Lifelong Montrose resident Tony Appelhanz passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, April 8, 2021, at the age of 90.
Tony was born in Shavano Valley, May 31, 1930 to John and Mary (Unrein) Appelhanz. He grew up in the Olathe and Montrose area. Tony attended school in Olathe until his senior year of high school, when the family moved to the farm at Riverside. He graduated from Montrose High School in 1948, but was considered a part of both graduating classes. Tony joined the Colorado National Guard in 1948 and was honorably discharged in 1957. Along with his dad and brothers, Tony farmed and ranched. Tony was a member of the Holly Sugar Beet Board when the sugar beets were raised in the valley. The family also raised beer barley which was used to make Coors Beer. Cattle were added to the business with the family raising mainly Herefords. Throughout his lifetime Tony saw the advancement in agriculture. As a child he used a team of horses to work the fields and saw the development of more mechanized equipment as the years went by. Towards the end of his farming career he started Base Products and began selling gravel in the area in 1995. He could be found in the gravel pit running equipment up until his retirement.
Music was a big part of Tony’s life. He played the accordion, trumpet, piano and drums. He was a member of The Key Notes, a jazz band that played across the Western Slope, in which he played the drums. Many afternoons were spent with Tony playing his favorite jazz tunes on the piano.
On April 30, 1960, Tony married his wife of 60 years, Marion Myers. They had four children Matt, Amy, Tracy and Laura. As a family they worked the farm and ranch from irrigating, pulling weeds, moving cows, and working on the farm equipment. He was also a large part of the 4-H community as all three daughters were members. He was always willing to lend a helping hand and treated the other kids like his own.
Tony also enjoyed spending time with his 13 grandkids. From gardening, raising livestock, to music Tony was always willing to give advice. He also shared many stories of his life with them which always included a life lesson.
Tony was preceded in death by his parents John and Mary Appelhanz, sister Mary Jo Kubin, brother George Appelhanz, and brother Albert Appelhanz.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years Marion of Montrose; son Matt and wife Mary of Anchor Point, Alaska, daughter Amy Vandyke and husband Terry of Clifton, daughter Tracy Reed and husband Bret of Montrose, and daughter Laura Castle and husband Jared also of Montrose. He is also survived by his thirteen grandchildren, Sarah (Dan) Ravin, Tom Appelhanz, Doren Vandyke, Adriane Appelhanz, Chance Vandyke, Tony Appelhanz, Lyndsey Appelhanz, Sebastian Appelhanz, Caleb Appelhanz, Katrina Appelhanz, Tyler Reed, Tanner Castle, and Kolt Reed. He is also survived by his brother John E. Appelhanz of Montrose, sister Eleanor Schlauger of Grand Junction, brother Edward Appelhanz of Montrose, brother-in-law George Kubin of Olathe, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Tony’s family would like to thank all the special people who helped take care of him: Missy, Maria, Jennifer, Sam, Racheal, Rebekah, and Rose.
Services will be held at Crippin Funeral Home in Montrose at 11 a.m. Friday, April 16, 2021. Burial will follow at Grand View Cemetery.
Tony’s family would like to thank all the special people who helped take care of him: Missy, Maria, Jennifer, Sam, Racheal, Rebekah, and Rose. In lieu of flowers please donate in Tony’s memory to HopeWest Hospice 725 S. Fourth St., Montrose, CO 81401.