May 30, 1931 - April 18, 2020
Walt (Walter) Wright Rule, Jr. gave up his five-year struggle with declining health early morning, April 18 at his home in Montrose, with wife Nancy and son Walter III by his side. Walt was born May 30, 1931 in Plainfield, New Jersey to Walter W. Rule and Maud Renshaw and grew up in New Jersey, and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended Upper Darby (PA) High School and St. James Episcopal School, Hagerstown, Maryland, graduating in 1950. He received his commission in the U.S. Army as 2nd Lieutenant upon graduation from the University of Maine in June of 1954 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry. After their wedding in Maryland in April 1955, he and Nancy traveled to Columbus, Georgia where Walt completed basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia in September. He was posted to South Korea, where he served at first in the north on the DMZ with the 24th Infantry Division. After six months he was promoted to First Lieutenant and became a company commander at Inchon Harbor.
He returned to the states in April of 1957, and after a trip to Europe the couple headed west to begin his forestry career, first serving in positions on three different districts in the Black Hills, and as District. Ranger on the Larimer River District, Roosevelt National Forest headquartered in Fort Collins. He became the District Ranger of the Ouray District, of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests in western Colorado, with headquarters in Montrose in June 1968 and served until they moved to Asheville, NC in January 1977 where he was the Public Information Officer for the four National Forests of North Carolina. They returned to Colorado to retire in Ouray in September of 1986, to the 1880 home which they had purchased and begun rehab in 1972. In 2015 They moved permanently to Montrose.
Walt was very much involved in the Ouray County and western Colorado communities, and was one of the officers of the first Montrose County Historical
Society Board. As a 29 year full time resident of Ouray he served many years on the Board of the Ouray County Historical Society, working up the original walking tour brochure of Ouray’s historic buildings which was later incorporated into the annual Visitor Guide, the Red Mountain Project, the Yankee Boy Preservation Committee, the Ouray Trail Group, and Ouray Mountain Rescue Team. At one time he served as president of the Western Colorado Congress and was later honored by that group with the Chuck Worley Award for Citizenship. For 20 years he also administered the Senior Van program provided by Ouray County under Older Americans Act with oversight and funding through Region 10, making available transportation for seniors and other members of the community who had no other means of transportation. to Montrose for medical appointments, shopping trips and other needs. Nationally, Walt served several years on the Board of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (FSEEE) headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, traveling annually to their retreat, and otherwise meeting monthly by conference call.
Walt had many interests, those relating to the environment, all things historical, but also collecting stamps, coins, antiques, an extensive book collection and especially classic cars.
Walt is survived by his wife Nancy of 65 years (April 16), his brother, Bruce (Jane) Rule, his son Walter III, four daughters, Linda R. (David) Lunsford, Karen and Melanie Rule and Julia R. (Fernando) Pinheiro, all in the Carolinas, along with grandchildren Sarah Lunsford, Andrea Blankenship (Garry Shackleford), Erika P. Sutton and Christina Pinheiro, D.J. and Breana Ward, and great-granddaughter Payton Shackleford. Bruce’s children Jeffrey and Kristin, and their children (three nieces and two nephews in Maryland and Virginia). He was preceded in death by his parents and one grandson, Jeremy Blankenship.
Under the present circumstances a service at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ouray is hoped for, but with the possibility of a graveside service and interment of ashes in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Ouray with family earlier when those in the Carolinas can be present. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hope West Hospice, the Ouray County Historical Society, or firstname.lastname@example.org. PO Box 11615, Eugene, OR 97440-3815