Ignacio resident Donald L. Rea died suddenly Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, at his home. He was 69.
Mr. Rea was born to Ralph Emerson and Cathlene G. Rea on Feb. 27, 1943, in Durango. One of 17 children, he grew up on the family ranch southeast of the Durango-La Plata County Airport and attended the Oxford one-room schoolhouse until the fourth grade, when he transferred to the Ignacio School District. Mr. Rea graduated from Ignacio High School in 1961.
After enlisting in the Navy, he was stationed briefly in Beeville, Texas, with his older brother Rex Rea, before being assigned to Naval Intelligence in Okinawa, Japan.
On July 12, 1966, he married Carmen K. Preston in Ignacio.
Mr. Rea worked briefly for Wiseman’s Hardware in Ignacio, then went to work with his brother Ronald Rea for the Ignacio Shur-Valu. He worked there for 26 years and had been in charge of the meat department for most of that time. Mr. Rea retired after working for Albertsons for seven years, most of which was as department manager.
He was an active member of Durango Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks Lodge 507, serving a term as trustee. Mr. Rea was also a member of American Legion Post 28 in Durango.
An avid outdoorsman, he loved fishing, hunting, boating and spending time with family and friends. His favorite place was his property at Navajo Reservoir overlooking Sambrito Creek.
“Master of a practical joke or prank telephone call, Donald loved telling wild stories,” his family said, “and never let the truth get in the way of good entertainment.”
Mr. Rea is survived by his wife of 46 years, Carmen Rea, of Ignacio; sons Preston Rea and Jeffrey Rea, both of Ignacio; brothers Earl Rea of Ignacio, Rex Rea of Arvada and Chet Warner of Perry, Utah; sisters Georgie Dittmar and Linda Searcy, both of Durango, Peggy Leyshon of Ignacio, Mary Goeglein of Farmington, Sandra Walker of Naturita and Shirley Sutherlin of Middle Mesa, N.M.; four grandchildren; two great-granddaughters; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family members.
A celebration of life will be held at about 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at his property at Navajo Lake. Turn south in Arboles from Colorado Highway 151 onto Archuleta County Road 975 and follow the signs. Supper will be served.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Elks’ Scholarship Fund, 901 East Second Ave., Durango, CO 81301.