn at mile marker 16 on Colorado Highway 140.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Hospice of Mercy, 1 Mercado St., Suite 270, Durango, CO 81301.