Marilyn Cox

Marilyn Cox

I’m embarrassed. Last week I wrote about Hartman Brothers anniversary and how they donated a clock for the downtown in 2004 in commemoration of 100 years of doing business in Montrose. A few days ago I received a call from Scott Williams telling me that the clock was no longer in Demoret Park and had been moved when the Vic Payne sculpture was installed there a few years ago.

I guess that is an example of how little we actually pay attention when driving through town. When something has been there for years, one totally expects it to always be there and “assumes” it is.

When a long-time family makes such a donation, as well as heavily contributing in many ways for 115 years, we certainly want to make sure their gift will remain in public view for years to come. And, according to one of the Hartmans—it will. In the meantime, the clock is safely stored and will come out of hiding as soon as the appropriate place is ready.

I recently received a question and need my readers to help with an answer if anyone has one. Kay Gerke wants to know, “When did the awful elm trees come to Montrose?” She believes there must be a story behind these messy trees. “Were they a fad? Why did so many people plant them?” Kay asked.

I remember, the whole family used to laugh about my late sister Geraldine Ray and her hatred of having to clean up all the elm seeds every spring. She, too, no doubt wondered who planted the darn things to begin with.

I remember hearing that the government sent in bundles of cottonwood trees to get them started in this bare high desert in the late 1800s, but have never heard anything about the elms. Recently, I heard there is an infestation of elm beetles. Have they arrived in the Uncompahgre Valley? Hope not!

If you want to see some of those giant old cottonwoods, drive down E. Miami Road and Woodgate Road. The ones on Miami were planted by Jehiel Yorke, who with his wife Jane, immigrated here from western Ontario, Canada in 1892. Yorke was a well-known farmer and rancher.

I received an invitation in the mail the other day that makes me very proud. It came from the “Department of the Army; Sacramento District, Corps of Engineers Executive Office; Sacramento, CA; Brigadier General Kimberly M. Colloton, Commander, S Pacific Division of Army Corp of Engineers.”

The invitation stated that I was invited to attend the “Change of Command Ceremony during which Colonel David G. Ray, Outgoing Commander, will formally retire and relinquish command of the Sacramento District to Colonel James J. Handura, Incoming Commander.”

Ray (my great-nephew), who along with his wife Cheryl, has served in the Army for almost 28 years, including tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. David is the oldest son of Pam and Lieutenant Colonel, retired, Bruce Ray, of Olathe, who himself gave 24 years of service to the Army. David and Cheryl will be retiring to the vicinity within a few weeks. Their son, Daniel, will be enrolling in Colorado School of Mines this fall.

David’s younger brother, Major Dean Ray, is currently serving his 19th year in the Army. Their brother Devin became a Captain during his four years of service and is currently employed by the HDR company as a construction project manager, working under contract for CDOT. In fact, they were the company who gave Ridgway its latest facelift—new streets and sidewalks.

Patriotism and serving their country is a long-time tradition for the Ray family. Bruce’s father George and his Aunt Edna both served during World War II. Thank you, Rays!

Happy and safe July 4 to Everyone!

Marilyn Cox, a native of Montrose County, grew up on a farm and was always surrounded by countless family members who instilled the love of family and history. She retired from the Montrose County School District and, for 21 years, served as curator of the Montrose County Historical Museum.

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