Longtime Durango resident Ernest A. Schaaf died Mon., Feb. 11, 2013, at his home in Durango.
Known as "Ernie" to his many friends, he was born to Alvin and Edith Schaaf on Nov. 5, 1917, in Murray, Utah. In the late 1800's Ernie's family came to Durango then briefly moved to Utah, coming back when Ernie was two.
Ernie attended school in Animas City. He was sharp with a strong work ethic, and graduated from Durango High School at the age of 15. He and Peryl L. Kelley were married in Aztec, N.M., on August 20, 1939. They had four children and 73 years together.
Mr. Schaaf worked at Gradens Flour Mill until he went into the service on August 18, 1943. He served his country until 1946, when he went into the service station business. His service station was located at 1101 Main Ave. for most of his 48 years in the business.
Mr. Schaaf was a member of Rotary and a lifetime member of the Elks Lodge
. He was a regular customer at Parsons Drug Store where the local coffee club met. As an avid sportsman, his hobbies included golfing, working with horses, hunting and fishing. "The family said, "He embraced the outdoors as much as the outdoors embraced him." He was a family man who included his kids in many outdoor activities.
Mr. Schaaf was on the City Planning Commission for ten years, served numerous terms on the Hillcrest Board of Directors, and in his term as president was instrumental in naming the Navajo Trail Open golf tournament.
Mr. Schaaf's family said he considered every kid a member of the family and liberally devoted his time sharing stories and building lasting relationships. He was a man of character who depicted the values of the greatest generation.
Mr. Schaaf is survived by his wife, Peryl Schaaf, of Durango; son, E. Wayne Schaaf, of Dolores, Colo.; daughters G. Lavon Schaaf and Thelma (Tammy) Schreiner, both of Durango, and Sherri L. Gaugh of Aztec, N.M.; seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by two grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Sat., Feb. 23, 2013, at the First United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Animas Museum, La Plata County Historical Society, P.O. Box 3384, Durango, CO 81302, and Colorado Talking Book Library, 180 Sheridan Blvd., Denver, CO 80226.