John A. Eilts of Craig, died April 18, 2005, in Fort Myers, Fla., where he was residing with companion, Donna Heim. He was 88.
John A. Eilts was born Dec. 3, 1916, in Rensselear, Ind., to Bertha (Goepp) and Edward H. Eilts.
Eilts was a longtime resident of Moffat County, Craig and Hayden. He was raised in Roann, Ind. He joined the Army in 1949, where he became a pilot and captain in the communications field. While in the service, he married Allie, a retired major from the Army, on July 23, 1955. After the Army, they lived briefly in Augusta, Ga., and then moved to the Denver area. They bought a ranch outside of Hayden in 1962, and named it Coal View Ghost Ranch. His wife preceded him in death in July of 1999. He was a rancher, pilot, oil magnate, storyteller, songwriter, author, harmonica player, contractor, dancer, dog lover, and an environmentalist.
Eilts is survived by his brothers August Eilts of Hopedale, Ill., Don Eilts of Laketon, Ind., Henry Eilts of Wabash; sister, Martha Reinhart of Aurora; and twenty nieces and nephews.
Eilts was preceded in death by brothers Edwin Eilts and Ted Eilts, and sister, Minnie Freeman.
Services were April 27, 2005, at Grant Mortuary Chapel with J.P. Freeman officiating. The organist was Anne Carr, and the soloist was Wanda Brown.
Selections were "Amazing Grace," "How Great Thou Art," and "Go Rest High On The Mountain."
Pallbearers were Larry Eilts, Larry Lyster, J.P. Freeman, Frank Camilletti, Hank Eilts, Carl Blomquist, and Augie Eilts. Interment was at Hayden Cemetery with military honors by VFW Post No. 4265.