Charles “Charlie” Ward Counts |

Charles “Charlie” Ward Counts

Charles “Charlie” Ward Counts of Craig died Dec. 1, 2005, at The Memorial Hospital in Craig. He was 84.

Counts was born July 20, 1921, in Craig to Robert Taylor and Lula Marie Counts.

Counts was raised in the Craig area, living on the “Homestead” at Great Divide and then moving to Cedar Mountain. He graduated from Moffat County High School in 1939. After high school, he worked for Texas Refinery in Craig. He then went to welding school in Steamboat Springs and on to Denver, where he worked a short time before entering the Army. After completing basic training in Hawaii, he was shipped to the South Pacific, serving in the 34th Infantry Regiment –3rd Battalion. After being wounded for a second time in 1945, he was shipped home on furlough for medical treatment. While home, the Japanese surrendered and the war was over. He married Opal White on Aug. 19, 1945. They moved to a Texas military base to complete Counts’ medical treatment, and he was honorably discharged Feb. 12, 1946.

At that time, he and Opal moved back to Craig. They lived at Breeze Basin, farming during the summers and moving in to Craig for the winters, where Counts worked at the Coal Tipple. They had two children: Eddie in 1946 and Judy in 1948.

In 1951, they moved to their home north of Craig. Counts farmed with his brother James for many years. In the late 1960s, he and Opal became “snowbirds” and enjoyed more than 25 years of going south during the winters, spending winters in Guaymas, Mexico, and later in Blythe, Calif. Counts was a member of the First Christian Church of Craig, VFW and the Elks Club. He enjoyed spending time with his family, fishing, hunting, traveling and being the “practical joker” of the family. His sense of humor will be missed.

Counts is survived by his wife of 60 years, Opal Counts of Craig; son, Ed (Karla) of Craig; daughter, Judy Gudmunson of Casper, Wyo.; brothers Gene (Loretta) of Craig, and Wesley (Beverly) of Craig; sisters, Evelyn Shinn of Craig, Charlotte (Harold) White of Meeker, and Fern (Jerry) Pierce of Aurora; grandchildren, Ethan Counts of Craig, Deena (Ralph) Tarango of Rawlins, Trini Riley of Craig, Trixie Albaugh of Craig, Andrea (Kent) White of Glendive, Mont., Tony (Amy) Gudmunson of Casper, Kelly (Patti) Gudmunson of Tallahasse, Fla.; 12 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Counts was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Robert and James, and sisters Mary and Juanita.

Services were held Dec. 5, 2005, at First Christian Church in Craig, with Mervin Johnson officiating. The organist was Anne Carr, and the soloist was Wanda Brown. Selections were “How Great Thou Art,” and “In The Garden.” Pallbearers were Wayne Counts, Robby Counts, Frank Counts, Joe Willingham, Les Curtis and Victor Updike. Honorary pallbearers were Charlie’s family and his many friends. Interment was at Craig Cemetery with military honors provided by the Craig VFW.

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