Stephen W. Mindock, 93, born December 26, 1920, in Crystal Falls, Michigan, passed peacefully into eternal life on July 1, 2014, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The youngest son of George and Mary Mindok, he was known from the age of 2 as "Hap" because of his happy cheerful disposition. In adulthood, he was still known as "Hap" by all those in Crystal Falls.
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He was preceded in death by June, his beloved wife of 66 years. He is survived by sons, David Mindock of Denver, CO and Peter Mindock, and wife, Claire, of Denver, CO; daughter, Stephanie and husband, Gary Williams, of Albuquerque, NM; four grandchildren, Christina DuMars and husband, Charles, of Albuquerque, NM; Matthew Bruff and wife, Elizabeth, of Centennial, CO; Aubrie Mindock of Denver, CO; and Austin Mindock and wife, Kayla, of Denver, CO; and five great-grandchildren, Henry DuMars, Mason DuMars, Ella Bruff, Adaire Bruff, and Jack Bruff. He is also survived by many dear nieces and nephews, and cherished friends.
During World War II, Steve served in the Army from 1942-1946, as a Lieutenant in the 10th Mountain Division, 87th Regiment, Company A. He trained with the ski troops at Camp Hale, CO in 1943, and was sent to Kiska in the Aleutian Islands. All his life, he was deeply proud of his association with the 10th Mountain Division, and lifelong friendships formed with fellow soldiers during these years.
Following World War II, he earned a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Northern Michigan in Marquette, and a Master's Degree at the University of Michigan, Lansing. Steve taught Industrial Arts for four years in St. Johns, MI, then moved his family to the Rocky Mountains of CO, the majestic peaks never having left his heart after first acquaintance at Camp Hale during the war. He taught for one year in Estes Park, CO, then moved to Colorado Springs, working in School District 11 for the next 28 years. He taught Industrial Arts at West Junior High School for eight years, then became a Supervisor of Industrial Arts and Vocational Education for 20 years. During his career in District 11, he served as President of the Colorado Springs Classroom Teachers Association, President of the Colorado Industrial Arts Association, and Chairman of the Pikes Peak Chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
Steve was a lifelong outdoorsman and skier. He climbed many of Colorado's "14 teeners," among favorites were Longs Peak and Quandary Peak. For ten summers he was a seasonal ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park, six summers in Estes Park and four summers in Grand Lake. His children have wonderful childhood memories of summer hikes, backpacking, and boating trips in Rocky Mountain National Park. For 15 years, he worked as a ski patrolman at Pikes Peak Ski Area, the Broadmoor Ski Area, and Breckenridge. Steve was a certified ski instructor with the Professional Ski Instructors of America, instructing at the Breckenridge Ski Area for a decade.
Retiring from School District 11 in 1982, Steve pursued two long time passions - bird carving and collecting and reading Western American books. He has an extensive collection of Western authors. He particularly liked reading Zane Grey,
J. Frank Dobie, Lawrence Clark Powell, Erna Fergusson, Paul Horgan, and Walter Prescott Webb. Steve liked nothing more than a good book conversation with family and friends! He loved traveling with his wife, June, and summers were always spent making their way back to the Northwoods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Trips abroad included Stockholm, Sweden; Prague, Czech Republic; and Normandy and Paris, France.
Steve will live on through legacies passed to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren - the privilege of public education for all, love and appreciation for the mountains, lakes, rivers, and forests of this country, and a reverence for America's heritage. An inspiration to all who knew him, Steve exemplified Tom Brokaw's Greatest Generation. He will be deeply missed, but never forgotten.
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to Irma Maley, compassionate caregiver for many years, and the staff at Emeritus at Bear Creek Assisted Living for the expert kind care he received during his last years.
A memorial service will be held at First Lutheran Church, 1515 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80907 on August 23, 2014, at 2:00. Burial will be at Crystal Falls Cemetery in Crystal Falls, MI.
Memorial gifts may be made to the 10th Mountain Division Foundation, 133 S. Van Gordon St., Suite 200, Lakewood, CO 80228, (303) 756-8486, or Memorial Fund of First Lutheran Church, 1515 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80907.
Published in The Gazette from Aug. 17 to Aug. 20, 2014