Sig Sporleder “graduates”
HUERFANO- Charles Siegfried Sporleder Jr., 88, passed away May 12, 2010 surrounded by his family. The term, “graduate” is a gentle family joke, that a loved one has completed all their studies in this life, and has graduated on to heaven. It is significant that May 12 was his beloved wife’s birthday to whom he remained devoted in the 22 years since her death.
Sig was born December 19, 1921 in the family home, 114 East Cedar in Walsenburg, Colorado, and was baptized at the Episcopal Church on 5th Street in Walsenburg. He was raised in Huerfano County, and graduated from Huerfano County High School in 1940. He attended Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, and then continued his education in industrial management at the University of Denver until World War II interrupted his studies in April 1943. He proudly served in the European Theater as a Master Supply Sergeant/ Quarter Master with the 124th Quartermaster Company, Service Group (Aviation) in the ground forces of the 8th Air Force under Curtis Lemay. He was in charge of 45 men.
After the war, he returned home and bought the feed and flour end of the Sporleder Selling Company, which his grandfather, Louis B. Sporleder, Sr., helped found in 1894. The business, Sig Sporleder Feeds, was further expanded in 1969 with the purchase of the Walsenburg Feed Mill. Sig was an astute businessman, who knew how to run a business in a fair and honest fashion. Special customers and friends knew if they dropped by, he was always happy to talk to them, or give them a pull from the bottle he kept behind the counter during the holiday season.
An active cattle rancher, he ran a herd near the East Spanish Peak in the summertime on the family ranch, and wintered the cattle on his Huerfano River ranch.
Sig met the love of his life, Ruth Henry, in the autumn of 1953, and they married three months later on Dec. 29. They remained partners for life both before and after Ruth’s death in 1988.
Sig won the respect of everyone he met with his good natured ribbing and friendly personality. “Son” was a greeting he used for every male older and younger than him. To him, each person was special. As an example of his ability to accept people for who they were, he earned the respect of the local hippie communities in the 1960’s and 70’s doing business with them when others wouldn’t. Sig was once called as a character witness for a hippie family friend, where he brought the courtroom to a standstill when he openly admitted to selling him grass seed. Sig promptly corrected himself- “Not THAT kind of grass seed!”
He was a great man; fair and honest in all his dealings, with a strong moral sense of right and wrong. He helped countless youngsters get started in agriculture, providing special feeds for their 4-H projects and purchasing their animals at the county fair. In 2000, he and his son Eric received the Outstanding Conservationist of the Year-Ranch Division Award from the Colorado Association of Soil Conservation Districts. On May 8, 2010, he was named the Outstanding Citizen of Huerfano County by the Colorado State Republicans.
Sig was proud that his grandfather helped establish Walsenburg in the 1870s. He never considered settling anywhere else but in Walsenburg, his true "home." He truly loved the people in his hometown.
He loved the mountains, and his beloved Spanish Peaks, enjoying many family excursions on the family properties there.
Sig was preceded in death by the love of his life, Ruth Henry Sporleder; his sisters Virginia “Gege” (Malin) Anderson and Geraldine “Gerry” Sporleder; a granddaughter, Allison Todd; and his mother and father, Gertrude and Carl Sporleder.
He is survived by his children, Karin (John) Niedfeldt of Salida, CO; Eric (Alice) Sporleder of Walsenburg, CO; Ingrid (Danny) Todd of Magnolia, TX; Gretchen (Brian) Orr of Walsenburg, CO; and Karl (Debi) Sporleder of Walsenburg, CO. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Laura Kness of Greeley, CO, Amanda (Sam) Parker, of Beswick, Australia; Matthew Chapman, of Loveland, CO; Anne and Chay Sporleder of Walsenburg, CO; Warren Todd of Magnolia, TX; Ruth, Conor, Thomas and Liam Orr of Walsenburg, CO; James (Kristina) Parks of Fort Worth, TX; Kristin Parks, of McPherson, KS; Tyler Parks, DeBeque, CO; seven great grandchildren and one more great grandchild on the way, due in October 2010.
Sig is also survived by his sister-in-law, Trudy Henry of Dodge City, KS; nieces and nephews, Alan (Claudia) Anderson of Salem, OR; Marilyn (Ray) Anderson, Sandy, UT; and Chuck (Tami) Anderson of South Jordan, UT; and Jim (Stephanie) Anderson of Ontario, CA; Jan Scoggins and Dana Howard, of Dodge City KS; Linda Bush of Merriam, KS; Barbara Henry Besser of Colby, KS; Miriam Henry-Weidemeyer and Lorin E. Smith, both of Kansas City, MO; Bob (Cathy) Underwood, Topeka, KS; Kathy Wichern, McKinney, TX; Anne Dobney of Missoula, MT, and their children and grandchildren.
Sig is also survived by numerous cousins, including Peggy and Bob Meyer, Elaine Levy Lenzini, Katie Gornick Levy, Suellen Levy and Anne Levy all of Walsenburg, CO; Carla Turner, of Calhan CO, and their children and grandchildren.
Funeral plans are set for Sunday, May 23rd, 12:30 pm at the United Church in Walsenburg, with a celebration of his life to follow at the Huerfano County Community Center. There will be a potluck meal and ample time to share memories, which will be collected and compiled into a booklet for family and friends. All those wishing to share their special memories of Sig are asked to mail them or bring them by the Huerfano World Journal office, 500 Main St, Walsenburg, 81089 or email them to email@example.com.
For more information call Debi (989-1501) or the Huerfano World Journal (738-1415). Funeral information will also be posted on the newspaper website: www.huerfanojournal.com.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Sig and Ruth Sporleder Scholarship Fund, PO Box 642, Walsenburg, CO 81089 which will be used to assist students interested in pursuing careers in agriculture.