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Dean Delos Parr was born in Hayden, Colo., on Oct. 12, 1930, to Nora Louise Hay and Richard Delos Parr. Dean’s grandfather, John Fletcher Hay, and his great-uncle, Henry Hay, were two of the earliest settlers of the Meeker area homesteading in Powell Park and Hay Gulch in 1884. Of particular interest is that the Hay brothers found on their homestead, and used for many years, the plow that Nathan C. Meeker used to plow the beloved horse racing track of the White River Utes. Henry Hay was one of the founding fathers of the Town of Meeker and is so commemorated on the “Rock at the Court House Lawn.” Documents, as well as the plow, can be found at the White River Museum.
Dean had one sister, Aileen Parr-Theos, who was eight years his senior. They grew up on the ranch which remains in the family up Little Beaver Creek east of Meeker, Colo. Dean had many wonderful stories about the Little Beaver community, which included his nearest neighbors, the Krachts, the Nays and the Proctors. His mother was his teacher through eighth grade, and he attended rural schools in Little Beaver and Thornburgh. He was graduated from Rio Blanco County High School in 1948 and attended Mesa College the following year.
One of his life’s highlights as a young man was the summer he spent as a wrangler with Tommy Thompson of Glenwood Springs packing “dudes” on a trail ride that spanned the headwaters of the Frying Pan, Roaring Fork and Crystal Rivers. After his wrangling days, Dean enjoyed riding bulls on the regional rodeo circuit in addition to helping his father on the ranch.
He began dating Artie Eliopulos in the fall of 1950 when she came to Meeker to teach. He married Artie on June 3, 1951.
Dean loved playing cards, his trumpet and golf. He very much enjoyed music and dancing and participated in many plays as a member of Curtain Call. He cherished opportunities that included telling stories, or teasing, and was a masterful “joke teller.” Dean was the emcee at numerous public functions and for many years announced the Meeker Fourth of July Parade and spoke some famous lines during the sentencing of Alfred Packer at the Meeker Massacre Pageant. He was very active in the community and loved the town of Meeker and the White River Valley.
Despite his affection for people and social functions, the place where Dean derived his greatest joy and was most at peace was at the ranch. He loved working with livestock and riding many good horses from which to work cattle, but good horses were also used to play; as many horse trips included hunting or fishing the high country behind the ranch or on the Flat Tops. Dean also relished every aspect of farming. From spring plowing to fall planting and all the developing stages of growing crops, and of course, the harvest, were all topics of many late night reports and pride-filled stories at the dinner table. Dean loved being outdoors, working outdoors and observing the beauty and miracles of nature; and the ranch is where most of that occurred. Even in these last years, he was most like himself at the ranch.
Dean and Artie were blessed with many wonderful friends with whom they enjoyed lots of adventures and a life filled with good times. Dean respected, admired and loved his parents and his family, and was also a part of close-knit extended families on both Dean’s and Artie’s sides. He set this example for his children and instilled in them the value of family and friends.
Dean was an active member in many civic and philanthropic organizations; often serving in a leadership role. Dean was elected to the board of directors of White River Electric in 1972 and served as president for many years. He was elected to the Colorado-Ute Board in 1977 and served on the executive committee from 1977-1983. He was president of Colorado Rural Electric Association from 1982-1984 and represented Colorado on the National Rural Electric Board from 1989-1993. Dean retired from WREA in 2008. He was a former member of the Meeker Jaycees and served as president for three years. He was also a long time member and past president of Lions Club and a nearly 50-year member and past Master of Rio Blanco Masonic Lodge #80. He served full terms on the city council and county planning commission. He also served on the board of directors and as president for the White River Conservation District and the Upper Colorado Environmental Plant Center. Dean drove a school bus for Meeker Schools for more than 30 years. Dean’s father DeLos and his uncle Vic, together with Dean, and later Rich Parr, operated the rural mail route to Rangely for more than 60 years, and the Trapper’s Lake and Price Creek routes for more than 40 years.
Besides his wife Artie of 61 years, he leaves to mourn him his children Kathy and Brad Dodds, Rich and Carol Parr, Steve and Sharon Parr, Michael and Sabrina Parr, his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews and friends.
A viewing will be held at Grant Mortuary located in the Riegel Building at 345 Sixth Street in Meeker, Friday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be held at the Methodist Church, Saturday, Sept. 1, at 10 a.m.