Lions Club volunteer Loyd DeuPree dies

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Craig lost a community pillar Monday evening with the death of Loyd DeuPree.

DeuPree died of congenital heart failure and pneumonia at The Memorial Hospital, which is only half a block from where he was born in 1927.

DeuPree, 78, leaves a legacy of service to his hometown.

"He was one of those people that continually worked, never wanted any glory or praise and did what was right when something needed to get done," said his wife, Elaine.

Missing the call to service in World War II because a childhood injury that left him blind in one eye, DeuPree went to work in the oil fields outside of Rangely as a young man. The hard labor led to a 21-year career in sales for Greeley Gas. Working as a traveling salesman took its toll on DeuPree, and after marrying in 1954, he settled down to raise a family and to work as a Realtor for Western United Realty until his 2001 retirement.

"He was an incredible person, the nicest person I've ever met," said Craig Lions Club President Christina Currie.

Whether it was volunteering to dig the hole for Craig's first swimming pool, serving on the boards of the Craig Chamber of Commerce, the Moffat County Finance Corporation and Housing Authority, or his tireless work with the First Congregational Church and the Craig Lions Club, DeuPree's interests were always deeply vested in Craig's well-being.

"I've talked to a lot of (Craig Lions Club) members today, and everyone agrees that we have some big shoes to fill," Currie said.

DeuPree's friends, family and fellow community members will miss his passionate and active volunteer service in the recent years since his retirement.

"He organized every parade, and with raffle ticket sales, he consistently sold about 70 percent of the fundraiser tickets," Currie said.

The Lions Club International recognized the value of DeuPree's ongoing efforts by awarding him membership in the prestigious Melvin Jones Fellowship, the foundation's highest honor for humanitarian work.

"He found a way to involve himself, in one way or another, in practically everything we did," said longtime friend and Lions Club member Stuart Nadler.

DeuPree is survived by Elaine DeuPree, his wife since 1983, and his two daughters, Karen Hatfield of Pagosa Springs and Cindy Staggs of Englewood. The daughters, along with DeuPree's three stepsons, his 15 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren, will always remember what Nadler called "a big smile" and DeuPree's love and support for his family, friends and complete strangers.

"He was a fair and honest person. Anybody could talk to him about anything. He was a friend to everyone," Elaine DeuPree said.

Blair Wilson, DeuPree's stepson, said his stepfather "did things for people nobody even knew about. If there were more Loyd DeuPrees in the world, it'd be a better place."

Funeral arrangements are pending with Grant Mortuary.

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