Donald Leonard Archuleta

Archuleta Enlarge photo


Longtime Durango resident Donald Leonard Archuleta died July 25, 2012, at his home in Durango. He was 65.

Mr. Archuleta was born Nov. 1, 1946, in what is now the Gable House on East Fifth Avenue. He was adopted shortly after by Thomas M. and Alicia Archuleta.

Known as “Leonard” to his family, he attended grade school and high school in Bayfield, graduating in 1964.

Mr. Archuleta enlisted in the Army in December 1964. He was stationed in Stuttgart, Germany, where he worked as a personnel and finance specialist, and received an honorable discharge with E-4 rank in 1967.

While in Germany, Mr. Archuleta met his first wife, Maria Klein, with whom he had two daughters. Ms. Klein died in 1971 while the couple was living in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Mr. Archuleta was married to Maria Spero on Aug. 22, 2009, after a 20-year courtship.

After leaving the Army, Mr. Archuleta was a case worker for the La Plata County Department of Social Services for eight years. He also held various jobs in the survey, construction and maintenance fields, and worked for 10 years for local printing companies Print Connection and ColorQuest Graphics Inc. More recently he was a courier for the city of Durango, delivering mail and supplies to various departments.

Mr. Archuleta was an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 4031 in Durango. He was proud to be on “flag duty” for the 2012 Fourth of July parade, putting up and taking down American flags in his 1981 Chevrolet El Camino.

Mr. Archuleta enjoyed music. He also enjoyed gardening and telling jokes.

He possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of sports and music trivia, and was an avid supporter of the Fort Lewis College women’s basketball team, Colorado Rockies and Oakland Raiders.

For 13 years, Mr. Archuleta also served as primary caregiver for his mother, Alicia Archuleta, who suffered a stroke in 1995.

Mr. Archuleta is preceded in death by his first wife, Maria Klein, in 1971.

He is survived by his wife Maria Spero of Durango; daughters Lauren Browning of Bronxville, N.Y., and Erin Archuleta of White Plains, N.Y.; adopted brother Thomas A. Archuleta, Sr. of Richmond, Ky; half-brother Cecil Parker of Corpus Cristi, Texas; two grandchildren; an aunt, uncle, nephew and numerous nieces and cousins.

Cremation has occurred. A memorial service will be held 5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 17, 2012, at the VFW Post No. 4031, 1550 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the VFW Post No. 4031 for the dedication of a plaque in Rotary Park.