Paul Russell Erwin

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Longtime Durango resident Paul Russell Erwin died Friday July 20, 2012, at his home. He was 93.

Mr. Erwin was born to Paul and Mildred Coe Erwin on Jan. 9, 1919, in La Veta. In the 1920s, his family moved to Durango, where he enjoyed camping and fishing in the mountains.

After graduating from Durango High School in 1937, he went to work as a diesel machinist at the Western Colorado Power in Durango.

During World War II, Mr. Erwin served as a motor machinist 1st class and fireman 1st class in the Navy from 1941 through 1945. He was stationed on the USS Direct, later reclassified as PC-1594, which performed anti-submarine patrols and escort duty in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and the Bermuda Triangle area of the North Atlantic Ocean before participating in the invasion of southern France and patrolling the Mediterranean Sea.

On Jan. 10, 1942, he married Eva B. Roberts in Aztec.

Upon his return from the war, he worked at the Tacoma Power Plant until 1949, when he returned to work at the Western Colorado Power Plant. Mr. Erwin was with Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph, later Mountain Bell, for several years, spending one year stationed in Anchorage, Alaska. He also spent many years doing carpenter work and fine woodworking.

He enjoyed woodworking and carving, spending time with his dogs, fishing and hunting.

“He knew this country really well,” said his daughter-in-law, Theresa Erwin. “When he was a boy, he would disappear into the mountains for days with his dog.”

Mr. Erwin was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Eva B. Erwin; and son Dale Leslie Erwin.

He is survived by his son Gary Paul Erwin of Durango; two granddaughters; four great-grandchildren; and two nephews and a niece.

At his wish, cremation will occur, with burial occurring next to his wife and son at Crestview Cemetery in Durango. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Mercy, 1 Mercado St., Suite 270, Durango, CO 81301.