Robert Warren Meyer
10-2-1920 ~ 6-15-2011
Robert Warren Meyer (age 90), a long-time resident of Huerfano County, Colorado, died of natural causes Wednesday evening, June 15, 2011, at the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home, located in Walsenburg, Colorado, where he had been a resident of one year while receiving physical therapy to recover from surgery. This had been Bob’s third surgery in three years repairing a broken leg first injured in a tractor accident when he was 16 years old.
A native of Colorado, he was born on October 2, 1920 to Gus and Zula (Harlan) Meyer in Trinidad, Colorado. After spending his first few years on their farm in Missouri, Bob’s family moved to the JM Ranch, located near Gardner, Colorado when he was 5 years old. Gus had inherited the ranch from his father John M. Meyer, a German immigrant, who had become one of Colorado’s early cattle barons having run more than 4,000 head of cattle and sheep on the 5,000 plus acre spread.
Bob’s initial school years were spent at the single-room adobe South Bradford School where he would often ride double with one of his older brothers on horses well-known to them as they all worked the ranch at a very early age. He later attended the Gardner School run by his Aunt Lida. Bob graduated from Huerfano County High School on June 2, 1937. After High School, Bob briefly attended Colorado University until he left to help his father run the JM Ranch.
Growing up on the JM Ranch instilled a deep love for ranching and the outdoors in Bob. His mother mentioned that as a child, he often would sleep out on the porch instead of a perfectly warm room in the ranch house just to be outdoors as much as possible. Spring and fall round-ups were particularly enjoyable for Bob as he dearly loved horseback riding and working with cattle. Branding on the JM was a huge event as many neighbors chipped in to help as did the Meyer boys when the other ranches needed help with their operations. Bob also participated in the extensive haying operations as well as chopping ice in frigid weather to allow the animals to water and provide ice for summer picnics as they stored it in cellars.
During World War II, Bob left the ranch and joined the US Navy while spending most of his tour in the South Pacific Theater. Much of his excitement came during mine sweeping operations on a wooden-hulled boat that he was later able to show his wife Peg during a trip to New York City. After becoming a Quartermaster Third Class, Bob was honorably discharged from the United States Navy at the Naval Personnel Separation Center located in Shoemaker, California on June 18, 1946.
Upon discharge, his adventurous spirit inspired him to travel to Alaska and back south to Old Mexico in a jeep while camping each night during the journey. Other adventures consisted of hitch-hiking trips across the United States, landing in spots such as New York City, where he remembers being asked if his cowboy boots were good for killing cockroaches in room corners. Bob also traveled by motorcycle, on roads that would be challenging for today’s best equipment. Having experienced many of the places on his list, he returned to Walsenburg where he and his father partnered in the ranching business. In addition to ranching, Bob’s interest in hunting and fishing led to his becoming a guide who took adventurists by horseback into the Sangre de Cristo Range of southern Colorado.
Bob met his Southern Belle when she was visiting relatives in Walsenburg during 1949 and they were married in the Presbyterian Church in Sumner, Mississippi on April 9, 1950. He and Peg began their 61 years together in Walsenburg where they met friends who participated in many functions such as “wild-game dinners, theme parties, and talent shows. Their family of four children; Mike, Meryl Lee, Melissa and Mitch grew up loving the outdoors while camping, hunting and fishing in many of Bob’s favorite locations.
Bob’s continued love for the outdoors resulted in creating a business partnership with Lloyd Sehnert named the “Mountain Safari” where he expanded his guide service using military jeeps as transportation. Bob took his jeeps where no one had before, including the Walsenburg fair grounds where he had challenged local horsemen to a calf-roping competition wherein Bob had mounted a saddle to the hood of his jeep so he could freely swing his lariat and lasso the calf.
After serving as a Walsenburg City Councilman, Bob was appointed Executive Director of the local Public Housing Authority and served in that capacity for several years. Bob and Peg purchased the Paul Krier Insurance Agency in October, 1969 and moved the business to their building located on Main Street in Walsenburg. This building had been the location of Gus Meyer’s swap shop patronized by many in the Huerfano County area.
Bob was a member of the United Methodist Church in Walsenburg where his booming bass added to the choir. He was awarded a certificate of commendation for serving as a member of the Great Lakes Choir at the United States Naval Training Center.
He was a longtime member of the Walsenburg club (formerly Lions Club) where his antics, along with other talented Walsenburg residents, included performing in minstrel shows. A charter member of the Walsenburg Golf Club, Bob’s contributions allowed that dream to become reality for numerous Huerfano County residents and visitors. Having been a Mason, provided a link to the Rainbow organization where Meryl Lee and Melissa were active. Bob was a long-time member of the Cattlemen’s Association and served as a brand inspector for many years. For several years, Bob served as a Walsenburg Municipal Judge where many residents considered him to be honest and fair to all.
He stopped actively ranching at the age of 80 as Bob and Peg sold the herd and started leasing the pasture to other area ranchers. Although, he physically stopped feeding, branding and shipping cattle, he never lost his passion for the rancher’s life and worried about the lack of rain at the pasture to his last day.
Bob is known to his grandkids as Hot Shot. We all now realize that bears only attack those who sleep in the tent (not the camper), what it is like to catch your first fish, it is always better to tighten your cinch, driving the truck to feed the cows, horses love to be fed cake out of the pick up, and appreciate the fact that we don’t have to ride to school horseback both ways in a blizzard. The Spanish Peaks, Big Sheep and Little Sheep are just a stone throw away. Hot Shot is loved by many and will truly be missed.
Bob is preceded in death by his parents Gus A. and Zula R. Meyer, his daughter Melissa, and oldest brother Harlan Meyer.
He is survived by his loving wife Peg Meyer who continues to reside in Walsenburg, Colorado; his children Michael M. Meyer and his wife Linda of Divide, Colorado, Meryl Lee and her husband Steve Seewald of Platteville, Colorado, Mitch Meyer and his wife Phyllis of Lakewood, Colorado; his grandchildren, Jenny Seewald Caruso of Harrisonville, Missouri, Jeff Seewald of Longmont, Colorado, and Dustin Meyer of Lakewood, Colorado; and great grandchildren Brechen and Cedar Caruso. Bob is also survived by his brother Norman Meyer of Conifer, Colorado and sister-in-law Alice Meyer of Lakewood, Colorado and numerous nieces, nephews and very dear friends.
A memorial service will be held at the United Methodist Church on Saturday June 25, 2011 at 2:00 PM. Contributions may be made to the Melissa Meyer Scholarship Fund through Boise-Ortega Funeral Home, 115 East 5th Street, Walsenburg, Colorado 81089 or the United Church of Walsenburg, 108 Kansas Avenue, Walsenburg, Colorado 81089.