Elbert C. (Conway) Irick was born Dec. 15, 1920, in Bixby, Okla., to Ina Conway Irick and J.S. Irick.
In 1921, when Conway was six months old, the family moved to Colorado with Ina’s brothers and their families.
The families homesteaded on Fortification Creek and lived there for nine years.
Conway attended Fortification schools until the fourth or fifth grade.
J.S. Irick purchased the Northwestern Shoe and Harness Shop in Craig and the family moved to town. Conway’s sister, June, was born shortly before the family moved.
Conway finished school in Craig, graduating in 1938.
He helped his dad in the shop until he was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1942. He attended basic training in Cheyenne, Wyo., and completed parachute rigger’s school at Fort Benning, Ga., in February 1942.
He was a member of the 10th Mountain Division, training at Camp Hale. J.S. Irick died suddenly Sept. 11, 1943, leaving Ina to manage the shop. In those days, a saddle shop was an absolute necessity.
A group of ranchers met with Colorado Sen. Ed John-
son to request a hardship discharge for Conway as they felt Conway could do more for the war effort by helping agriculture in Moffat County than by being a soldier.
The name of the shop was changed to Irick Saddle Shop and the business moved to 577 Yampa Ave., where it stayed until Conway retired in 1986. Conway married Dorothy Katt in 1948 and a daughter, Connie, was born in 1950.
After a divorce, Conway married Ruby Snyder in 1970.
Conway was active in numerous organizations, including being the past president of the Kiwanis Club, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the American Legion, the Ride ‘n’ Tie Rodeo committee, the Sheriff’s Posse and the roping club. He was a team roper into his 70s.
Conway enjoyed woodworking, hunting, fishing, gardening, rock hunting, roping, camping and all outdoor activities.
He died Saturday, March 19, 2011, at the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home in Rifle.
Conway’s survivors include his wife, Ruby; daughter Connie Strasheim; stepdaughter Sherry (John) Reagan; sister June Collins; nephew Gary Collins; grandson C.J. (Lindsey) Weihing; grandson Jeff Weihing; great-grandchildren Finnian Conway Weihing, Riley Jennings Weihing and Avery Erin Weihing; and numerous cousins living throughout the U.S.
A funeral service was held Saturday, March 26, 2011, at the Calvary Baptist Church with Lee Byram officiating.
Tom Ripkoski sang “Amazing Grace” and Dee Byram sang “In The Garden” accompanied by Roberta Charles.
Pallbearers were C.J. Weihing, Jeff Weihing, Jim Loughran, John Reagan, John Cromer and Nate Talkington.
Interment followed in the Craig Cemetery. Military honors were by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 and American Legion Post 62.
Memorial donations may be made to the Museum of Northwest Colorado, in care of Grant Mortuary.