HUERFANO- Frank A. Velarde, a long time resident of Huerfano County, passed away April 9, 2008 in Pueblo, as a result of Alzheimer′s disease.
Frank was born in Gardner, CO in 1927 to Francisco Guillermo and Annie (Garcia) Velarde. He was one of nine children and was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Anthony and William and sister Bernadine Bertolero. Five siblings survive him, Estelle Shannon of Pueblo, Lucille Brehm of Pennsylvania, Emma (Toni) Velarde, Pearl Nardini and Margaret Velarde of Denver.
Frank was a WWII veteran, serving with his brothers in Europe. He was an ambulance driver. They served in Italy, Germany, North Africa and Switzerland as part of the greatest generation.
When he returned home, he went to work at the Colorado Fuel and Iron plant in Pueblo. He was introduced to Della Martinez on a blind date and they were married in 1953. Five children followed; Debra Velarde, Dana Agee-Velarde, F. William (Brenda), Jim (Lana), Gerald (Amy). At the time of his death, Frank was the proud grandfather of 11; Sherry, Mallory, William, Scott Agee, Geoffrey Dickson, Jason, Erica, Julia, Jack, Eric and David.
Although Frank worked at and retired from the mill in 1984, he was a rancher born and bred. The Velarde family has owned ranch property in southern Colorado since 1888. The great love of his life after his family, was raising alfalfa and cattle on his property. His mill work was a means to achieve that and raise his young family, until they were on their own and he could retire and live as his family had for many generations. He was happiest when he was atop a horse, truck or tractor overseeing the fruits of his labors or showing someone the beautiful land that he loved in its many aspects and seasons. We will never be able to hear a meadowlark or see a field full of bales of hay without thinking of him.
Frank battled many things in life; drought, prostate cancer, cantankerous equipment, Alzheimer’s, coyotes, stubborn horses, bigotry in others and strong willed children, with varying degrees of success. But his greatest legacy to his family is his unflinching work ethic that he demonstrated even in the deepest throes of his illness. He only stopped working when he stopped breathing.
We loved him, we will miss him, we will not forget him and there will never be another like him.
The family of Frank A. Velarde thanks all his many friends and family members who came from near and far to his rosary and his services. A special thanks to Boise-Ortega for coordinating with Ft. Carson in providing the servicemen and the local VFW who made his graveside service so memorable, and to the Division of Wildlife for providing escorts for the funeral procession. The family asks that you donate to the Alzheimer′s Association to continue the fight against this dreadful disease.