Don Freemyer succumbed to an insidious and rare form of motor neuron disease known as Progressive Muscular Atrophy on February 23, 2018 in Durango, Colorado at the age of 76.
Don was born Norman Don Freemyer on March 7, 1941, in Benkelman, Nebraska, the son of a share cropper. Growing up in Las Animas, CO, if you couldn’t find Don in the fields working on the family farm, you’d find him in other fields playing football, or on the court as a member of the basketball team that won the State Championship his senior year.
He attended Colorado State University on a $200 scholarship from Sears, was in the ROTC for four years and earned the designation of a distinguished military graduate. He entered active duty and attended Officer Basic Training, Ranger School and Airborne School at Fort Benning, GA in 1964. He spent two years as an infantry officer and transferred to be an Intelligence Officer in Germany. While in Germany, Don discovered the artistry of great beers and fine wine, the pursuit of which he followed throughout his life. His military service inevitably brought him to Vietnam as a Captain, and he quickly moved up the ranks. He was part of an advisory team, 2nd Vietnamese Army Division that survived the TET Offensive of 1968. He was honorably discharged later that same year.
Don returned to Denver and re-engaged in his education culminating in an MA from CSU and a Law Degree from CU Denver in 1970. He moved to Durango with his then wife, Betty Kay Nelson, and practiced Law primarily in the Four Corners for the next 44 years, and still chuckled at his favorite characterization by Judge Dickinson that he was too nice to be an attorney.
Many of us knew him through his service to our community, as a member of the Board of Directors for the Humane Society, during their move to the new facility and continued on for many years afterwards. He was a founding member of the Board for the Boys and Girls Club Durango and was proud to help shepherd the organization from concept through construction and ongoing success. He was a member of High Noon Rotary, and was acknowledged as a Paul Harris Fellow twice. He participated in the Hozhoni Riding program, an organization for the handicapped.
He is survived by his children Cory (and Erin) Freemyer, Denise (and Jim) Smyth, and Karen Ingle, and five grandchildren, all of whom brought a great deal of joy to his life. He was preceded in death by his sister, Nova Dayle Freemyer, mother Glenora Maxine Freemyer and father Wayne Rexall Freemyer.
Passions in life included his kids, horses, dogs, fishing, hunting, painting, cooking, wine making, archaeology, and wonderful trips to Lake Powell and gold panning with son Cory.
Prior to his passing, Don noted that “It was an honor for me to be friends with some truly great people. I thank you. I’ve had great joy in the Brotherhood of Lake Powell Luxury Tours and all the wonderful people I’ve known throughout the world these many years. And I’d like to also offer a special thank you to the kind and caring service of Cottonwood Inn and the Hospice Team at Mercy.
There will be a Memorial Service in Durango at Hood Mortuary on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 11 a.m., followed by a VA send-off and burial in Las Animas, CO in May/June.